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Zotero Basics (Workshop): Citing Sources

This guide includes a summary of our Zotero workshop, plus useful links to get you started.

Citing Sources Made Easy

HINT:  Pick a citation style to use for your work and make an effort to learn how to format notes and bibliography citations in that style.  Zotero makes it easier, but is no substitute for knowledge and organization on your part.  A sloppy bibliography may cast doubt upon the quality of your work.

Of course, one of the major reasons to use a citation manager is to make it easier to generate citations to your sources.  Zotero gives you the ability to generate citations to one or more sources, formatted in a variety of citation styles, for use in footnotes, end notes, or bibliographies.

While you can use the Zotero integration tool from your word processing software to start this process, it is easier to start in Zotero and then paste into your word processing file.  Follow the steps below to create a citation from Zotero for import into your file.

  • To create a citation for one item, right-click on the title and choose "Create Bibliography from Item..."
  • Choose your preferred citation style from the list in Zotero.
  • For "output mode", choose "Notes" for an endnote or footnote, or "Bibliography" for the full listing formatted for a bibliography.
  • The easiest "output mode" to use is "copy to clipboard".

Once you have the citation or citations in your paste buffer, go to your file and copy them into the appropriate place.  Use the "merge formatting" option in the word processor to match the font and font size, while retaining the citation formatting.

To generate a full bibliography, we recommend organizing your citations into folders for each section of your bibliography.  You can then go into each folder, highlight all the items in the folder, and export all the records at once to paste into your document.


  • Clean Zotero records will produce better notes and bibliographies.  It is much more efficient to clean up the Zotero record than it is to clean up every citation generated from that record.
  • Make sure that your records include the proper information in the proper style for your preferred citation style.  This is especially important for title capitalization, inclusion of both volume and issue numbers, and date formatting.
  • Always check your citations after you important them into your final document.  Don't assume that everything automatically worked correctly.  Your thesis or dissertation reviewers will notice sloppy citations.  Be sure to be consistent with the citation style, font, etc.


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