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Zotero Citation Software

A Guide to Getting Started and Using Zotero

Zotero and Microsoft Word

One of the most useful features of Zotero is its ability to import citations directly into your Microsoft Word, LibreOffice Writer, and/or Google Drive documents. This section will show you how to use it with MS Word.

The first thing you need to do is make sure the plugin for Microsoft Office is installed.

  1. Navigate using the menu at the top left of the screen to Edit and then select Preferences.
  2. Click on the Cite menu.
  3. You will see two tabs under Cite: Styles and Word Processors. Select Word Processors.
  4. You should be able to see if the Microsoft Word add-in is installed. If not, Click the "Install Microsoft Word Add-in" button.
  5. If it is already installed or you want to make sure it did install, the button should say "Reinstall Microsoft Word Add-in".
  6. Open up Microsoft Word. You should see a tab now for Zotero across the top menus.
  7. Click on the Zotero Tab to see the options you have available. 
  8. Try adding a citation by click "Add/Edit Citation".
  9. This should produce a Zotero search box. Begin typing the author or source title from Zotero you wish to cite.
  10. If more than one result comes up as you type, select the correct one and click enter. It should fill in the citation information for whatever style you are using.
  11. When you finish your paper and all your citations are added, click "Add/Edit Bibliography" button in the Zotero menu. This will add a complete bibliography/works cited/reference list at the end of your paper for every citation you added to your paper. 

Zotero and Microsoft Word using "linked citations" meaning that if you add or change information to a source in Zotero, you can click the "Refresh" option in the MS Word Zotero menu to repopulate the citations in your document with the new information you've added to Zotero. You can also click "Unlink Citations" if you do not want them to ever change in your document even if you change the citation information in Zotero. Doing this will require you to manually edit them going forward.


Zotero only works as well as your citation data allows it to. If you use incorrect citation information or don't get all the data you need to make a correct citation, Zotero will use what it has leaving your citation incorrect. It is important that as you save sources to Zotero you make sure you collect as much information about the sources as you can right away. It will save you a lot of work in the long run.