Reference management software: Zotero

Installing reference styles

You can find a multitude of reference styles at or by clicking Edit > Preferences > Cite > Styles > Get more styles in Zotero.

  • Find the style you want by searching by name, format, or research discipline.
  • When you have found a style that you want, download it to your computer.
  • Then go back to Cite and click on the plus sign (+). In the dialogue that opens, you identify the downloaded file on your computer and open it in order to install the style.

It may happen that you cannot find the exact style you are looking tor. Maybe you need a variant of a well-known style or you do not know the name of the style that you want – e.g., when a journal doesn't offer a CSL style, but only a style sheet. In this case, you can try the options below.

Finding a style by appearance

You can find a style that is similar to the one you are looking for by searching by appearance on > Search by example.

  1. Choose item type by clicking Previous and Next. In the yellow square is pre-filled information exemplifying the type. For instance, the first example showing up represents an article in a scholarly journal.
  2. Type in the search box how you want the reference to look like (a) in the text (or footnote): In-text citation, b) in the reference list: Bibliographic entry. The information you can write is found in the yellow box. For instance, if you are looking for a reference style with the author's name and the title in a footnote, you write, e.g., "Mares, 'Firms and the welfare state'" in In-text citation.
  3. Click on Search. Styles will now be listed, sorted by similarity with your example. The styles van be downloaded and installed in Zotero. 

Requesting a new style

If the exact style you are looking for does not yet exist, you can request a new style. Look for "Requesting a new style" on in order to see the details on how to proceed. You will for instance be asked to provide links to the style guide of the journal and give some example citations.

Editing or creating your own style

You can edit a style or create your own. Note that this takes some technical know-how. You must edit the CSL (Citation Style Language) file using XML programming language. More information can be found here. A fairly easy way to do this is by modifying an already existing style similar to what you want.

Use Zotero's Style editor

  • Select an item in your Zotero library for reference.
  • Go to Preferences > Cite > Style editor. Here, you can choose and edit a style and save it as a new one. The item that you have chosen for example will show how the style will look like in the document. Remember to save the edited style under a new name, or else it may be overwritten the next time it updates!

Use the Visual CSL editor

Go to Here, you can either (a) go to Visual editor and choose Load style in order to choose a style that you have saved as CSL file on your computer or (b) identify the style that you want to use as starting point and click Edit style; the style is opened in the Visual CSL editor.

  • Here, you can view the different parts of the style and make changes with our having to use XML code. You are also presented with an example of how the style will look like.
  • Finish by saving the style on your computer under a new name and add it as a new style in Zotero.