Answered By: Caltech Research Librarians
Last Updated: Sep 15, 2017     Views: 21

Zotero offers plugins for word processing programs including Word and LibreOffice. The plugin adds a Zotero toolbar to your word processor that allows you to add citations to your document while you write. This is what the toolbar looks like in Word:

lace your cursor at the point in your document where you would like to insert a citation. Then click the button "Add/Edit Citation" on the toolbar:

When you insert your first citation, the Document Preferences window will open. You will be prompted to make two choices: (1) choose a citation style; and (2) how to store your citations in the document. Zotero offers you two ways to store citations: 'fields' or 'bookmarks.'
'Fields' is the recommended choice because it's more compatible with Microsoft Office. Otherwise choose 'bookmarks' if you're working with documents in both LibreOffice and Word.

After you have set your document preferences (above), search for the citation by typing key words or phrases in the search bar:


Select the citation:

And press Enter; Zotero will add the citation at your cursor:


If you want to insert a bibliography, place your cursor at the point in your document where you would like to insert it. Then click the button "Add/Edit Bibliography":

Your bibliography will appear:


Please note: if you have selected a citation style that does not satisfy your particular needs, do not try to change the text in your Word document. If you need to create a new citation style, make a copy of the citation style that is closest
to what you want. In Zotero Standalone go to Edit > Preferences > Cite > Style Editor > Save As. Then edit the copy of the style using a text editor (Notepad, TextEditor, etc.).
Visit for detailed instructions.

As you add new in-text citations, your bibliography will grow:

Change citation styles with the "Document Preferences" button:

Here I've changed my citation style from Cell (above) to Science (below):

The toolbar looks different with different operating systems and versions of Word. Mousing over the toolbar will pop up each button's function if they're not clearly labeled.

When installing Zotero Standalone, the toolbar for Word should be automatically installed. If you do not see it, go to for more information. And if you need additional citation styles, visit


Part or all of this answer is adapted from Zotero wiki content distributed under various Creative Commons licenses found at Additional content may have been adapted from the Zotero LibGuide by Jason Puckett and licensed by Georgia State University Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License.