How To Insert Citations Using Zotero In Microsoft Word

In this guide, I will demonstrate how you can use the reference manager Zotero to swiftly add citations and a bibliography into a Microsoft Word document.

Zotero is a free, open-source reference manager that integrates within your web browser to store all your references and it also works with Microsoft Word very well. The simplicity of Zotero makes it my number one choice as a reference manager.

Things to do beforehand

1. You need to download and install Zotero. For the purpose of this guide, I will be using the Zotero Standalone program with the Zotero Connector Firefox Add-on.

To download the Zotero Standalone program, follow this link and click on the download button for the standalone program. Install the program using the recommended settings.

To download the Zotero Connector Firefox Add-on, follow this link and click the download button. Install the Add-on to your Firefox browser and enable it. You may need to restart your browser for the install to take effect. You can also download the extension for Google Chrome by clicking here.

2. You need to ensure that the Microsoft Word add-in is installed through the Zotero Standalone program. This will allow the Zotero programme to work within Word. To do this, open up the Zotero Standalone program and click on ‘Edit > Preferences‘. Within the preferences window, go to the ‘Cite‘ tab and then click on the ‘Word Processors‘ sub-tab. There should now be an option to install the add-in.

Zotero Word add-in

Click on this button. Once finished, click the ‘OK‘ button.

3. Ensure you have some references within your Zotero program. If you don’t know how to add references to the Zotero program I will be doing a guide on how to do this in the near future.

How to insert citations into Word

Now you are ready to go and add citations into a Word document. Here is how you can do this.

  1. Open up Microsoft Word and either create a new document or open an existing one. Also, open up the Zotero Standalone program.
  2. Click on the document where you want to insert the citation.
  3. At the top of the Word document, you should see a ribbon called ‘Add-ins‘ and/or ‘Zotero‘. Click on either of these.
    • If going through the ‘Add-ins‘ ribbon, click on the far-left button called ‘Zotero Bibliographic Management: Zotero Insert Citation‘.
    • If going through the ‘Zotero‘ ribbon, click on the far-left button called ‘Add/Edit Citation‘.

Zotero add new citation in Word

4. If this is the first citation inserted into the document, the ‘Document Preferences‘ window will now open. This is where you select the citation style. For this example, I will use the ‘American Psychological Association 6th edition‘ style.

Zotero document preferencesSelect the style you want and click the ‘OK’ button.

5. The ‘Quick Format Citation‘ bar should now open. This is a floating, red bar from the Zotero Standalone program.

Zotero quick format citationWithin this search bar, type in the author name or publication you want to cite. The bar will then return the closest matches in real time. When you see the reference you want to cite, click on it and it will be added to the bar. To add multiple citations, just repeat the process by searching and clicking on the required reference. When you are happy, hit the enter button.

Alternative view: If you prefer to use the ‘Zotero Classic View‘ to insert citations, click the small down-arrow next to the Zotero logo in the Quick Format Citation bar and select ‘Classic View‘.

Zotero quick format citation classic viewThis will open another window where you can scroll through your saved citations within Zotero and select the reference(s) you want to cite. Once you are happy with it, click the ‘OK‘ button to insert the citation.

6. If you ever want to edit or add more citations, go to the ‘Add-ins‘ or ‘Zotero‘ ribbon at the top of Microsoft Word, and click the ‘Zotero Bibliographic Management: Zotero Edit Citation’ or ‘Add/Edit Citation‘ button respectively.

How to insert a bibliography (reference list) in Word using Zotero

Inserting the bibliography (reference list) by using Zotero is as simple as clicking one button. Obviously, for this to work you need to have a document where Zotero citations are present. Then follow these simples steps.

  1. Click on the Word document where you want the bibliography to be inserted.
  2. At the top of the Word document, you should see a ribbon called ‘Add-ins‘ and/or ‘Zotero‘. Click on either of these.
    • If going through the ‘Add-ins‘ ribbon, click on the button called ‘Zotero Bibliographic Management: Zotero Insert Bibliography‘.
    • If going through the ‘Zotero‘ ribbon, click on the button called ‘Add/Edit Bibliography‘.

Zotero add bibliography in Word

The bibliography will now be inserted.

Note that sometimes the bibliography is not always updated if you delete some Zotero citations in the text. To update this, click the ‘Refresh‘ button in the Word ribbon panels to update the bibliography.

How to remove Zotero field codes in Word

Another useful thing you can do is to remove the field codes within the Word document. This will then turn all of the citations and bibliography text into standard text. Therefore, you will no longer be able to edit the citations or bibliography. This is useful to do before sending a manuscript off to a journal, for example. However, ensure you save the copy with the field codes still in place to allow for editing in the future.

To remove Zotero field codes in Word, find the appropriate link in the Word ribbon bar.

  • If going through the ‘Add-ins‘ ribbon, click on the button called ‘Zotero Bibliographic Management: Zotero Remove Codes‘.
  • If going through the ‘Zotero‘ ribbon, click on the button called ‘Unlink Citations‘.

Zotero remove field codes in Word

Zotero version used: 5.0.34
Microsoft Word version used: 2016

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here