Deciding which resource to use is a task on its own. You have no idea if the one you pick will serve you as you wish so you simply proceed by faith. This list of the popular citation tools available on the web is your guide. It will help you decide on the right reference generator to use based on your needs.
Table of Contents
Ranking of Popular Citation Tools
Zotero is a free research resource and one of the most popular citation tools on the web. It lets you collect research materials, organize them, and create references and bibliographies. Zotero citation generator has a downloadable desktop app for Mac and Windows. They also have Zotero Connector, a browser extension that allows you to save webpages online and sync them to the desktop app. This is in addition to a Google Doc add-in.
- use any one of 9000+citation styles
- ability to cite up to 40 source types
- Add notes and tags to reference material
- Organize reference materials into a collection
- Create a bibliography from the collection
Some of the most popular citation tools are beloved because of how seamlessly they can be integrated into word processors. Mendeley Cite is a plug-in for Microsoft Word that lets you cite sources without leaving your document. The plug-in appears in the References tab in Word which allows you to automatically add in-text citations and generate bibliographies. Mendeley also has a desktop app as well as a web importer that captures metadata.
- Generate citations and bibliographies with one click
- Support for more than 8,000 citation styles with easy switching between styles
- Manually edit citations
- Compatible with Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Word 2016 and later versions, and the Microsoft Word app for iPad
Endnote is another one of the popular citation tools whose reputation is based purely on functionality. Aside from your library where you can gather, sort, and share your research, it also has a Cite-As-You-Write plug-in for Word and Mac. The plug-in bridges your EndNote library and Microsoft Word or Apple Pages so you can seamlessly cite sources without switching to different interfaces. The plug-in also formats your bibliography by adding indents among other specifics of referencing.
- Access to 6000 citation styles and change as you like
- Import citations from article databases like Google Scholar, JSTOR, PubMed, etc.
- Insert and edit in-text citations
- Customization options for in-text citations.
- Bibliography formatting options
- Automatically update citations and bibliography
4. MS Word
Compared to other resources, the MS Word referencing tool is very basic in terms of functionality. However, its convenience and ease of use make it one of the most popular citation tools available. Located under the references tab of MS Word, this referencing tool requires you to information and then let it do the rest. The downside is that the referencing styles are often not updated to their current versions and it can be tedious to enter all the information.
- Automatic generation of bibliography
- Simple insertion of in-text citation
- A good number of citation styles are available
- Various source types
- Stores your sources until you delete them yourself
MyBib is possibly the most deserving of its position on the list of most popular citation tools. You need an online citation generator that not just works for you but works quickly. While it does not do much in the way of reference management and other academic writing services, it still excels in the one thing it does do which is to generate citations quickly and effectively.
- Automatically gather citation information from websites
- Easily create citations for sources in a variety of types for your bibliography or works cited list
- Create folders for multiple projects
- Create in-text citations
- Download your bibliography as a Word file, save it as a Google doc, print or email it, copy and paste it into an existing document
6. Cite This for Me
Cite This for Me has a decent amount of tools that will make citations easier and faster. For this, it has made it onto the list of the most popular citation tools. Though it can only support a moderate number of source types, it makes up for it in the array of citation styles available. While it has the usual download, export, and copy-and-paste tools that other citation generators have, its collaboration features make it unique. It has a browser extension, web citer, which enables one-click citation generation. However, the list of references has a short expiry period of one week.
- Support for 7,500 citation styles that you can change at any time
- Supports 34 source types
- Download your bibliography as a .docx or .rtf file.
- Export as BibTex or export to Google Drive or Evernote
- Basic reference management
- Collaborate with others.
Citavi is a multi-purpose free online bibliography and citation tool you can use for your knowledge organization needs. It is also a reference manager and a task management platform. Hence, making it one of the most popular citation tools for its accuracy in citation generation and ease of use. Citavi has a very user-friendly interface.
- More than 30 ways to add your sources including scanning QR codes
- Reference management
- You can have premium service for up to 100 references
- Automatic backup
RefWorks is a web-based application that allows you to create and manage your references from anywhere in the world. With RefWorks, you can easily import citations from databases, journals, and websites, and then create bibliographies in any format you need. But perhaps the best thing about RefWorks is its collaborative features. With RefWorks, you can share your references with colleagues or classmates and work together on projects. You can also create groups to collaborate on research topics.
- Integration into MS Word
- Export referencing files
- Reference management
- Import referencing files
EasyBib is another free, easy-to-use online bibliography maker. Like numerous other popular citation tools, EasyBib is part of the online learning platform Chegg Service. This probably explains why the interface might be familiar to you.
- Includes more than 7,000 citation styles
- Change citation style
- Support for 60 source types
- Cite sources automatically or manually
- Add annotation to a source material
- Sort references alphabetically or by most or least recent
This has nothing too special about it but it is still one of the most popular citation tools. But, it is easy to use and available. BibMe is an online referencing generator that makes the tedious task of citation more convenient. However, BibMe should not be your regular go-to citation tool. Thus, it should be the place you drop by for a quick reference generation.
- Supports more than 7,000 citation styles
- Automatically cite up to 22 different source types.
- Copy and paste citations
- Searches databases like Amazon and Yahoo news
This is one of those popular citation tools that are aptly named. Citefast is an online reliable citation generator that promises not only a free tool but also a fast one. Citefast can automatically generate citations out of web page URLs, ISBNs, and more. You can also type in the information yourself. Fields for reference data have tips that you can hover over so you know how to properly format your sources. This one allows you to save your sources, only if you have created an account. Otherwise, you lose your data within days.
- Supports three citation styles in various versions
- Change citation style
- Supports 19 source types
- Copy and paste citations
- Export to Word
The numerous capabilities of this resource earn it a position on the list of popular citation tools. Not because its citation functionality is so great but because it offers other services that make it the perfect academic writing helper. It is an AI-based software that helps you paraphrase, summarize and cite your papers. Moreover, QuillBot has a web interface as well as Google Docs and Chrome extensions.
- Other academic writing tools like a summarizer, grammar checker, and paraphrasing tool
- Extensions available
- Sharing capability
- Word processor
JabRef is an advanced reference manager that facilitates the grouping of entries based on both keywords and general search terms. It includes a cite-as-you-write function and can manage extensive reference and correspondence files quickly. The resource supports BibTex and can locate such entries from external databases, unlike many other popular citation tools. Furthermore, files of various formats can be downloaded and a Firefox add-on allows information to be directly imported from the browser. In addition, notes can be stored in a separate field or linked to documents in BibTex using file tabs.
- Citation key generation
- Customization of generated citations
- Autocomplete capability
- Reference management
This is one of the less popular citation tools but still worth a mention. Docear is an open-source academic literature management and free online bibliography and citation tool with lots of interesting features. Docear has a simple layout and is available for different operating systems like Windows, Mac, and Linux. This tool supports annotation of sources thus making it easier to manage your references. Additionally, it as an MS Word add-in.
- Recommender to offer suggestions
- Capture metadata
- Available in multiple languages
- Online back-up
- Mobile version
- Sync multiple devices and real-time collaboration
15. Easy Cite
Easy Cite is one of the most basic but still popular citation tools on the web. It lets you look up referencing tips and citations in a selection of common styles used in the academic sphere. The styles included are Harvard, AGLC4, APA, Chicago A: footnotes and bibliography, Chicago B: author-date, IEEE, and Vancouver. This citation generator works but you should proceed with caution by editing the references generated before submitting your work.
- Wide variety of source types
- Sufficient availability of the commonly used citation styles
- Provides style manual