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BIOL 392: Introduction to Biological Research: Zotero 201: More Advanced Tips

Using the MS Word Plug-Ins

Now that you have imported several articles into your Zotero library, you also have the option to easily cite them from within a word document. Open a word document and type a few sentences, then use the "insert citation" button from the Zotero Add-In toolbar (1) to insert a citation for an item from your Zotero library (2). Then, make some space on your page and insert the bibliography (3). 


Zotero Integration with Google Docs

Zotero now supports Google Docs integration!

Once you have added the Zotero plug-in or extension to your browser, you will notice that there will be a 'Zotero' menu added to your Google Docs options the next time you log in. If you had Google Docs open when you added the extension, you will need to refresh the page fot he Zotero add in to appear. 

The first time you use Zotero in a document, you will need to authenticate it by re-logging in to your google account. 

Some helpful tips from the librarians at Cal Berkeley

There are only a few differences in how Google Docs works with Zotero from how it works with Word and LibreOffice: 

  • Citation inserts and edits slow down significantly as the number of citations increases. With 100+ citations, a single citation update can take up to 10 seconds, so for longer documents you'll want to disable automatic citation updates in the Zotero document preferences.
  • It's not possible to copy active Zotero citations between documents and keep them functional. Copying citations within a document should work without problems.
  • Google Docs provides limited facilities for text formatting. Styles that use small caps fonts will not use a true small caps formatting style in Google Docs and will instead fall back to the “Alegreya Sans SC” font. Citations that have been inserted with automatic citation updates disabled will be inserted with a gray background instead of dashed underlining like in Word and LibreOffice.
  • If someone views the document without having the Zotero Connector installed, or if you download the document instead of first making a copy and unlinking citations, active citations in the document will show up as links leading to URLs such as

Tip 1 - Messing with Metadata

Note that for the PDFs that have been imported, you can open them in an external viewer, as well as rename them from their parent metadata, by right-clicking. 

You can also drag PDFs directly into Zotero, and then try to locate metadata for them. First, you need to make sure that you have the PDF Indexing feature installed. Go to preferences, then the 'search' tab, then install the PDF Indexing tool.

With this feature, you can drag a file into Zotero and right-click to search for the metadata. This won't work with every PDF, but it's handy when it does work! It also allows you to save to Zotero directly from the PDF viewer of your browser. 

Try it with this PDF: 

Tip 2 - Adding New Styles

You may find that you wish to use a different style than one of the default options Zotero starts with, like APA, etc. You can add more styles by clicking on the 'settings' icon, going into the 'preferences' menu, and then selecting the 'cite' icon from the preferences window. You'll then need to click on the 'styles' tab and click on the 'get additional styles' link. 



Once you've gotten to the Style Repository, you can search for and then click to install one of the thousands of customized citation styles available.