Preview Citation

I'm new to Zotero. So far I really love it, but I miss a PreviewWindow, which shows how the Citation will appear in the Bibliography.

Is there an easy way for this?
  • Zotero Preferences -> Cite pane -> at the bottom of the Styles pane, there's a "Style preview" button (the "Style Editor" is more efficient in my opinion, once you know which style you want to use).
  • additionaly, you can check all the thousands of styles here:
  • The Style preview is what I was looking for. Thanks!

    For my workflow, I usually try to check the Citation after the Import/Edit immediately, to keep the library and its citations clean. Otherwise I collect more inconsitancy within the library - like: with one Citation I have the edition with an other one not, etc.

    For that it would be perfect if the Style preview would be integreated in the Interface (like in Evernote)

    How do you keep you library clean without previewing after the Import? Did I miss sth?
  • After you’ve used Zotero for a bit, you will probably find that you can just look at the Info pane and see if there is anything missing (e.g., book sections should always have an editor).
  • I second bwiernik. I have never looked at the style preview to find what is missing (and that is not the intent of the style preview feature, either).

    I either scan the info tab in the right pane, or create a saved search to find items that need to be fixed. For example, I recently search for items without abstract. The advanced search is the magnifier glass icon in the top horizontal bar.

    For abstract, I used the "Abstract" "does not contain" and then "a" or "e", since those are the most common alphabets. Not sure if there is a better way to just search if a field is blank or missing.
  • I actually disagree with this -- I think having a citation preview as an option in the right-hand tab makes a lot of sense; it's just not going to happen before Zotero moves to a new platform, but I think it's certainly something to consider for the UI revamp that will go along with that.
  • edited October 13, 2017
    @gurdas You can enter "%" as a wildcard for any character in the search field.

    And I totally agree, a formatted summary view and/or a citation preview would be great when Zotero moves the new platform.
  • Thanks, @bwiernik

    My workflow does not need style preview until I have to decide what style to use for a particular job, and for that the current style preview is just fine. So, I am curious what work flow would require style preview to be in the right-pane? What purpose does that serve? I agree it is nice to have it if needed, just not seeing a workflow where it is really useful.
  • I basically only work in APA, and I am used to viewing item data in that format. It’s much faster for me to read that versus the Info page layout. Something similar to Mendeley’s summary view would also be nice.
  • Most people will be more familiar with formatted citations than the (pretty hard to read) table view in the info pane. Formatted citations as a preview provide a quick way to check data entry and to see what exact item you're looking at.

    The alternative would be to create a single pseudo citation style for display -- I think that's what Papers is doing. I'm not sure which is better, but I think the current info pane is pretty poorly suited to quickly show relevant information.
  • Both Mendeley and Papers have a sort of summary view that shows the basic citation info (authors, title, Year, publication) and abstract in a nicely formatted way. Such a view for reading, a citation preview (for the use the original poster had—to see if the item is formatting correctly), and a preview of any attachments would all be great additions to the right pane.
  • The alternative would be to create a single pseudo citation style for display
    Or it could use whatever Quick Copy output format is selected.

    (and I would love to see more formatted citations, both for checking item metadata and when selecting styles)
  • I've been using Zotero for some months now (switched from Endnote) and I miss being able to see--and copy--a formatted bibliographic citation set in the style I elect. I'd definitely like this view in a tab as suggested by @adamsmith . I used that function all the time in Endnote, not just to check what's missing from a reference, but also copy/paste the citation and/or parts of citation.

    I only use APA 6th ed, so using the suggestion by Gracile (Zotero Preferences -> Cite pane -> at the bottom of the Styles pane, there's a "Style preview" button) is too many steps just to see how it looks in APA.
  • While you cannot easily see, you can easily copy any item set to the style you've selected (in Edit > Preferences > Export). You can copy multiple items at once. I generally just drag-drop items in Word or Outlook.
  • I would love to see Zotero add a small citation preview pane on the main panel with a configurable citation style.

    Zotero seems to be hobbled by a ridiculously unfriendly Ux for citation previews. I generally need to make use of this 10 to 20 times a day. Many academics require rapid access to formatted citations in a cut-and-paste context (e.g., pasting into email, notepads, journals, etc.) Many of the applications I use do not have Zotero integration (e.g., my command line email client, my custom academic journal database, etc.). Other reference managers (e.g., Bibdesk, KBibTex, etc.) provide a pane on the main window displaying the selection citations in the selected format ready for cut-and-paste. By contrast Zotero demands one move the pointer (no keyboard shortcut) to select Edit > Preferences > Cite > Style Preview and then one has to navigate to a specific citation style in order to cut and paste.
  • I generally agree that citation preview would be helpful, but it's not needed for your usecase and thus far less essential than you may think:

    (it's main use, imo, it's that it provides a quicker overview of key metadata):
  • @adamsmith WOWZA! are you ever right about that! Thank you! That's actually a quicker work-flow than what I described. Humble astonishment.
  • That's great, thank you @adamsmith
  • edited June 17, 2020
    Great workarounds, but it would still be very useful to have the preview of the citation style right there on the item pane in its own tab.
  • As a relatively new user to Zotero, I wanted this too, and so I wrote one:

    It adds a tab to the item details after "Related", called "Preview" which previews the citation.
  • edited March 24, 2021
    Thank you @dcartertod. I'm using it and i like it!
    This should be listed in the plugins page:
  • A citation style preview has been quite helpful to me in other reference managers, and I also miss it in Zotero. My examples of how this is useful:

    I often work with items of less-common types and which have to be manually entered. And I need to cite in a variety of journal-specific styles, not all of which always have good support for more exotic item types. So it's very useful to be able to have immediate feedback on how an item is performing while I'm inputting information, so I can check that I'm remembering the right places to put info and that I'm not setting myself up for bibliographic headaches down the line.

    I also agree that a formatted citation is more readable and familiar for many people, and can be very convenient for copy/paste. I use my QuickCopy for BetterBibTeX citation keys, so it's not helpful to me for copy/pasting a formatted citation into an email or other ad hoc scenario. And there are often cases where I want to quickly choose a particular format just for those ad hoc situations (e.g., grab a citation for one of my exotic items in a citation style which I know supports it, but which I do not typically otherwise use).
  • @ventolinmono I found a speed optimization and updated it. It was getting called too frequently. Suggest downloading and installing the new version.
  • Very nice idea! I was going to request something similar and came across this post.
    Now, I use scannable cite as my default format (for Scrivener integration), which means the preview doesn't work:
    "No bibliography style is choosen [sic] in the settings for QuickCopy."
    Bummer for me because it's a great addition otherwise.
  • @dcartertod Thank you so much for this great add-on!
    I agree with @ventolinmono that it should be included in the Plugins for Zotero page.
  • edited April 7, 2021
    Yes, thanks. Very useful
  • @AndrewRRM I'll look into that.
  • This is an excellent add-on! I've been using it continually since installing it a week or so ago. I can't imagine not having it now.

    @dcartertod - any chance of a mod that does this: ?
  • (Btw. the add-on is now listed on )
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