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Citation Managers Comparison


Citation Managers

Use citation managers to create your own database of citations that you can re-use over and over again.  Citation managers will automatically format citations for you, so you will never have to manually format your in-text citations or bibliographies again. This guide may help you choose which citation manager is best for you.

Why Use a Citation Manager?

Get Organized

Save Time


  • A place to keep all your favorite literature (e.g. articles, abstracts, conference proceedings, book chapters, etc...
  • May be a list of those articles with links to the full-text web versions.
  • May also be the place you keep your downloaded PDFs
  • Insert citations as you write (or after you have completed your manuscript)
  • Automatically generate bibliographies
  • Change the citation style in one click
  •  Share your library of your favorite articles (and other types of publications) with others
  • Collaborate on papers using the same "library" of citations



Automatically Generate Citations

Cite While You Write:

  • Automatically format your in-text citations by inputting the citation metadata from your citation manager into your word processor
  • Example: click and drag references from EndNote into the text of the Microsoft Word Document you are writing
  • Example: insert citations from a synced list of your RefWorks account citations into a shared Google Document

Insert Bibliography/ Reference List: 

  • Automatically create a bibliography/ reference list based on the citations you are using in your paper


Citation Manager: an application software designed to enable researchers to collect bibliographic references quickly and easily, cite them properly, organize them effectively, and share them with others. Proprietary examples include EasyBib, EndNote, Mendeley, and RefWorks. A free open source example is Zotero. Synonymous with reference management software.

"Library": your entire list of references​. The references in your library can organized in groups or folders

Results vs. References: turn your results (individual items or a database search list of results) into a list of references in your citation manager.

Citation Metadata​: the information about the item (title, author, year, place of publication, location on the Web, etc...)

Capture Reference: a function that automatically send citation metadata from the webpage or full-text of the item you are viewing.

Citation Style: the order in which your citation manager, Microsoft Word, or Google Docs, puts the citation metadata together to make properly formatted in-text citations and references (aka, APA, MLA, Chicago, Vancouver, AMA styles, etc...)

Working in Bulk

Bulk Export: send dozens/ hundreds/ thousands citations (i.e. their metadata) from a list of saved results in the database you are searching to your citation manager

Bulk Import: import dozens/ hundreds/ thousands citations (i.e. their metadata) from a list of saved results in the database you are searching to your citation manager.

Switch Citation Managers

Switch Citation Managers: if you choose a new citation manager export all your references from the old one and import all of them into a new one. Example: transfer all the citation manager references in you RefWorks account to EndNote and vice versa.

Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Medical Library
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