There are three ways to create citations and bibliographies in Zotero
If you just want to quickly add references to a paper, email, or blog post, Zotero's Quick Copy is the easiest way to go. Simply select items in the center column and drag them into any text field. Zotero will automatically create a formatted bibliography for you. To copy citations instead of references, hold down Shift at the start of the drag.
To configure your Quick Copy preferences, open the Zotero preferences menu and select Export. From this tab you can do the following:
You can also use Quick Copy keyboard shortcuts to copy citations and bibliographies to your system clipboard and then paste them into documents. Default shortcuts are Ctrl/Cmd-Shift-C (bibliography) and Ctrl/Cmd-Shift-A (citations).
To create a bibliography or a citations list in Zotero, highlight one or more references and then right-click (or control-click on Macs) to select “Create Bibliography from Selected Item(s)…”. Then select a citation style for your citation/bibliography format and choose either to create a list of Citations/Notes or a Bibliography. Copy to clipboard, and then paste into Word or Google Docs.
Of the different ways to automatically generate citations and bibliographies, word processor plugins are the most robust. These plugins, available for Microsoft Word, LibreOffice, and Google Docs, create dynamic bibliographies: insert a new in-text citation in your manuscript, and the bibliography will be automatically updated to include the cited item. Correct the title of an item in your Zotero library and with a click of a button the change will be incorporated in your documents.
To get started with these plugins, check out the following links:
Use this tab to add citations or bibliographic entries.
You can begin citing with Zotero by clicking the “Add/Edit Citation” () button. Pressing the button brings up the citation dialog.
The citation dialog is used to select items from your Zotero library, and create a citation.
Start typing part of a title, the last names of one or more authors, and/or a year in the dialog box. Matching items will instantly appear below the dialog box.
Matching items will be shown for each library in your Zotero database (My Library and any groups you are part of). Items you have already cited in the document will be shown at the top of the list under “Cited”.
Select an item by clicking on it or by pressing Enter/Return when it is highlighted. The item will appear in the dialog box in a shaded bubble. Press Enter/Return again to insert the citation and close the Add Citation box.
In the Add Citation dialog box, you can click on the bubble for a cited item, then click “Open in My Library (or the Group Library's name)” to view the item in Zotero. Items that are orphaned (not connected to any items in your Zotero database) will not have an “Open in My Library” button. Orphaned items can exist if they were inserted by a collaborator from their My Library or a group you don't have access to or if you they were deleted from your Zotero library.
Clicking the “Add/Edit Bibliography” () button inserts a bibliography at the cursor location.
The “Document Preferences” window lets you set the following document-specific preferences: