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Citation Management Guide


What's the best citation management software for me?

So how do you pick the best citation management software for you? There are many factors to consider. For example, if you are an undergraduate student, you might be looking for the fastest and easiest optionsomething with a short learning curve, which lets you grab citations and produce bibliographies in a snap. Oh, and let's not forget: it needs to be free or cheap.

If you're a graduate student or a faculty member, you might have different considerations: the software needs to work well with the databases you use frequently, it must be able to organize and filter a large number of citations, and it should be able to produce a bibliography in the primary style used in your discipline. If you're working on a research team, you'll also want to make sure the software allows you to collaborate with your colleagues smoothly.

U of T has created this guide comparison chart below to help you examine the different features available and figure out the best option for you.  We've adapted it slightly to reflect Ryerson's resources.

U of T's guide can be viewed here

Comparison of features





EndNote Web


What does it look like?

Video tutorials

Video tour

Video tutorials

Overview video

Quick start video

How much does it cost?

Free while at Ryerson until August 2015

Free and open source Free for everyone Free while at Ryerson Free for everyone (limited version with ads), more features for Ryerson community
How do I get it?

Create or log into account

Downloads available upon logging in, under Tools menu

Create account


Create account

Download desktop client

Install Web Importer

Install Word plugin: Windows or Mac

To sign up: log into Web of Science, click "EndNote" to create account

Log into account

Downloads available upon login, under Options > Download Installers

Create account (use your ryerson.ca e-mail for full features)

Install WizAdd

Download WizCite

How does it work? 

Web-based interface accessible anywhere


Plugin for Firefox or desktop client which can be linked to Chrome or Safari

Backup & sync via web-based account accessible anywhere

Desktop client (Win/Mac/Linux)

Web-based interface accessible through Web of Science

Web-based interface accessible anywhere


Will it work on my computer?


RefGrab-It plugin or bookmarklet for IE & Firefox

Write-N-Cite plugin for Word (Win/Mac)


Plugin for Word (Win/Mac), OpenOffice, & LibreOffice (Win/Mac/Linux)


Also works with Google Docs



Web Importer bookmarklet for most browsers


Plugin for Word (Win/Mac) and OpenOffice (Win/Mac/Linux)



Web Capture bookmarklet for most browsers or Firefox add-on


Cite While You Write plugin for Word (Win/Mac)



WizAdd bookmarklet for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, & IE


WizCite desktop client with plugins for Word (Win, Word for Mac 2011 only), OpenOffice, & LibreOffice (Win/Mac)


Can I use it on my mobile device?

RefMobile website (free)

Third party apps for iOS & Android (various prices)

iOS app (free) 

iPad app ($9.99 USD)

iPad-friendly website (free)

Can I save citations while I browse?

Yes: direct export from many popular databases, manual import using RIS/BiBTeX, or grab citations from some websites using RefGrab-It plugin/bookmarklet 

Yes: browser plugin grabs citations from many popular databases, manual import using RIS/BiBTeX

Yes: grab citations from popular databases using Web Importer

Yes: direct export from some databases, manual import using RIS

Yes: grab citations using WizAdd bookmarklet, manual import using RIS/BiBTeX 

Can I search external databases?


Limited: ISBN, DOI, or PMID lookup

No (coming soon)



Can I attach PDFs or other files? Yes Yes: can automatically grab PDFs with citations, can add notes and other attachments, can retrieve citation data for PDFs, can archive web pages Yes: can organize and annotate PDFs, can retrieve citation data for PDFs No Yes: can attach PDFs and other files, can retrieve citation data for PDFs
Can I run a full text search on my account?






What citation styles are available? 3,000+ output styles 2,800+ citation styles (CSL)
2,800+ citation styles (CSL) 3,400+ output styles 1,000+ citation styles

Can I collaborate with others?

Yes: can share folders publicly or privately with RefShare, can share account to collaborate on papers
Yes: can share references through public or private group libraries
Yes: can share references through public or private groups
Yes: can share references privately via groups
Yes: can share references publicly or privately

Can I use it after I leave Ryerson?

You have several options. Contact the library to discuss the best option for you.

Yes After graduation, can only access while on Ryerson campus; we recommend you export your references elsewhere Yes
Where can I find more help?

RefWorks LibGuide

Offical RefWorks Help Files

E-mail Scholars Portal RefWorks Support

Zotero LibGuide

Zotero Official Documentation & Support

Zotero Screencast Tutorials

Zotero Forums

Mendeley Getting Started Guide

Mendeley Support Portal

EndNote Web LibGuide

WizFolio LibGuide

Official WizFolio Help Files


But wait... there's still more!

Other alternatives

While we've included the most popular examples on the table above, there are plenty more options out there. Some other options you might want to consider:

Check out another great Comparison chart of reference management software on Wikipedia for even more suggestions.

Online citation generators

Did you know there are online citation generators that let you create citations and bibliographies on the fly? These generators usually only offer a few citation styles and features, but if you're writing something short they just might do the trick:

Please note: online citation generators are usually less accurate and reliable than citation management software that has been vetted by many users. Always check your work before submitting it anywhere!

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