Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Citations: Zotero

A quick guide to three citation styles

What is Zotero?

Zotero is free software that will help you collect, manage, organize, and cite sources. You can download it for free here.

There are two pieces you need for Zotero to work. The first is the software and the second is a connector that allows the software to speak with your internet browser. The link above will help you make sure both are working.

The rest of this guide will show you how to use Zotero to create citations once it is installed on your computer.

Saving an Article to Zotero

Once you've installed Zotero a small page icon will appear on the top right of your web browser. Anytime you have an source open on your web browser you can click that icon to save the source to Zotero. 

(Pictured above is where to click in your web browser to save an article to Zotero.)

Once you've saved an article it will look like this in Zotero:

(Pictured above is Zotero with an article saved in it).

That's all there is to saving an article to Zotero! It's pretty straightforward, but if you have any issues don't hesitate to reach out to a librarian.

Creating a Works Cited Page with Zotero

To create a works cited page using Zotero select the articles you want, right click and select "create bibliography from items..." From there you will select what citation format you want (MLA, APA, and Chicago are all available, among others) and save it to your computer. After that you should be open it as a .word document.

(Pictured above is where to click in order to generate a bibliography from your sources in Zotero.)


In-Text Citations in Google Docs

It is possible to create and edit in-text citations with Zotero in both Google Docs and Microsoft Word. The processes are basically the same for both systems, so this guide is only going to show Google Docs. If you use Microsoft Word and the information here isn't helpful, please get in touch!

In Google Docs after you have installed Zotero on your computer there will be a Zotero option at the top of every Google Doc:

(Pictured above squared in red are the two places in Google Docs you can initiate an in-text citation using Zotero)

Click either of the icons squared in red above to produce a drop down menu. From that drop down menu select "add/edit citation..."

(Pictured above is where to click to add an in-text citation to your document)

Then you will be asked to select the citation format you would like (Chicago, MLA, and APA are all available options). Once you've selected your citation format a thin bar will appear on your screen and if you begin typing the name of the source you want to cite it should appear in the bar. From there select it, hit "enter" on your keyboard and an in-text citation should appear in the body of your paper.

(Pictured above is the bar that shows your sources as you begin typing the title.)

(Pictured above is the bar once you have selected the source you want to cite.)

(Pictured above is a properly formatted APA in-text citation created in Google Docs through Zotero.)

Works Cited/Bibliography/ Reference List in Google Docs

With in-text citations made in Google Docs with Zotero you can quickly and easily generate a works cited/bibliography/references page. Start by clicking the Zotero tab at the top of the screen. This time select "add/edit bibliography"

(Pictured above squared in red is where to click to create a bibliography.)

The bibliography will adhere to the citation format you chose for the in-text citations.

(Pictured above are two properly formatted APA reference list citations created using Zotero in Google Docs.)

That's all there is to generating a bibliography from your in-text citations in Google Docs! If you have any questions or encounter any issues don't hesitate to contact a librarian!

Student Success Librarian