Multilingual Zotero: Citations

Photo by Phillip Martin

Plain Bibliographies

It is quite simple to create and export formatted bibliographies for use in documents, web pages, etc.

  • Right-click on the collection, item or selection of items you want in your bibliography
  • Select “Create Bibliography From Collection/Items”
  • Choose desired citation style, output mode, and output method.
  • If you choose a “save as…” or “print” option you’ll get the relevant dialogue; if you choose “copy to clipboard”, just paste into a document.
  • If you paste into a word processor document, GoogleDoc or rich text editing box in a browser - eg the visual editor in WordPress - it should keep all the formatting intact.



Citation Styles

Both MLZ and Zotero come with a small selection of commonly-used citation styles for bibliographies and citations preinstalled. Further styles can be added to either tool, but it is important to understand the difference between “standard CSL” styles written for Zotero, and “CSL-m” styles written for MLZ.

CSL stands for “Citation Style Language”, a format for defining computerised citation styles. Standard CSL styles are recognised by Zotero and several other reference managers. The Zotero Style Repository contains over 6,000 styles, covering a wide range of publishers and academic journals. Any of the styles in the Repository can be installed and used in Zotero.

CSL-m stands for “Citation Style Language - Multilingual”. This is a modified version of the CSL format, with added support for legal and multilingual references. The CitationStylist website offers a small collection of CSL-m styles. For ease of recognition, the names of CSL-m styles begin with “MLZ” These are recognised only by MLZ: they cannot be used with official Zotero.

Official CSL styles can be installed in MLZ, but where there is a choice, CSL-m styles should be used instead.

With those points in mind, feel free to extend MLZ with additional styles and experiment with the output. The ability to switch citation styles is one of the most power features of Zotero and MLZ, and you should not hesitate to change things around.

If you run into a problem and seek support on the Zotero forums, be sure to put “[MLZ]” in the title of your post, so that it will be picked up by the right people.

Word Processor Integration

MS Word and OpenOffice

MLZ uses the same word processor plugins as official Zotero. To install a plugin, just visit the Installing Word Processor Plugins for Zotero page, and select the plugin you need for your system.

The three plugins (for LibreOffice, and for the Mac and Windows versions of Word) all work in the same way.

To access the buttons:

  • in Word 2008 for Mac the script menu is used; in Word 2010, the MLZ toolbar is in the “Add-Ins” tab on the ribbon
  • in Open/LibreOffice the buttons are in the main toolbar

credit: JF Beatty


The buttons to insert or edit footnotes/endnotes and bibliographies:



Two methods for inserting citations into a document are available in MLZ and Zotero. By default, MLZ uses the “Classic View” method, while Zotero offers the “QuickFormat” method when first installed. If you prefer, these settings can be changed.

Regardless of which method is used, the first time you click the “new citation” button in a document, you will need to choose your desired citation style:

credit: JF Beatty

Classic View method

When first installed, MLZ uses the “Classic View” method.

To add multiple cites to a single citation, click the Multiple Sources button, then use the left/right arrow buttons that appear to add citations from your libraries. You can also change the order of the selected cites in the right-hand list using up/down buttons.

QuickFormat method

. Place cursor in document where you want the citation and click on the “new citation” button (you do not need to create a footnote manually – MLZ will do that automatically).

. In the small popup window that appears:

  • start typing an author or title for suggestions from your MLZ database
  • select the correct reference
  • click in shaded text to open the page number/prefix/suffix dialogue
  • hit Enter when done

credit: JF Beatty


Editing citations

For both entry methods, you can change the items in the selected citation by placing the cursor in it and using the “edit citation” button.

You can edit the formatted text of citations in the document manually, but this is not recommended. When you change the text of a citation by hand without using MLZ, it is “frozen”. It will not update correctly if you add or remove other citations that trigger a formatting change under the rules of the citation style.

If you place the cursor in a modified citation and click the “edit citation” button, you will get a message like this:

Clicking OK will override your manual changes and reinsert the automatically generated MLZ citation text.


Adding a bibliography

You can add a bibliography to your document at any time, by placing the cursor at the location where you wish to insert the text, and clicking the “new bibliography” button.

Bibliographies inserted in this way are “live”, just like MLZ citations: the text will change as you add and remove citations in the document. This can slow things down, so it makes sense to omit the bibliography until the final stage of document preparation.

After inserting the bibliography, you may find that the text requires some adjustment. For example, the bibliography may contain a mixture of references to statutes, court decisions, and secondary materials that you wish to place under separate headings. For a bibliography without numbered entries, the following steps work well:

. Make a copy of your document, with a file name that shows it is a final, non-MLZ version. . Use the “remove Zotero codes” button to remove all MLZ codes from the document. The document will no longer connect to MLZ. . Make your final changes manually.

GoogleDocs and other software

Users of GoogleDocs, Scrivener, and any other wordprocessing software that uses the OpenDocument .ODF format now have the option of using the RTF/ODF-Scan for Zotero plugin. See the links below for further information.

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This page is licensed by Frank Bennett on behalf of Nagoya University under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Credit to original author Sharon Howard must be retained.