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Citation & Research Manager Guide: Types of Citation & Research Managers

This guide provides a basic overview of the leading citation manager products available through the University Michigan/MLaw or at no-cost. Each product's website contains additional information and tutorials.

University of Michigan Citation Managers

Check out the University Library's guide specific to Citation Managers supported by the University.

UMich Supported Apps

Zotero is a standalone client and web-based application. Users can create a free account to store citations and sources from across the Web. The Zotero app includes a browser plugin which allows users to save sources from any website, right from your browser. Sources are saved into your Zotero account and the citation information is extracted and filled in for each new entry. Entry forms include spaces for notes as well. Many different types of files can also be attached to an entry i.e. stored within Zotero, such as PDFs and Word docs, media files, or images.  Please note Westlaw and Lexis files cannot be captured automatically and must be done manually.

Zotero permits users to create folders (which can be shared with others) and to create groups (public or private) in which to collaborate.

Later versions of Zotero include a word processor plugin enabling users to import citations into a Word document

For legal researchers, Zotero is especially recommended. Compared with similar managers, Zotero offers the best in terms of legal citation format. Though not perfect, Zotero's Bluebook citations tend to contain fewer errors than other managers.

More Information

Zotero Documentation Bank - Zotero provides an extensive, searchable bank of instructions and how-to-guides for each feature of the application and for most uses.

Zotero Support Forums - For more specialized problems, there is also a searchable support forum in which Zotero reps and other users help to troubleshoot problems and answer questions.

How to Begin

  1. Navigate to the Zotero homepage or click here
  2. Select the "Register" option from the upper right hand side of the screen, next to the login button
  3. Fill out the registration fields to set up your account
  4. An activation e-mail will be sent, click the link within
  • You may now begin adding resources, however if you prefer to use the desktop application, follow the instructions below

Downloading the Zotero Client

  1. Select the "Download" button from the menu at the top right of the Zotero homepage or click here
  2. Select the "Zotero 5.0 for Windows" download button (if you have a Mac or Linux product select that option below the download button)
  3. Open the downloaded file and follow the install instructions
  4. From within the Zotero Client you can sync your online account

Downloading the Web Add-on

  1. Select the "Download" button from the menu at the top right of the Zotero homepage or click here
  2. In the "Zotero Connector" box, select the "Install" button next to your respective browser
  3. To begin using Zotero in your browser, select the Add-Ons button in your browser's tool menu. The location of the Zotero button will be different depending on your browser.


EndNote's web based app, now called EndNote Basic, is a free online citation manager. A full version, desktop version is also available however this product is by paid subscription only. Users can also collaborate by creating groups with other EndNote users (each must have an EndNote account) and sharing notes and documents.

Cite-While-You-Write is a Word plugin which permits users to generate citations from sources saved within their EndNote accounts.

More Information

EndNote Basic FAQs - List of support questions/FAQs for the web-based EndNote application.

EndNote Customer Support - Searchable database of Endnote support questions. Please note, not all relate to the free, web version.

EndNote Basic (University of Arkansas) - Library guide containing support documentation.

How to Begin

  1. Navigate to the EndNote Basic homepage or click here
  2. Select the "Sign Up" option under the login box
  3. Fill out the required fields and submit, you should then be able to start using EndNote

Downloading the Cite While You Write Plug-in

  1. From within your account on EndNote Basic, under Options select Download Installers.
  2. Click to install the Cite While You Write Add-on for Word


Mendeley is a desktop citation manager application for Windows 7+ or Mac OS.. Mendeley allows user to upload documents and add annotation or notes, Mendeley is able to pull bibliographic information from saved sources uploaded to your account. Mendeley also offers a Web browser plugin, Mendeley Web Importer, which allows users to pull sources from across the internet and from different databases.

Collaboration features allow users share projects and sources with others. Mendeley also allows users to annotate and review saved sources in groups.Mendeley also offers a social networking tool which connects researchers in related fields and allows discussions and research sharing between groups.

Mendeley's Citation Plugin is integrated with Word and LibreOffice to enable users to insert citations right into a word processing document.

How to Begin

  1. Create an account on the Mendeley homepage by selecting, "Create account" at the top right of the screen
  2. Enter your e-mail, name and create a password to register for an account
  3. Next, download the browser plugin by navigating to the Mendeley Web Importer page on the Mendeley website and select your browser of choice (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and others are all supported browsers)
  4. You may also want to download the Mendeley Desktop application for use on your own computer, which can be downloaded here (available for Windows 7+, Mac OS, and Linux)
  5. To create citations in Word or LibreOffice you do not need to download additional plugins: Mendeley Citation Plugin for word processors is automatically installed with the Mendeley Desktop application


Other Managers

PowerNotes is a web-based research management application. By installing the Chrome extension, users can take notes (including highlighting, tagging and organizing sources) on any website. PowerNotes then organizes the researach into a searchable topics made up of references and notes within your account. References and notes can be moved around to create an outline. Collections of resources and notes can organized into projects, with the ability to create multiple projects in your account. PowerNotes also allows users to track the progress of their research by enabling users to visualize the extent of their research through a progress bar.

