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Citations in Zotero

Citations in Zotero

When you save items from your internet browser to your Zotero library, Zotero collects information that will allow you to insert your bibliography quickly.

There are a few ways to insert your bibliography: insert using the Word plugin (recommended), drag-and-drop, or copy-and-paste.

Installing McGill Guide in Zotero

Installing the McGill Guide

Zotero comes with many citation styles already pre-installed. However, if you are citing to the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (the 'McGill Guide') you will need to install it in Zotero. To install the McGill Guide:

  • Visit the Zotero Style Repository;
  • Search for the 'McGill Guide"
  • Click 'Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation 9th edition (McGill Guide)'.

Inserting Citations

Insert Citation/Bibliography Using Word Plugin (Recommended)

It is strongly recommended that you insert citations and bibliography/works cited lists into your word document by using the Zotero Plugin in your word processor.

This is a better choice because it updates as you work, and you can edit the style all at once instead of manually. This is the best option if you are planning to resubmit your work to various publications that require different styles, and is also the best style for if you are inserting citations as you go. It requires a bit of effort, but it keeps your work better organized and makes it easier to update your work.

Insert Citation

1. When you have started writing your paper and you're ready to add a citation, click on the Zotero tab in your word processor (this example shows how to add citations and bibliographies using Microsoft Word) and then click "Add/Edit Citation".

Make sure you've placed your cursor where in the sentence you want to insert the citation.


2. Once you've selected "Add/Edit Citation" then a window will pop-up asking you which citation style you are using. Select the style you need, then hit "OK".


Now that you've chosen a style, a small red field will pop up in your Word document; type in the first few letters of an author you want to use, and you will see the entry in Zotero appear. Click the entry (highlighted in Blue).


Once you've clicked the title, the name of the author followed by the date will appear in the red Zotero field. Hit "Enter" on your keyboard. You should now see a footnote containing your citation. Note that you will need to manually enter your pinpoint citations.


Insert Bibliography

Once you have inserted one citation, you can create a bibliography or work cited list. To create a list based on the citations you have inserted, click "Add/Edit Bibliography" in the Zotero tab of your word processor. When you click this, you will see a list automatically populate at the bottom of your document.

As you add citations, your bibliography will update automatically.

To remove a citation, simply delete the in-text reference, and then click "Refresh" in the toolbar of the Zotero word tab.

Copy-and-Paste Bibliography

Copying and pasting your bibliography is almost as fast as the drag-and-drop method, and will allow you to select your preferred method as you copy. 

Select one or more items from your library that you want to include in your bibliography (CTRL-A to select all; Shift-and-click to select only a few). Right click on the items (CTRL-Click on Mac) and select "Create Bibliography from Items".


When you have selected "Create Bibliography from Items" you will be able to choose which citation style you want to format your bibliography or Work Cited list as. Ensure you have chosen "Bibliography" under "Output Mode". For "Output Method" select "Copy to Clipboard". This will allow you to paste the items as a list in your Word document. Hit "OK".

Once you have hit "OK" go to your Word document and place the cursor where you want your bibliography to be. CTRL-V to paste, or paste from Clipboard. You should now see your completed bibliography.

Remember, Zotero will input whatever information is attached to the item in your Zotero Library, so it's a good idea to ensure your item is correct before you copy-and-paste the bibliography into your Word document.


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This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.