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Zotero and Mendeley reference extractor

Reference Extractor is a free online tool to extract Zotero and Mendeley references from Microsoft Word and LibreOffice documents. References must have been inserted with the Zotero or Mendeley word processor plugins and must not have been converted to plain text.

Reference extractor allows you to:

  • Extract Zotero and Mendeley references and save them to CSL JSON, BibTeX, or RIS format, or as a rendered bibliography in APA style.

Scenario 1: You lost your Zotero/Mendeley library but still have your documents. Extraction allows you to recover the items you cited in your documents and import them back into your reference manager. Note that imported items won’t be linked to the items in the document you extracted them from.

Scenario 2: Somebody sent you a document and you would like to get the cited items into your own reference manager library.

  • Select the original cited items in your existing Zotero libraries [only available for Zotero]. Once items are selected in Zotero, you can drag the items into a new collection or apply a tag.

Scenario: You wish to create a collection for the items you’ve cited in a manuscript


  • Count the number of times each item has been cited.

Tips for use

Once you have successfully extracted the references from a document, the output, as CSL JSON, BibTeX, RIS, or formatted APA bibliography, can be either downloaded or copied to the clipboard.

To import a downloaded CSL JSON, BibTeX, or RIS file into Zotero, open Zotero’s File menu, select “Import…” and select the downloaded output file. Or, if you used the “Copy to clipboard” button of this tool, select “Import from Clipboard”.

The format with highest fidelity is CSL JSON, as this is the format used by Zotero and Mendeley to embed item metadata in word processor documents. All other output formats involve a format conversion. If you discover issues with the BibTeX or RIS output formats, but need a format other than CSL JSON, try importing the CSL JSON file into Zotero, and then use Zotero to convert the references to the desired output format.

You can find the tool in this link

The tool runs entirely on your own computer, keeping your documents and citations private and secure.