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Zotero User's LibGuide: Bibliographies, Citations, and Reports

A pathfinder for students and faculty to learn about using Zotero at FSU

Create Bibliography from Zotero Library

Creating a bibliography from sources within your Zotero library is a breeze!

  1. Select the references or collections you want to include.  You can select multiple items by holding the control key (command key on Apple computers) and clicking multiple.
  2. Right-click one of the selected items and choose "Create Bibliography."  Keep in mind you can select multiple items and "Create Bibliography from Items" or you can select a collection and "Create Bibliography from Collection" 
  3. A window will prompt you to select multiple options.  
    • Citation Style:  This option allows you to choose between a variety of common citation styles, such as APA or Chicago.  If the specific style for your field or journal is not provided by default by Zotero, you can still try to manually install additional styles.  For help with installing additional citation styles, see Zotero's Style support page.
    • Output Mode:  To create the bibliography, make sure "Output Mode" is set to "Bibliography."  
    • Output Method:  Depending on what you want to do with the bibliography you can choose different output methods:  Save as RTF (creates a RTF file), Save as HTML (creates an HTML file), Copy to Clipboard (allows you to "paste" in any word processor), and Print (allows you to send the bibliography directly to a printer).

"Create Bibliography from Selected Items..." option in menu for multiple selected items


Drag and Drop Bibliography with Quick Copy

You can also just drag and drop selected references from Zotero directly into your document.  Just select the references you wish to include and drag the selection into any word processor (even Google Docs) or online text field (like a blog post text field). 

To configure your Quick Copy preferences, click the Actions menu (the gear icon) and select Preferences. Within the Preferences pop-up window, select Export. From this tab you can do the following:

  • Set the default export format
  • Set up site-specific export settings
  • Choose whether you want Zotero to include HTML markup when copying

You can also use Quick Copy keyboard shortcuts to copy citations and bibliographies to your system clipboard and then paste them into documents. See the Shortcut Keys preference pane for the default keys.

Create Bibliographies and Citations While You Write

Zotero integrates with several word processors through various plugins, and is currently compatible with Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, and Google Docs.  Please see the Installation page of this LibGuide for instructions for setting up the word processor plugins.

Installing a Zotero word processor plugin adds a Zotero toolbar to your word processor.  

Zotero toolbar

For information about the exact location of the toolbar for your operating system and word processor, and for instructions on how to use the toolbar, see Zotero's Word Processor Plugins page.

This feature allows users to insert in-text citations as they are writing and also to generate (and maintain) a bibliography populated by those in-text citations.

Zotero hosts a demonstrative video by Oregon State University Libraries that helps to show how to use this tool and how it can be useful during the writing process:


Reports are simple HTML pages that give an overview of the item metadata, notes, and attachments of the selected items. You can print them, post them to the web, and email them.

To create a report, right-click (ctrl-click on OS X) an item or a selection of items in the center column and select “Generate Report from Selected Item(s)…”. You can also right-click a collection in the left column and select “Generate Report from Collection”.

Menu for multiple selected items

Some Uses for Reports

  • Searching NotesWhile you can search through the text content of notes using Zotero's basic and advanced search functions, you may find it more convenient to use reports, which include the full text of notes.  Simply generate a report of the items you want to search. Select Edit –> “Find” in Firefox and use the search box (at the bottom of your browser window) to search through the report.
  • Organizing Notes into Outlines:  While Zotero has not been designed to be an outlining tool, you can create outlines from notes. By default, reports list child notes together with their parent items.
  • Teaching:  Reports can also be used in teaching to track and assess students during the process of collecting information and writing. Reports show when items were collected, how students associate their items with notes and tags, and how students are relating their research items, and can be a useful tool to peer into and encourage the composition process.

A more comprehensive overview of the Zotero Reports feature is available on the Zotero Reports support page.

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