Reference Managers

Whether it’s writing essays, gathering research or doing a literature review reference managers can be a huge help in organising your references. They can help you collect information about everything you have read and allow you to easily add citations and bibliographies to your documents.

There is a large variety of Reference Managers available on the market. Some gather references and allow you to make bibliographies. Others allow you to do all this and can also insert correctly formatted citations into a word processor. Full details are available on our reference management guide.

Choosing a reference Manager

Choosing the correct reference manager for you can be challenging. Check out our guide on Choosing a Reference Manager to compare major tools and see which is best for you. There are also some reference managers that are freely available to members of the Universirty.


Oxford has the institutional subscription to RefWorks. Create a free account with your University email. Check out our resource of the month post for more information on RefWorks. RefWorks Citation Manager, for Microsoft Word 2016 and later, is compatible with the cloud-based Microsoft Word 365. This can added formatted citations into your word document from your RefWorks library.


EndNote can be used as a desktop or web-based application. The desktop version of EndNote has more features and is free for University of Oxford members to use while they are members of the institution. EndNote is available for free download from the IT Services shop website. The word processor plugin Cite While You Write is added to Microsoft Word automatically upon installation of the EndNote desktop software, so you can add references directly from your library to your document.


Zotero is a freely available desktop-based reference manager and can be used on Windows, Mac and Linux computers. It is freely downloadable from the Zotero website. The word processor plugin enables you to cite references from your Zotero library into your word processed document.

Latex and Bibtex

LaTeX is a freely available typesetting system that allows you to produce professional looking publications. Many people find that LaTeX is particularly useful for working with long documents or for documents that contain mathematical formulae or equations. It is a popular system for those preparing scientific and technical documents. You can create documents with LaTeX using any one of large number of different LaTeX editors, or even by just using a plain text editor like Windows Notepad.

BibTeX is a program that works with LaTeX to allow you to include in-text citations and a bibliography in your document. Many reference managers offer some level of support for working with LaTeX and BibTeX. You can find out more on the Latex page of our guide and


Along with the details information on our guide there are also training sessions on Reference Managers every term. Why not sign up for one of these sessions:


iSkills: Endnote – Tue 14 Nov – 10.00-12.00

iSkills: Zotero – Thu 16 Nov – 10.30-11.30

In person

iSkills Zotero – Wed 8 Nov – 13.30-16.30
Thames Suite, IT Services
7-19 Banbury Road, Oxon, OX2 6NN


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.