Q. Can I copy and paste text from a MS Word Document which has Zotero citations into a new document?

I have used Zotero to generate my citations. However, when I try to copy and paste them into a new document, they stop working. This means I cannot change styles. The new document just does not recognise the pasted-in citations, so won't add them to the reference list. Can you help please?


You can only copy and paste citations created using Zotero into a new MS Word document if you have not unlinked the citations in the original document.  See screen-shot below to see the 'Unlink Citations' option. Breaking the links means the code that is behind the text is erased.

screenshot of the Zotero menu in MSWord showing the option to Unlink Citations

You can check to see if the Zotero codes are still present in your original document by going to a citation (either in-text or footnote - the example below shows a footnote in Chicago style) and putting your cursor on it. If the citation has a grey background, the codes are intact and you copy and paste the text into a new document.  

screenshot showing a footnote in Zotero which is greyed when the cursor is on it. This demontrates that there is Zotero code behind the text.

If the citation does NOT have a grey background, then you have unlinked the citation and erased the code. Your only option is to re-enter the citations manually. 

Tip: Zotero will always warn you if you are deleting or erasing content - including codes - so read the messages that pop-up.

  • Last Updated Aug 14, 2020
  • Views 13
  • Answered By Nazlin Bhimani

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