Answered By: Caltech Research Librarians
Last Updated: Feb 13, 2024     Views: 2644

If the references in your bibliography have International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs), Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), or PubMed or arXiv IDs, you can add the citations to Zotero using the magic wand icon:

Screenshot of magic wand icon to add items to Zotero using unique numbers like DOIs.

Click on the icon, copy and paste individual identifiers separated by spaces and hit enter on your keyboard. Zotero should begin to add the references.

If the references in your bibliography do not have identifiers, you can use a tool called AnyStyle. To use this tool:

  1. Go to AnyStyle.

  2. Copy the citations from your plain text file and paste them into the field labeled "Paste your references here…"

Screenshot of homepage.


  1. Make sure to remove line breaks within individual citations (if there are any).

Screenshot of Parse section of


  1. Click on "Parse [#] References."

  2. The parser will split each citation according to author, title, journal, issue, page numbers, etc.

Screenshot of Edit section of


  1. If any part of the information has not been parsed correctly, you can click on the part and select "Assign label."

    Screenshot of Assign label section of with arrows pointing to volume/issue and 'Assign label' button.


  1. From here you will be able to select the appropriate label.

    1. For example, if part of a journal title is listed as a volume or issue, choose "Journal" from the "Assign label" option and that part of the journal title will shift to the "Journal" field.

Screenshot of label options section of with a circle around 'Journal.'

Screenshot of citation information section of with a circle around 'PLOS Comput. BIol.''


  1. Once you are satisfied that the parser has parsed your citations correctly, scroll down to save your references by clicking on BibTeX or CiteProc/JSON.

    1. Zotero does not (currently) support XML file imports.

Screenshot of Save section of


  1. You should be prompted to save the file to your computer. 

Screenshot of Windows Save File dialog box with an export.bib file.


  1. Once you’ve saved the file, open Zotero and go to File > Import, select your file, and Zotero will create a new collection (based on the filename) and begin importing your references.

    1. When you import the file, double check that the volume and number fields are entered correctly. These fields are sometimes combined upon import.

For more information see Zotero's Importing Formatted Bibliographies.

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