Compare Citation Management Software

Citation management software are programs that students and researchers use to record and organize their citations. They can be especially helpful for collecting references for different projects or areas of interest and building auto-generated bibliographies in different citation styles.

Citation management software can also be used to retrieve full-text PDFs just from the citation. Researchers who are conducting literature reviews or knowledge syntheses, such as scoping and systematic reviews, can take advantage of features to organize references and de-duplicate references across databases.

Choosing the best software for you depends on a number of factors. We'll compare two of the most common citation management software below.

 For most students and researchers, we highly recommend Zotero.
What is the cost?Completely free – Zotero is open source.Expensive (~$200 for a student license)
Does it have a web/cloud-based client?YesYes
Does it have a desktop-based client?YesYes
Does it have a plug-in for my word processor?Yes (Microsoft Word, LibreOffice, Google Docs)Yes (Microsoft Word)
How can I import citations?By file (RIS, BibTeX), direct import from some databases and browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge.By file (RIS, BibTeX) and direct import from some databases.
Can I attach PDFs?YesYes
Can I download PDFs from citations?Yes, but only open access articles that are freely available online.Yes, both open access articles and paywalled articles by configuring EndNote with Leddy Library's details.
How many citation styles are available?8,100+7,200+
What are the de-duplication capabilities?Zotero has basic de-dupe capabilities. Duplicates are automatically detected and the settings cannot be configured.EndNote has advanced de-dupe capabilities. All de-duplication settings are available to the user, allowing for configuration. Recommended for knowledge syntheses.

Other citation management software

Zotero and EndNote are only two of the more common citation management software. Other popular citation management software includes:
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