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Create Bibliographies: Drag & Drop

You can also use Zotero to generate citations without downloading a plugin for your word processor. Select an item from the center column of Zotero Standalone and drag it into the open document of your word processor, email, blog post, etc. Zotero will automatically create a formatted citation for you. 

To add several citations at once, highlight the items you'd like to cite (use control-click to select items in your library that are not listed next to each other), then right-click and select "Create Bibliography from Items..."

Install the Zotero Word Processor Plugin

Zotero's citation plugin allows you to insert references from your Zotero library into papers that you write and generate a bibliography. Depending on whether you are using Zotero Standalone or Zotero for Firefox, the way you install word processor plugins will differ.

Use the Zotero Word Processor Plugin

Insert Citations

  • Place the cursor where you want to insert the citation.
  • Click Add/Edit Citation.
  • A box pops up with an option to search for a reference. After searching for the first reference you can search for more if you need to cite multiple documents in the same place. Click OK to insert the citation(s) in your document.

Document Preferences

  • Use this window to set document-specific preferences for citation style.
  • For note-based styles, you can specify whether citations should be inserted as footnotes or as endnotes.

Insert Bibliography

  • Place the cursor where you want the bibliography to appear.
  • Click Add/Edit Bibliography.
  • Additional references will be added to the bibliography as you insert them.


  • Click Refresh when you move blocks of texts that contain inserted citations to update the reference numbers.
  • If you notice that a reference needs to be corrected, make the edit in your Zotero library and then click Refresh to update the reference in the document.

Unlink Citations

  • Most publishers want you to remove the underlying codes used by Zotero before you submit your document.
  • Removing field codes prevents your citations and bibliographies from automatically updating.
  • NOTE: Removing field codes using Unlink Citations is irreversible; you should only do this in a final version of your document.
  • Be sure to rename the new version of document in a way that it is clear that the citations and bibliography can no longer be edited in Zotero.

Advanced: Edit and Add Citation Styles

Zotero's Citation Style Repository has over 8,100 citation styles in it, all of which were written with the open source Citation Style Language (CSL). You are welcome to use it to edit citation styles or to add a new citation style to the repository.

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