Zotero integrates with your word processor to help create properly formatted citations and bibliographies using the items in your library. Remember that getting these right depends on having the information entered correctly! You'll still have to know your citation style so you can check the results from Zotero, as with any citation manager. An overview of how to use Zotero in your documents follows. For a more complete guide, see these documents from Zotero support:
If you've installed Zotero and the Zotero Connector, integration with your word processor should already be set up!
A Zotero plug-in for Word is installed with the Zotero program. If you need to re-install it for any reason, you can do so from the Zotero preferences window.
Zotero support for Google Docs is installed to your browser with the Zotero Connector. The first time you use any Zotero feature, you will be prompted to authorize the Zotero Connector to access your Google account.
In Word, the plugin adds a Zotero tab. In Google Docs, the Connector adds a Zotero menu and a toolbar button for add citations.
They look different, but both offer access to the main features you will use:
When starting a new document, the Document Preferences might be the first Zotero feature you will use.
The most important preference is the citation style! Zotero comes with many popular citation styles already installed. Thousands more styles are available through the Zotero Style Repository, and can be added with a few clicks.
The library can attempt to create citation styles for Zotero if a suitable style is not available. Be sure to check your results with these, they may not support all item types.
For citation styles that use abbreviated journal titles, Zotero can abbreviate them automatically in Index Medicus/MEDLINE format. If the option for automatic abbreviations is not set, Zotero will use the "Journal Abbr." information entered with each item in your library
Usually the style guide will specify where to find approved abbreviations.
Zotero has the Medline (NLM/PubMed) journal abbreviations list.
When selecting your citation style in Google Docs of Word's Document Preferences, check the Use MEDLINE abbreviations option.
If your style calls for other sources of journal abbreviations, don't select the option for automatic abbreviations from MEDLINE.
Zotero will use the "Journal Abbr." information entered with each item in your library.
Chemistry CASSI Chemical Abstracts Service Source Index
IEEE IEEE Reference Guide (pdf) Version 08.19.2020 abbreviations start on page 20
Once you find the appropriate abbreviation, go to the reference in Zotero and type it in the Journal Abbr field
Put periods after each abbreviated word: Zotero will take them out if your style doesn't use them
Choosing "Add/Edit Citation' will bring up a dialog box which you can use to choose an item from your library to cite. Sometimes this window pops up behind your document, so if it seems like nothing's happening, try minimizing your document or cycling through your open windows to find it.
Type an author name or other keywords to search for items from your library, then choose the one you wish to cite. You can add more than one item in the dialog to cite multiple items.
Click on an item in the citation dialog to customize it. You can add page numbers if required by your citation style, suppress the author name (if it appears earlier in the sentence, for example), or add prefix or suffix text such as "c.f." or "see also."
Choosing "Add/Edit Bibliography" does just what it says--it creates a bibliography at the cursor location that includes all the items cited in the document. You can choose it again to edit the bibliography, either to add sources that aren't cited, or to remove items (such as personal communications) that are cited but shouldn't appear in the reference list.
"Refresh" updates all the citations and bibliographies in your document with the current information in your Zotero library. If you find errors or omissions in your item data while you are writing, correct the data in your library, then choose Refresh to update your document. There is a setting in the Document Preferences to refresh automatically, but this may slow down Zotero's performance.
"Unlink Citations" converts all the citations and bibliographies in your document to normal text, removing the connection to your Zotero library. Normally you would do this as a final step before submitting your document to someone else--make a copy of your document, unlink the citations in the copy, and submit the unlinked copy.