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How to Insert Citations into a Word Document using Zotero

insert citations using Zotero
How to Insert Citations into a Word Document Using Zotero

In this blog post, we will show you how to insert citations into a word document using Zotero reference  management software. Besides, we will also demonstrate on how to insert and edit in-text citations into a word document. 

Arranging citations in a word document is monotonous work for a researcher. Manually entering each citation in proper way is a difficult task. In order to solve the matter, Zotero-your personal research assistant plays a pivotal role. 

Zotero is free and easy-to-use robust reference management tool that lets you collect, arrange, cite and share research.

This software can create references for any standard text editor at once. It also works with MS-Word, LibreOffice, and Google Docs. At the time of this writing, this tool supports over 9,000 citation styles.

How to Insert Citations into a Document in Microsoft Word using Zotero

Let’s get started.

To get started with the Zotero- your personal research assistant, you follow the below steps:

Step #1:   Download and Install Zotero Standalone Application

Here is how you get started.

First, navigate to the Zotero website to download the Zotero standalone application on your local machine. This standalone application includes the word plug-in. 

Once you open the website, you will be taken to the following page and see on the homepage a download button:


Zotero Homepage


Now, you click on the download button, the following page will appear:

Zotero Download Page


To insert citations from Zotero into a Microsoft Word document, you download Zotero 5.0 for Windows as we have selected  Windows operating system. It is also available for Mac and Linux operating systems. Once you download the software, it will store on the hard-disk of your local computer.

First, we install Zotero standalone application and then we will show you how to include the Zotero Connector plugin later. 

After completing the Zotero installation, you should see the Zotero toolbar in Microsoft Word  document.

Here is the snapshot of the Zotero tab in the MS Word:


MS Word with Zotero


Now, you open a word document and click on the Zotero tab, the following Zotero interface will appear:


Zotero interface in word


Step #2:  Download and Install Zotero Connector Extension

In order to include the papers online into Zotero library, we will install the Zotero Connector plugin in google chrome. It lets you save the contents to Zotero My Library from your browser. You can also use Firefox, Safari to do the same work properly.

At the outset, you open the site for installing the Zotero Connector plugin for the chrome browser. 

Here is a snapshot of the Zotero Connector installation window:

Zotero Connector for Chrome Browser


In order to integrate the Zotero connector, we open the following plugin:


Zotero Connector Plugin


To install Zotero Connector, you click on the “Add to Chrome” button. Once you click the button, you will see the below interface:


Add Zotero Connector Plugin


Zotero Connector can sense scholarly materials automatically while you browse the web. It lets you save the resources to Zotero My Library with a single click.

For example, we open the Google Scholar for searching the scholarly articles on “Open Educational Resources”. In our previous blog post, Google Scholar is discussed elaborately.

After obtaining the results page, you open the Zotero Connector Extension from the upper right corner of your browser.  You should see the page:


Google Scholar’s Result with Zotero Extension


We just select the research papers from the sub-window to save it to the My Library in Zotero standalone application as you see in the above snapshot. 


Papers Save to MyLibrary


Once the process of importing is completed, you will see the following Zotero application interface:


My Library in Zotero


Step #3: Open Zotero Standalone Application and Zotero Connector Plugin Both


All you need to do is open a new Microsoft word document and Zotero desktop application both for inserting the citations into a word document automatically.

First, we open the following Microsoft word document and want to insert citation in the document.

There are two methods to insert your citations in a word document:

1) Enter a keyword, title or author name in the search box.

2) Using Classic View from the Zotero Bar

Method #1

Inserting Citations into a Word Document Using Zotero

You just place the cursor in the word document where you want to insert the citation.

Once you place the cursor in the document then click on “Add/Edit Citation button to add the citation.

You will be asked to select the referencing style. In our case, we select the “American Psychological Association (APA) 7th Edition”.


American Psychological Association (APA) 7th Edition


After selecting the referencing style, you click on “OK” button, you will see the following Zotero search bar in the word document.


Word Document with Zotero Bar


This search bar lets you search your Zotero library by author, title, keyword etc. You just search and select the citation you want to insert in your research article.

Here, we will search scholarly articles for “Open Educational Resources”.  As soon as you type in real time, the results will display below from your library.

Here is the snapshot of the library:


Results from My Library


Once you have made your selection, click on the citation in the search box. 

 To insert this citation in the text you simply click the enter key. Now you will see the citation has been included.

In order to include multiple papers you simply press the space and you can search for another paper and so on.


Method #2

How to Insert Citations into a Word Document using Zotero Bar (Classic View)


In order to change the view to the Classic view, you just  click on the Zotero logo with the little arrow. You will see the following graphical user interface:


Inserting Citation Using Zotero Classic View


From the above window, you select the research paper(s) to add into the word document. If you want to insert multiple citations through the Classic view, you just click on the multiple sources button.


Multiple Sources Citation


 Once you click on the “Multiple Sources” button, you should see the image below:


Select Multiple Sources


Now you select the paper from left side and click on right arrow to add the right side and click on “OK” to add multiple papers.


How to Edit Citations in a Word Document Using Zotero

If you want to edit citation(s), you can do it through Zotero bar. If we want to remove just one of these papers, again you click back on the  “Add/Edit citation button, you can just delete as per your requirement.

In addition to above, you can also add page number and other relevant information using the Zotero search bar. The search box lets you insert page numbers and other relevant information to the citation.

Suppose you want to edit the citation (e.g in-text citation) within your word document. All you need to do is open the “Add/Edit Citation button. You will see the Zotero bar box with paper citation. To open the edit box you click on the citation (In our case Butcher,2015).


Editing In-text Citation


In this article, we discussed elaborately about how to insert citations into a Microsoft Word document using Zotero standalone application and Zotero connector Extension.

We hope this post was helpful and gave you some ideas on how to insert citations into a Microsoft Word document using Zotero.

Updated (25-09-2021):

Zotero has integrated support for GitHUb’s new citation feature. When saving GitHub repos to your library, Zotero can now use the enhanced metadata provided by developers.

If there is no citation file, it will continue to use the existing repo metadata.

Updated (18-10-2021)

Now, you can integrate Zotero with ResearchRabbit- A powerful Discovery App.

Besides, you can also import libraries, export collections and synchronization.

Updated (30.10.2021)

Cita: A Wikidata addon for Zotero Reference Management Tool

The module lets you add citation metadata support to Zotero.  Using additional Citations tab you can add, edit or delete separate citations.

Besides, you can run item-wise and citation specific actions, such as syncing citations with WikiData.

For details click here.


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