More Information

Support and tutorials for PowerNotes are not available, however, there may be support pages available from within your account once one is created. Some information can be found in a general overview video produced by PowerNotes here.

How to Begin

  1. On the PowerNotes homepage, select login
  2. To create a new account, select "Sign Up" under the login button
  3. Enter your e-mail and login credentials or sign up using your Facebook or Google+ account
  4. Once you've set up your account, you should go back to the homepage and add the Chrome Extension from the Chrome Web Store

An open-source research management app, Evernote allows you organize research, link to sources, and take notes. With Evernote, users can upload files, sync files across different devices, capture webpages, PDF and Word doc files and images, and can collaborate on projects by sharing notes with other users.

More Information

Evernote Help & Learning - Support page, organized by topic with help articles under each.

Evernote Forum - User generated questions, answered by reps and the community of Evernote users.

How to Begin

  1. Navigate to the Evernote homepage and fill out the Sign Up form to the right, you may sign up using your e-mail address or your Google account (this will sign you up for the free, Evernote Basic version)
  2. From the Evernote homepage, you can also find the Web Clipper browser plugin which enables users to capture images and documents from any website (Firefox plugin only)
  3. You can also find a desktop version of Evernote by selecting "Download App" from the top menu on the homepage (available for Windows, Mac OS, iOS, or Android devices)


Juris M is a version of the Zotero interface which was designed separately and specifically for researchers of law or foreign language resources. Juris M provides legal citation capabilities, however, it should be noted that rather than The Bluebook, Juris M uses an open access alternative (which uses the same uniform system of citation) called, The Indigo Book.

*Note: Because Juris M uses the same interface as Zotero, most of the Zotero documentation and support pages should also help users

More Information

How to Begin

  1. From the Juris M homepage, select the "Desktop Resource Manager" link under the "Research Tools" box.
  2. Select the Juris M Standalone application for either Windows, Mac or Linux
  3. On the same page, you can also select a Browser Connectors (Chrome or Firefox) to capture resources from different websites and databases on the Web
  4. It is also recommended that users download the Abbreviation Filter, which will ensure proper citation formatting (especially for abbreviation conventions and jurisdictions, it also allows users to edit and format citation formatting)
  5. Use the Styles page to download CSL-M styles, including JM Indigo and JM Indigo Law Review, which you will need in order to generate legal style citations

RefWorks is a web-based citation and research manager. Users can create an account on the RefWorks homepage.

Once in your account, users can drag and drop PDFs or .docx files into the portal or even upload entire folders from your computer. Users can also manually add a reference. Sources from around the Web can also be added. Many sites include the option to export a document to RefWorks. 

Once a source is uploaded, users can annotate or take notes on any file. Documents and folders can also be shared with others.

RefWorks also provides an integrated Microsoft Work add on, "Cite in Microsoft Word" which allows users to generate bibliographies in a Word document using saved sources from your RefWorks account. There is also a Google Doc add-on that performs the same functions.

Note: The University's subscription ended on December 31, 2018 and will not be renewed. Any accounts created after this date must be created using a personal subscription.

More Information

RefWorks Support Center - A limited list of help topics and how-tos are provided by RefWorks through the Support Center.

RefWorks Video Tutorials - RefWorks' official YouTube channel which provides video tutorials and guides.

How to Begin

Creating an Account

  1. Navigate to the new RefWorks homepage or click here
  2. Under the login box, select Create an Account
  3. Enter your UMich e-mail and choose a password
  4. Once you create an account, you should receive a verification e-mail
  5. Click the link in your verification e-mail to verify your account
    • You should now be set up and may begin uploading sources to RefWorks

Downloading the Web App

  1. From your account, navigate to the Tools page (click on the triple dots on the top menu bar) or click here
  2. Select "Install Save to RefWorks"
  3. The next screen will display the "Save to RefWorks" button, drag this button to the favorites bar in your Web browser

Downloading the Word & Google Doc Plugins

  1. From the Tools page, select the download button for the "Cite in Microsoft Word" tool.
  2. Open the download file from your downloads folder and follow the install instructions
  3. When you open word, you should now see a tab at the top of your Word document that says, "RefWorks"
  4. For Google Docs follow the same instructions but select the "Cite in Google Docs" download button on the Tools page
  5. When you open a Google Doc, select the Add-ons tab in the top menu bar and you will see "ProQuest RefWorks" as an option