Reference Management Tools

7 Powerful Reference Management Tools to Ease Your Citation Woes

In academic writing, nothing is more annoying and frustrating than brainstorming, researching, organising, and citing your sources. Organising your research sources is as important as writing a well-structured and well-researched paper. But sadly, most students lack the skills to organise the sources effectively and create accurate bibliographies. Several reference management tools are available for dissertations, research papers and assignment help students track, store, and format references accurately.

Reference tools for academic papers help point to the evidence usually provided with the title, author name, location, and date combination. In addition, citations help in the following:

  • Giving the source its due credit
  • Sharing what one learns
  • Improving the credibility of a writer
  • Strengthening the points
  • Offering verification for work

So it’s understandable that managing and organizing references for academic documents is a real deal and (almost) takes a village to get it correct – especially if you’re doing it alone and lack the skills to do it manually.

Managing and storing your references and categorizing them correctly is no longer a challenge if you use online reference managers. The right web reference management software for you correctly track important sources and cite them.

Now, the question is, which are the best web tools for managing references for academic writing? Below, I have listed some good reference management tools widely preferred for tracking references and organising the sources properly to avoid unwarranted stress and unnecessary mark deductions.

So without further ado, let’s check the list of best web tools for references or bibliography lists. Keep in mind to bookmark the list after completing your reading.


1. Mendeley


Mendeley is a popular reference management tool a lot of students use for programming homework or essay papers. The tool helps users to organise the references and save them for later use. Further, the tool allows users to create an online library to add their references directly from the browsers or the system.

The tool is also helpful for users looking to insert references into Word files without downloading and installing the device. The best thing about the tool is that it opens as a separate panel, so you can work on it alongside your Word file and find, select, and insert citations as needed without leaving the tool. The software is compatible with Microsoft Word version 2016 and up, Microsoft Office 356, and Microsoft Word app for iPad.

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Mendeley has another tool named Mendeley Web Important, which allows users to import files directly into the reference library from search engines and databases. Other additional features by Mendeley include sharing references and PDF files with full text with other users, storing and organising references in a single place and collating the highlights, notes, and PDF files, among others.


  1. Zotero

Zotero is a free online reference management software for essay homework files to help students organise the references correctly. The tool allows users to save data from different sources such as newspapers, PDFs, websites, online journals, etc. Zotero effectively creates instant references and bibliographies inside Word files and Google Docs. The tool supports a wide range of citation styles and enables one to format their work following the standard guidelines of a particular style.

Zotero is integrated with Google Docs, Word, and LibreOffice and offers collaborative features like the user can co-work with colleagues, build and manage bibliographies accordingly while writing and share the same with others without limitations. The tool also has a built-in PDF reader to mark PDFs and extract citations and comments directly into the documents.


3. Cite This for Me


Cite This for Me is probably one of the most used online reference managers for its user-friendly interface. Plus, the tool is free and easily accessible for generating citations for multiple sources, both print and digital, for any academic paper. Users can also use the tool for all popular citation styles, including MLA, APA, Chicago, and others.

With this reference management software, users can fill out the citation information for references that are likely to be included in the document. Moreover, the tool is designed to automatically detect the reference information and fill out the reference forms. Once the list is complete, the user can export the file or copy-paste the details into the document.

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The tool offers a Chrome extension for generating automatic citations for the pages the user visits to gather research materials. A premium version is also available, allowing users to access several helpful features like plagiarism checks, direct downloads, and more.



4. RefWorks


RefWorks is the best tool for users looking to save various research materials from multiple sources, full texts from different web pages and unlimited references. The tool allows you to complete your reference list using ProQuest databases and organise your data using different tags and folders. You can also annotate the full-text documents with comments and highlights and sync data to third-party platforms.

The online reference manager also allows collaborative working and enables file sharing and folder sharing with collaborators and work simultaneously while adding comments and annotations in real-time. The tool is truly the best option for those looking to generate bibliographies and citations quickly with just a single click into the required document. In addition, the device has some pre-built citation formats and editors to enable users to create citations in their preferred style.


5. Citavi


Citavi is another widely used free citation and bibliography generator that allows users to generate formatted citations, bibliographies, and different works cited from multiple sources like blogs, ebooks, websites, print books, videos, images, journals, theses, movies, maps, dictionaries, reports, and many other sources.

The tool supports multiple citation styles and does not have any subscription fees. The user-friendly tool combines referencing with task management allowing users to search for sources, analyse data, format ideas and draft the paper. You can import PDF files, add books, and drop article files using ISBN.

The Citavi browser plugin is also available for importing quotations, web pages, and images to the library and annotating PDF files. Additionally, the tool allows the users to add tasks to the task manager and manage deadlines.

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  1. Endnote

EndNote offers users a range of features for saving and organising references. Some of the tool’s noteworthy features include the ability to annotate PDF files, create rules for organising references, insert in-text citations, matching documents with relevant journals while creating bibliographies.

The tool also has collaborative features to allow users to share their reference libraries with other collaborators and offer permission access. The device is compatible with multiple browsers and devices and allows users to gain access to it from anywhere while researching.


  1. Docear

Docear is another ideal reference management tool that enables users to manage and keep track of their references and PDFs. The tool integrates several unique features like reference management, note-taking, PDF management, and mind mapping. Furthermore, the tool is also a good composer of different research work and ideal for drafting new papers while including comments in PDF and Word files.

Even though Docear is a free and open source, the interface might be complex for many to understand. Thus, users are advised to study the user guide carefully before using the tool for managing and organising references.



The best option for a citation manager depends on one’s requirements. Hence, before you make your pick, ask yourself about your needs. Do you want a free tool? What’s the storage you need? Which are the MUST-have features? And so on. If you are looking for free versions, Zotero, Mendeley, Cite This for Me, and EndNote may be the ones for you. On the other hand, RefWorks will be a better pick if your university permits the paid version of a citation manager. Therefore, determine what your needs are and go with the best option.


Good luck!


Author Bio

Hailey Johnson has an MBA in Marketing and is associated with a top-tier MNC in Australia. She is also into teaching and offers customised MBA essay writing help through a popular online academic platform named. Besides work, Hailey is into good music, painting, and water sports.

Other Source: Technology

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