Creating Citations in Zotero – OHIO University Libraries


To create a citation for an individual item,  a group of items, or an entire collection, right-click on the item(s), and then choose “Create Bibliography From Item(s) (or Collection)”.

You should see a box like the one shown on the right. 

  • Choose your Citation Style and whether you want to create a citation or bibliography.
    • A citation is the brief in-text reference, e.g., (Holbert et al.). The bibliography mode creates a full citation in the style specified above.
  • Choose an Output Method. “Copy to Clipboard” is very convenient for pasting into the document you’re working on.

Quick Copy (Drag and Drop) 

This is another way to create citations. Set it up in Preferences (the little gear icon in the toolbar):

  • Choose Export, then Quick Copy.
  • Pick a Default Output Format and indicate in the checkbox whether you want to “Copy as HTML.”

Once this is set up, you can simply drag and drop a parent-level item from Zotero to Microsoft Word (or Open Office/Libre Office) and it will insert the citation wherever you drop it.

See Zotero documentation for more information.

Word Processor Plugins

There is a Microsoft Word Plug in for Zotero that lets you input citations as you write and then create a bibliography at the end of the paper. This is a valuable tool if you think it at all possible you’d have to change citation types, since the Word file is coded for the citations rather than just having the text of your citations. See the documentation page for installation and usage instructions.


A variety of user-configurable keyboard shortcuts (see image) make using Zotero a lot more efficient. More information in Zotero’s documentation.

Additional Citation Styles

Zotero comes with a set of citation styles already installed, but you can add more from the thousands (most of them are for individual journals) available on the Zotero Style Repository. Some journals (including Communication Education and Communication Teacher have their own styles. There is also an APA annotated bibliography style that will output the abstract from Zotero as an annotation.