Edit citations in Zotero

It is best practice to edit your citations within Zotero not Word. Preview it, then edit it in Zotero. That way, it will be corrected at the source, and will export correctly every time you use it in Word.

To edit:

  • Highlight the item
  • In the Info Tab, place your cursor into any field and start typing
  • Click outside the field to apply your changes

Zotero edit citation

Choose the right item type

Zotero tries to identify an appropriate Item Type when you import items into your library. But sometimes the Item Type is not correct. For example, it might import an item as a webpage, when it is really a newspaper article or a report, etc.

Examine the source, and try to determine what it is.


  • Newspaper/Magazine Articles:
    News organizations that only have an online presence (examples: Reuters, Bloomberg, CNN, BBC, etc.) are webpages
    Those that have both an online and print counterpart are Newspaper or Magazine Articles (example: New York Times).
  • Reports:
    An official report is freestanding and should have publisher and/or copyright information. If it does not meet these criteria, then format it as a webpage.
  • Book Chapters vs. Whole Books: See example below

Item Types in Chicago NB

For Chicago Notes/Bibliography style, changing the Item Type will help Zotero format correctly.

Book Chapter vs. Whole Book

Sometimes you want to cite a book chapter, not the whole book. 

  1. Change Item Type to Book Section
  2. Use the plus (+) to add editor(s) or more authors
  3. Use the down arrows to switch from author to editor or other creator
    • Authors go with the chapter 
    • Editors go with the whole book
  4. Remember to include the page range for the chapter

book chapter metadata

Capitalization: Title Case vs. Sentence case

Title Case Sentence case
Love among the Ruins: A Memoir of Life and Love in Hamburg, 1945 Love among the ruins: A memoir of life and love in Hamburg, 1945

Capitalize everything except:

  • conjunctions (and, but, or, etc.)
  • prepositions (to, of, on, among, between, etc.)
  • articles (a, an, the)

Capitalize only:

  • the first words in titles and subtitles
  • proper nouns


Note: Always format the information in your citations (titles, author names, etc.) according to the requirements of the citation style you are using, regardless of how it appears in the original source.

Change the title casing (capitalization)

To change the casing of the title:

  • Hover over the title
  • Right click
  • Transform the text to the casing you want

Zotero transform text


Edition Numbers

edition in citation



Check your individual style example page to see what is required for each source type. Here are a few common examples:

Journal articles

Usually are formatted this way. (Don't use the "first published" date.)

  • Year
  • Month/season + year

Newspaper/Magazine Articles

  • Full date


  • Full date


Items from a Library/Commercial Database

A DOI is always preferred and sometimes available for items from library commercial databases. But if it isn't available, use the name of the database instead.

To enable that feature:

  • Go to Preferences > Cite tab
  • Check the box under "Citation Options" 

Then put the name of the database in the URL field

When Zotero edits don't fix the citation, you can edit them in Word

Sometimes it's a headache trying to get Zotero to export the citations as you want them to display. You can edit the citation in Word but please be aware that:

  • It only fixes that one citation.
  • It will disconnect the citation from Zotero, and that citation will no longer be updated.

To edit citations in Word

Zotero edit citation in Word

  • Put your cursor in the citation
  • Make your edits
  • Click Refresh
  • Click Yes in the pop up warning message



To edit the bibliography in Word

  1. First save a backup copy of your Word document. Put it somewhere safe.
  2. In your copy of Word, click Unlink Citations
    This disconnects your document from Zotero and converts all citations and the bibliography to regular text.le.
    Zotero unlink citations
  3. Make your changes to the bibliography.

You can follow the same process for your papers or your proposal, but it is completely optional.