Export references from Word document

Is there any way to export all the references from a Word document as a .RIS? Or alternatively, can I create a collection based on the references in a Word document? I need to get ~50 references exported from a document and I prefer not to have to do it individually/manually.
  • Thanks this is very helpful. This generates a JSON file. I had to import this back into Zotero to export as RIS (my collaborators use EndNote). When I imported into Zotero I was able export to RIS. However I think I messed up the references as I started getting sync errors afterwards. Perhaps duplicates were created? When I tried to delete the newly added Ref-extract the sync errors occurred. Any ideas?
  • The sync errors are unrelated (or, though less likely, a bug triggered by this). Newly imported items, regardless of whether they duplicate existing ones and of import format, should always behave just like any other new item.

    Either way, report the sync issue in a new thread if it persists.
  • OK. Just so I'm clear. Should I be able to temporarily import the JSON to convert to RIS, export, and then delete the newly added references without having to merge with the old versions? Thanks again for the quick responses.
  • Yes, absolutely you should.
  • OK. I'll submit a ticket if I keep having problems. I don't know if it's possible but it would be awesome if the feature from that website could be implemented in the Zotero client. Thanks again.
  • the ability to create collections with items used in a document is a longstanding planned feature, yes.
  • Hola! Estoy buscando exportar referencias de Word que ingresé para pasarlas a mi Zotero. Pero al ingresar a la página que indicas me indica que no hay referencias encontradas.
    ¿Me podrías ayudar?
  • el pagina esta para documentos de Word con referencias hechos con Zotero o Mendeley. Es el caso por su documento? Sino, vea https://www.zotero.org/support/kb/importing_formatted_bibliographies
  • Gracias! Mi caso es con referencias hechas en Word.
  • Nice workflow, although does not solve my issue completely. I would like to
    create a Word manuscript with Zotero citations, and then be able to share the complete Bibligraphy with others. Including the pdf's. Like a regular Zotero export including the attachments.

    As I understand correct if I use the ref-extractor I should take care not to merge the newly imported (from ref-extract) items with the originals. And anyway: If I would merge, it would force me to keep the newly imported as the Master Item. Not so nice.

    So ideally my Zotero-generated Bibliography from the Word doc is backwards converted to a New Collection, which can be Exported to others. Or simply saved, for later use (saves an overview of what citations were used for a manuscript).

    Is this possible in any way?
  • Not currently possible, but this has long been planned as "document collections" as a regular Zotero feature. Not sure what the status of that is.
    No easy way to do the same with the ref-extractor, I'm afraid.
  • Thank you. Besides sharing, it would be great to be able to simply keep track of bibiographies from created documents.
  • Completely agree; I frequently create such collections manually, which is of course possible but would be really nice to automate.
  • Will this work?

    - Use ref-extract to import the cited items. That means each cited ref has a duplicate.
    - Go to Duplicate Items, select all, and assign a custom tag
    - Delete the items created/imported in #1 (easier if you order the middle window by "Date Added". That leaves you with only the original items in your library that were used to cite in the document.
    - Export the items with the custom tag
  • @dstillman, do you know if the zotero://select/ handler supports the selection of more than one item? It would be easy for Reference Extractor to spit out an URL to select all the items cited in a document if there is a syntax for this.
  • @gurdas: great workaround, should work I guess. For me I think it's not an option since I'm in a constant fight with my duplicates: either false duplicates (several dozen, let's say 60), or still-to-solve duplicates (several dozen more..). So how to separate these dupes from your selection? My database has 7500 items, false or true dupes are almost unavoidable.
  • edited February 5, 2019
    Add a pre-step where you tag all existing duplicates with "KeepThese" and then use a saved search that filters for items that have the "DeleteThese" tag (which you applied to all duplicates after the ref-extract) but does NOT have the "KeepThese" tag. That should only be the items that ended up as Duplicates AFTER you did the ref-extract import. Won't work for an item that is an existing duplicate AND was part of the ref-extract duplicates.
  • Nice, thank you! Should work. I would not mind to have "document collections" as a future feature though ;)
  • @stroom: My experience with the same need has been:
    1. Export with ref-extractor
    2. Import in a new collection
    3. All imported refs are duplicates but have the same "Date added", i.e. today/right now
    4. To avoid touching false/yet-to-manage duplicates, simply sort by "Date added"
    5. Merge all (relevant) duplicates by keeping the original reference (not the recently imported one) (a bit of clicking, but was done in a few minutes for ±120 refs)
    Although I kept the oldest reference, all the references were correctly maintained inside the new collection, so everything was as intended.
  • edited June 19, 2019
    @stroom, I just updated https://rintze.zelle.me/ref-extractor/ to add a new "Select cited items in Zotero" button, which selects all the existing items in your Zotero library that were cited in your Word document (assuming you still have them in your library). See also https://twitter.com/rintzezelle/status/1141186640288899072.

    I haven't tested whether it works for items in group libraries you have access to, but otherwise it should do exactly what you requested.
  • Nice option, is exactly what I can use. The new button does not really does that much in my case: "Select X items from user library #######". I select Zotero, hit "open link". Nothing happens.
    Is Library ##### somewhere online? All my items (inc. attachments) are stored on my (backed up) HDD.. That maybe the issue here?
  • @stroom -- make sure that Zotero (locally) is open when you try this. This should select the items in the local Zotero library; it doesn't use let alone require a synced version.
  • Sorry, it does not. Zotero is open (as admin). Also if I manually select the Zotero.exe it does not select any refs, although the No. extracted and CSL style is correctly recognized. Re-opend Zotero as well to no avail.
  • edited June 25, 2019
    @stroom, are you sure your local Zotero library contains the original items you cited in your Word document?

    And if you hover over the button, does the link look something like "zotero://select/library/items?itemKey=RHFEFF6Q,PRQAXWUS,I4TEDSIC" ? You can try to find one of these items by hand by entering an item key in the search bar in Zotero, to confirm that your library contains the item:

  • edited June 25, 2019
    Yes they are in My Library. Only the "Browse..." shows anything on hovering the mouse (name of docx file). The three buttons below show nothing at all (although shape mouse pointer changes)

    ps. the RHFEFF6Q is the folder name?
  • Does the "Select cited items in Zotero" remain greyed out? A successful extraction should look like this:


    (item keys like RHFEFF6Q are internal identifiers that Zotero uses to identify items)
  • Yes, grey, exactly like your link. Then I click that popped out "Select X items from user library". That generates another box (Launch application, a Firefox box). I select Zotero and hit "Open link"
  • Okay, so that all works. Could you right-click on the "Select X items from user library", and select "Copy Link Location", and then paste that link here in a comment? That will show me if there is anything odd about the selection link.
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