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Zotero: Formatting in text citations in Word

Developed by the Center for History and New Media at the George Mason University, Virginia, Zotero is an open source easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.


When the add-in is installed, Zotero tools will be available from within your word processor. The appearance of these tools differs based on software versions and platform. The screenshots below show Zotero being used with Microsoft Word.
In Word, you should see an "add" icon within Word. The Zotero tools are displayed as icons in this tab. You will need to have Zotero open to use these tools, even though you will be working primarily in Word.

Probably the most important tool is "insert citation." This allows you to add in-text citations as you write. When you click this button, you will be presented with a search window where you can search for and select the paper you want to cite. Zotero will then add an in-text citation to the paper. (The first time you use this tool in a given document, you will first be asked to choose a style, and then you will see the search box.)

It is best to add all of your in-text citations with Zotero. Zotero then knows what you have cited, so when you finish your paper you can just click the "Insert Bibliography"button and Zotero will create a reference list consisting only of those items you have cited in-text.


Setting up your Cite preferences

"Classic View" is not the default option when you download Zotero, but it is a useful option to set up as your preferences. The Classic view gives a snapshot of your Zotero screen.

  • Click on the Edit tab
  • Select Preferences on your drop down menu
  • Select the "Cite" option
  • Click on the "Word processors" tab within the Cite option
  • Click on "Classic View"

Change your Citation Style

You may need to use different bibliographic styles for different classes. Zotero lets you switch between styles easily. Your citation information is saved in a neutral format and can be converted on-the-fly to whatever style you need. From a single Zotero library, you can generate bibliographies in any of Zotero's thousands of styles.

In the "preferences" pane of Zotero, you can choose a default style, which you can change at any time. In Zotero you can check in the Zotero Style Repository to see if the style you need is available to download and use.

The "Get additional styles" link will open the Zotero Style Repository with all the reference styles supported by Zotero.

If you run your mouse over a journal / style title a preview of the "in text" format and bibliography will be displayed.

If you click on the style you will be prompted to "install".

The newly installed reference style is now part of your collection of Style preferences and ready to use.