Table of Contents

We’re in the process of updating the documentation for Zotero 5.0. Some documentation may be outdated in the meantime. Thanks for your understanding.

This page describes some of the reported issues with the Zotero word processor plugins, together with possible solutions.

All Plugins/Platforms

Formatting issues

Citations and bibliographies generated by the word processor plugins might appear in a different style (font, font-size, etc) than the surrounding text. The appearance of the generated text can be changed by changing the default style. E.g. in LibreOffice, open the styles manager in 'Format' > 'Styles and Formatting' or by hitting F12. Right click on “Default”, select 'Modify', and make the desired changes to this style.

Bibliography formatting is controlled in the style file, and should conform to the requirements of the style in use. The formatting of the bibliography can be modified by editing the “Bibliography” (Word) or “Bibliography 1” (LibreOffice) style.

Incompatible plugin

The Zotero word processor plugin will only work if you install the correct version. (Note that Zotero 2.0 uses a different plugin from Zotero 1.0.x, and Zotero 2.1 uses a different plugin from Zotero 2.0, so after upgrading Zotero you will also need to upgrade your plugin.) If you try to use an incompatible version of the plugin, you will receive an error message similar to:

“This version of the Zotero Word Plugin (1.0b4) is incompatible with the currently installed version of the Zotero Firefox extension (2.0.3). Please ensure that you are using the latest versions of both components.”

To solve this problem, install the correct version of the plugin.

If the problems persists after using the installer, remove the old version manually. For Windows Word and Word 2004 for Mac, remove the plugin file “” completely from your Word startup folder, which you can locate by looking at the path in Tools→Templates and Add-ins within Word. For OpenOffice, remove the extension from the OpenOffice Extension Manager (and, if necessary, remove leftover files from the OpenOffice data directory, which may be necessary if OO fails to completely uninstall the extension). In either case, restart the word processor and ensure that the Zotero toolbar and all traces of the plugin are completely gone before attempting to reinstall.

Zotero toolbar doesn't appear

If the Zotero toolbar (or Zotero scripts for Word 2008/2011 for Mac) does not appear, follow these steps:

  1. Close Word or LibreOffice.
  2. In Firefox or Zotero Standalone, go to Tools→Add-ons→Extensions. (If you don't see “Zotero Word for Mac Integration,” “Zotero Word for Windows Integration,” or “Zotero LibreOffice Integration” in Tools→Add-ons→Extensions, install them.)
  3. Click the “Preferences”/“Options” button next to “Zotero Word for Mac Integration,” “Zotero Word for Windows Integration,” or “Zotero LibreOffice Integration”, depending on your operating system and word processor. Alternatively, you can find this option in the Zotero preferences under “Cite”–> “Word Processors”
  4. Click “Reinstall Extension” and then restart your word processor.

If you are still experiencing issues, follow these software specific troubleshooting ​steps:

Debugging broken documents

If you can insert citations into new documents but receive an error in an existing document, follow these steps to find the cause of the error:

  1. Make sure the Track Changes feature in Word/LibreOffice is disabled, as it is known to cause problems with Zotero integration. (With the most recent version of the plugins this should not be the case any more - to be safe, do still perform this step, though.) If you had Track Changes enabled previously, try accepting all changes to see if that resolves the issue.
  2. Check for citations in image captions. Zotero won't let you insert them, but if you copied a citation to a caption that's most likely the source of the problem. Delete it.
  3. Try copying and pasting the document content into a new document to see if the problem goes away. You may need to click the “Set Document Preferences” button before your old citations will be recognized.
  4. Make a copy of your document — by duplicating the file itself, not by copying and pasting the content — to use for debugging.
  5. Open the copied file and check if you get the error after switching to a different bibliography style.
  6. If the document has a bibliography, delete it and check if you still get the error.
  7. Check “Report Errors…” in the Zotero Help menu to see if new errors appear after attempting to insert a citation. If so, send in an error report and post the provided Report ID to the forums.
  8. Try to isolate the problematic citation. Delete half of the document at a time and see if the error still occurs. If not, use Undo to restore the deleted section and then try deleting the other half. If you can reproduce the error in only one of the halves, repeat the halving process on the remaining section. Continue this until you find the problematic citation. Remove that citation from the original document and the problem should go away (unless there are multiple problematic citations, in which case you'll have to repeat the process). If you are able to find a problematic citation, you should also send that document excerpt to so we can take a look at it. For all other discussion, please post to the forums.
  9. While debugging, if you are using Fields mode in Word or Reference Marks mode in LibreOffice, it may help to display field codes rather than formatted text. To do this in Word, press Alt-F9 on Windows or Option-F9 (or Option-Function-9) on macOS. In LibreOffice, press Control-F9.



Communication error or non-responsive plugin buttons

“Word could not communicate with Zotero. Please ensure Firefox or Zotero Standalone is running and try again.” Or plugin appears and buttons are clickable, but no insert citation window appears.

  1. If you are using Zotero for Firefox, ensure that Zotero and Zotero Word for Windows Integration are enabled in Tools→Add-ons→Extensions
  2. Make sure that you're running Zotero/Firefox as the same user as Word. The plugin will fail, e.g., if Zotero is run as administrator and Word as a regular user. For security reason you should typically not run any software as administrator.
  3. If you use ZoneAlarm, disable ForceField, which is known to cause a communication error.
  4. Windows plugins communicate with Firefox using the remote window. Thus, launching Firefox with the -no-remote command-line option will prevent the plugins from functioning. (You might do this if you have multiple Firefox profiles.) The solution is to remove the -no-remote command-line option from the shortcut used to launch the Firefox profile on which Zotero is installed. As long as all other profiles use the -no-remote option, you should be able to open them and the Zotero profile simultaneously.

Zotero tab does not appear in the Word Ribbon

If you are using Microsoft Office Starter Edition, Zotero Word integration is not supported.

Check if Zotero plugin is correctly installed

  1. Open Word Options
  2. Choose “Customize Ribbon”
  3. On the right pane tick the “Developer” tab
  4. Close the options and in the new Developer tab click “Word Add-ins”
  5. Make sure Zotero.dotm is present and ticked

If Zotero.dotm is present and ticked under Word Add-ins

  1. Open Word Options
  2. Choose “Trust Centre” and in the pane click “Trust Centre Settings…”
  3. Under “Add-ins” make sure that “Require Application Add-ins to be signed by Trusted Publisher” and “Disable all Application Add-ins” are unticked.
  4. Restart Word.

If Zotero tab is still not present after these steps, go back into the Trust Centre Settings and pick “Disable all macros with notification” under “Macro Settings”. Restart Word and see if you get a notification asking for macro permissions.

If Zotero.dotm is not present under Word Add-ins

  1. Go into Zotero → Tools → Add-ons and make sure that Zotero Word for Windows Integration is enabled. If it is disabled, enable it and restart Word
  2. Go into Zotero Preferences → Cite → Word Processors and click “Install Word for Windows Add-in”. Restart Word.

If Zotero tab is not present in Word, check whether it is available under Word Add-ins and if so, follow the section above. If it still does not show up in Word Add-ins, you should attempt a manual installation

Word 2010: "Could not find a running Word instance"

If you install Zotero with Word 2010 and receive an error stating

“Zotero experienced an error updating your document. [zoteroWinWordIntegration Exception… “Could not find a running Word instance.” code: “0” function: “zoteroWinWordDocument::initFromActiveObject” location: ”.\zoteroWinWordDocument.cpp”]“

you may be experiencing an issue relating to your Word 2010 installation method. Microsoft distributes a set of “Click-to-Run” versions of Office 2010 that are configured to run within their own virtual environment. Unfortunately, this virtual environment prohibits Zotero from communicating with these Word instances, producing an error.

You can fix this problem by switching your copy of Office 2010 from a Click-to-Run installation to a standard (MSI-based) installation. This process does not require an additional license. To do so, follow the steps under the “Workaround” heading on this page.

You may also experience this error if you are running either Word or Firefox as Administrator or in a compatibility mode in Windows Vista or 7, or if security software is interfering with Zotero's ability to communicate with Word.

"This command is not available because no document is open"

Zotero's Word add-on currently does not work for documents in OneDrive. Move your document to a different folder. Other cloud-syncing services such as Dropbox or Google Drive are not affected. See this thread for details and developments.

Citations remain in endnotes when switching to in-text style

When switching from a note-based style set to “Endnotes” under Set Document Preferences to a style that produces in-text citations (author-date or numerical), the citations remain in endnotes.

Workaround: Before switching to the in-text style, click on “Set Document Preferences” in the Word add-on and switch the format to “Footnotes.” Then switch to the in-text style. If you did already switch to the in-text style and are seeing this issue, switch back to the note-based style you were using, toggle to “Footnotes,” and switch back.


Tab does not appear in Word 2016

Begin by checking whether the plugin was installed in Word correctly:

  1. Open Word Preferences
  2. Click View
  3. Check “Show developer tab” and close the preferences dialog
  4. In the new Developer tab click “Word Add-ins”
  5. Make sure that “Zotero.dotm” is present under Global Templates and Add-ins” and is checked

If the “Zotero.dotm” entry isn't present in the dialog, try reinstalling the Word plugin from Zotero. In Zotero, go to the Cite pane of the Zotero preferences, click the “Reinstall Word Components” button, and then restart Word.

If the entry is still not present, follow the manual installation instructions.

Toolbar does not appear in Word 2004/2011 or is incompatible

First, check whether “Zotero Bibliographic Management” shows up in the View → Toolbars menu within Word. If it does but it isn't enabled, enable it.

If the Zotero option doesn't show up in that menu, try reinstalling the Word plugin from Zotero. In Zotero, go to the Cite pane of the Zotero preferences, click the “Reinstall Word Components” button, and then restart Word. If you're using Zotero for Firefox and don't see the option to reinstall the Word components, make sure you've installed the Word integration extension into Firefox. (This isn't necessary for Zotero Standalone.)

On a system with a non-English version of Office 2004 for Mac installed or with a non-administrator OS X user account, the toolbar may not appear in Word. Alternatively, after upgrading the plugin, you may receive a message saying that the plugin is incompatible with the installed version of Zotero. These problems indicate that the new template was not installed into the correct location for your installation. By default, Zotero installs the template into /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Startup/Word.

If you have a non-English version of Office, you may need to move the file into the “Word” directory within the equivalent of “Startup” in your language and restart Word. The correct path should be listed in Tools→Templates and Add-ins in Word.

If you're using a non-admin OS X user account, you will need to install the Word plugin from an administrative account or grant write access for the startup directory to the non-admin account to allow it to install

Scripts do not appear in Word 2008/2011 or are incompatible

After installing the latest Word plugin for Zotero on a system with a non-English version of Office 2008/2011 for Mac installed, the plugin scripts may not appear in Word. Alternatively, after upgrading the plugin, you may receive a message saying that the plugin is incompatible with the installed version of Zotero.

These problems indicate that the new scripts were not installed into the correct location. By default, Zotero installs the scripts into ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Word Script Menu Items or ~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office/Word Script Menu Items if either of these folders exist, or asks where to install them if it does not. Since non-English versions of Office prior to Office 2011 SP2 do not use the Microsoft User Data folder, but rather a folder with an equivalent name in the Office language, this can be problematic for non-English Office users. There are three potential solutions:

  1. If you have Office 2011, install the latest available updates. You can then reinstall the Word scripts from Zotero. In Zotero, go to the Cite pane of the Zotero preferences, click the “Reinstall Word Components” button, and then restart Word. If you're using Zotero for Firefox and don't see the option to reinstall the Word components, make sure you've installed the Word integration extension into Firefox. (This isn't necessary for Zotero Standalone.)
  2. If you have only non-English versions of Office installed, you can delete the Microsoft User Data folder if it contains nothing other than the Zotero scripts. You can then re-install the Zotero scripts by going to Tools→Add-ons→Extensions, clicking the “Preferences” button next to Zotero Word for Mac Integration, and clicking the “Reinstall Word Components” button.
  3. If you have both English and non-English versions of Office installed, you should copy the Zotero folder from ~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Word Script Menu Items to the equivalent folder for your non-English version of Office. You can find the correct directory by selecting “About This Menu…” (or non-English equivalent) from the script menu and clicking “Open Folder”.

No response from plugin

If you getting no response when you attempt to use the Word plugin, try the following steps:

  1. Restart Word and try again.
  2. Close Word and go to Tools→Add-ons→Extensions in Firefox or Zotero Standalone. Make sure Zotero and Zotero Word for Mac Integration are listed and enabled. If not, reinstall them. If so, click its Preferences/Options button and click Reinstall Word Components. Restart Word and try again.

