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Practical instructions for installing and using Zotero citation manager.

Making sure your citations are ready to use

Do this first!

Before you start writing-and-citing, you need to do a bit of due diligence in your Zotero library to make sure you'll be generating nice, accurate citations in your Microsoft Word / LibreOffice / GoogleDocs documents.

Step 1: Double-check your citation information

All the information that Zotero uses to generate citations is found in the Info field (right-hand panel of your Zotero library). Each time you add a new item to your library, you must double-check this information to make sure it is accurate and complete. Double check these fields in particular:

  • Item Type
  • Title
  • Author
  • Date
  • Publisher (for books only)


Step 2: Set your titles to sentence case

This step is crucial to making sure you generate correct APA7 citations. 

Zotero can create citations in any citation style you choose. At RRU, that likely means you'll setting it to APA7. However, Zotero will not convert title case to sentence case automatically (it's basically an algorithm problem -- Zotero can't tell for sure whether a word is capitalized due to title case or because it's a proper noun, so it just leaves them all alone). This is important because APA7 requires sentence case for article and book titles!

To make sure Zotero generates correctly capitalized titles for your citations:

  • Each time you add a new item to your library, check whether the title (listed in the Info pane) is in Title Case (every word is capitalized) or Sentence case (only the first word is capitalized).
  • If it's in Title Case, you'll need to convert it.
  • To do so, right click on the title, then choose Sentence case from the menu.
  • Go back and re-add the capitals to any proper names.
  • If there's a colon in the title, you don't need to re-capitalize the following word; Zotero will add that capital in when it generates the citation.

Adding citations as you write

Zotero allows you to add in-text citations to your Microsoft Word / LibreOffice / GoogleDocs documents. You can also drag and drop your references into any word processor, an email message, a Google doc, or a blog post to automatically create bibliographies on the fly.

Depending on which word processor you use, you will need the Microsoft Word Zotero plug-in or the LibreOffice Zotero plug-in to link your Zotero library to your word processor. The relevant plug-in should have been installed automatically when you installed the desktop library. 

To double-check that the word processor plug-in is working:

  1. Close out of any documents you currently have open and close your word processor.
  2. Open up a new document.
  3. Check the top menu bar -- you should see a new "Zotero" menu item.

If you don't see the Zotero menu item, you'll need to reinstall the plug-in.

  1. In your Zotero library, click on the Tools menu and select "Add-ons"
  2. You should see two items: "Zotero LibreOffice Integration" and "Zotero Word for [Windows/Mac] Integration". 
  3. If the integration you need isn't enabled, click "Enable". If it says it is enabled but you can't see the Zotero menu in your word processor, click "Disable" and then re-enable it. 
  4. Close Zotero, close your word processor, and restart your computer.
  5. Now open your word processor again. Hopefully the Zotero menu is there! (Still having problems? Send us a message.)

To insert an in-text citation from your Zotero references into your document:

  1. Make sure you've followed the instructions above to prepare your citations
  2. Click on the 'Zotero' menu option in your word processor (examples shown for Word, but the process is similar in LibreOffice/Google) and then "Add/Edit Citation"

  3. Select your output style (likely APA 7th edition), then click "OK"

  4. Zotero will open a red text box. Type in a term from the citation you want to include -- for example, the author's name or a word or two from the article title. Zotero will show you a list of matching items.

  5. Select the article you want from the list of options
  6. You can edit the in-text citation (for example, adding a page number) by clicking on the highlighted citation

  7. Hit Enter to produce your in-text citation!

To generate your reference list (aka bibliography or "works cited"):,

  1. Place your cursor where you want the reference list to display (usually at the end of your document)
  2. From the Zotero menu, click the 'Add/Edit Bibliography' button.

  3. Zotero will generate a list of all the references you've included as in-text citations. This list will automatically update as you continue to work on your document and add new citations.