In Word 2011, this can also indicate an issue with Visual Basic for Applications. If the above steps do not resolve the issue, follow these steps for resolving Visual Basic for Applications-related issues.

Visual Basic for Applications error

Some Word 2011 users may see the following message upon attempting to insert a citation or bibliography into any Word document using the Script menu:

“Zotero could not perform this action. Please ensure that a document is open. If you have performed a custom installation of Office, you may need to run the installer again, ensuring that “Visual Basic for Applications” is selected.”

Attempting to use the Zotero toolbar may result in no response, accompanied by an error message reading “Word could not fire event” when closing the document.

This error indicates that Visual Basic for Applications is malfunctioning, which may happen for several reasons:

Error with Word 2008 after using Migration Assistant

After using Migration Assistant to move your applications and documents from an old computer to a new computer, upon attempting to use Zotero from within Word, you may see the following error:

“Zotero experienced an error updating your document. [Exception… ”'The operation couldn't be completed. (OSStatus error -1728.) @[getDocument:application.m:100]' when calling method: [zoteroIntegrationApplication::getDocument]“ nsresult: “0x8057001e (NS_ERROR_XPC_JS_THREW_STRING)” location: “JS frame :: chrome://zotero/content/xpcom/integration.js :: _callIntegration :: line 273” data: no]”

Migration Assistant transfers an incomplete copy of Office 2008 that lacks files required for Zotero to function properly. Delete the copy of Microsoft Office created by Migration Assistant and reinstall Office from the original discs, or copy it manually from your old computer to your new computer using a USB flash drive or network share.


The Zotero Word for Windows plugin does not work out of the box under WINE, CrossOver Office, or other compatibility environments for Linux. We do not support running the Word for Windows plugin under Linux, and advise users to use LibreOffice/OpenOffice instead. If you absolutely must run Zotero in WINE, this forum thread has some helpful tips.

As of March 2016, the following steps should work getting Office 2010 run with Zotero Firefox.

1. Install Office 2010 and Firefox on Wine

2. Open Firefox, download and install the latest version of Zotero (the .xpi file) and restart Firefox

3. Still in Firefox, download and install the Zotero plugin for MS Word (the Zotero-WinWord-Plugin-x.x.x.xpi file). Restart your Firefox

4. Change directory to /home/%user%/.wine/drive_c/users/%user%/Application Data/Microsoft/Word/STARTUP/. Substitute “” file with this file

5. Open Firefox and the Zotero plugin.

6. Open MS Word

Thanks to Sudarlin Laoddang for providing these instructions on his blog.


All Platforms

Installation error

At the last step of LibreOffice Integration installation, you may see the message

“An error occurred installing Zotero Integration.”

If you experience this error during plugin installation:

Next, restart the installation process, by restarting Firefox or Zotero Standalone. In Firefox or Zotero Standalone select Add-ons the under the Tools menu. The page should display the Zotero LibreOffice Integration extension. Click the preferences button for this extension which will display the Zotero Preferences dialog. Click the Install Extension button.

When you are asked to locate your LibreOffice installations, ensure that your LibreOffice installation is listed. (You can add new LibreOffice installations by clicking the “Add Directory…” button below.)

If installation continues to fail, repeat the same steps, but click the Manual Installation button. This will open a folder containing the integration component to be installed within LibreOffice itself. Double-click this component to install it, or select Tools→Extension Manager within LibreOffice, click the Add button, and navigate to the component. While this is unlikely to succeed, it will provide further information about the cause of the installation failure.

If you receive an error stating “Could not create java implementation loader” when attempting to perform a manual installation, follow the instructions below for the Windows, Mac, or Linux. If you receive an error stating “JNI exception occurred” on Linux, follow these instructions. For errors not listed below, post the error you receive during manual installation to the Zotero forums.

Toolbar is missing

Check if there's an entry for Zotero under View → Toolbars. If not, look for the Zotero LibreOffice Integration plugin in Tools → Extension Manager. If it's in not there, return to Zotero and open the Cite → Word Processors pane of the Zotero preferences. Under the LibreOffice section, click the Install LibreOffice Add-in button. If you get an error, refer to installation troubleshooting instructions.

NullPointerException or lastDataListener is undefined error

In Zotero LibreOffice Integration, when attempting to add or edit a citation or bibliography, you may see the message

java.Lang.NullPointerException at

or the message

[JavaScript Error: “_lastDataListener is undefined” … when calling method: [zoteroIntegrationApplication::getActiveDocument]

This error indicates that the version of the extension within Firefox or Zotero does not match the version of the extension within LibreOffice, typically because installation failed. Try reinstalling the plugin. If the installation fails, or you continue to experience this error after reinstalling, see the above section on how to resolve an installation error.

Users with other word processor integration plugins (Word for Mac or Word for Windows) installed should also make sure that those plugins are the latest available versions.

Add Extension(s)...does not exist error

When attempting to manually install Zotero LibreOffice Integration, you may see the message

Add extension(s): «DIRECTORY»/Zotero_LibreOffice_Integration.oxt does not exist

We believe this is caused by a corrupt LibreOffice profile directory. Move or delete the LibreOffice profile directory, then follow the instructions above to reinstall the Zotero LibreOffice extension. (This will revert any LibreOffice settings you have customized to their default state.)


Could not create java implementation loader

Upon manual installation of the OpenOffice/LibreOffice component, you may see the message

“Could not create java implementation loader”

This error reflects a faulty Java installation within OpenOffice or LibreOffice. This issue affects not only Zotero, but any LibreOffice/OpenOffice extension that uses Java. Follow the steps below, testing whether manual installation succeeds after each.


Could not create java implementation loader

Upon manual installation of the component, you may see the message

“Could not create java implementation loader”

This is usually caused by an outdated version of OpenOffice, LibreOffice, or NeoOffice that does not properly locate the system Java installation. It can be resolved by installing 3.3 or later, LibreOffice 3.3 or later, or NeoOffice 3.1.2 or later.

LibreOffice 5 on macOS 10.11+: No response from plugin

Problem: LibreOffice 5 does not currently recognize the Java Runtime Environment (JRE), and Zotero's plugin therefore doesn't work.

Solution: Uninstall the JRE and install the Java Development Kit (JDK) instead.

  1. Uninstall the JRE
  2. In LibreOffice:
    1. Check in Prefs → Advanced if JDK 1.8.xx is actually selected in the box
    2. Go to Tools → Extension Manager, scroll down to “Zotero LibreOffice Integration“, and click on it. You should see an “Enable” button appear.
    3. After enabling, the Zotero buttons in the LibreOffice toolbar should be responsive.

Tested successfully with LibreOffice / JDK 1.8.0_112 / LO Integration Plugin 3.5.12 / Zotero / macOS 10.12.2.

macOS 10.11+: Appears to freeze upon using a Zotero function

Some operations, such as trying to edit a bibliography before inserting a citation, should pop up an error dialog about an illegal operation. On macOS 10.11+ these dialogs fail to display, but freeze the rest of the LibreOffice process until they are dismissed. Until this is fixed, you can dismiss them by pressing <Esc>, <Space>, or <Enter> on the keyboard.


JNI exception

Upon manual installation of the LibreOffice extension, you may see the message

( { { Message = JNI exception occurred“, Context = ( @7f01b00518b8 (ImplementationName = “”) } }

The most common cause of this error is a deselected Java installation due to a system update. To fix this, open Tools→Options, select LibreOffice→Java on the left, press the radio button to the left of your Java installation, and close LibreOffice. You should now be able to reinstall the LibreOffice extension from within Zotero.

Could not create implementation loader, or clicking toolbar buttons does not have an effect

On some Linux installations the Zotero toolbar refuses to install properly in LibreOffice, or is visible in LibreOffice, but clicking the buttons has no effect.

Installing the libreoffice-java-common package, available in the repositories of most common linux distributions, usually solves this issue.

You may still need to activate the extension: In LibreOffice go to Tools→Extension Manager Select “Zotero OpenOffice Integration” and click the “Activate” button.

Writer crashes upon interacting with Zotero

There is a known bug in current 32-bit Linux kernel that causes a 32-bit JRE to crash when used with LibreOffice.

The current solution is to install a 64-bit version of LibreOffice and JRE. You will need to upgrade to a 64-bit version of Linux if you are running a 32-bit version of an OS.