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Citations don't work when exported

Hello! I just started up on Zettlr to try it out. I've come across an issue where the references I imported from Zotero work great in Zettlr itself, but when I export to a pdf or a Word doc, it just lists the Citekey at the beginning of the doc, with a question mark and wrapped in brackets (see screenshots). Any idea why this is happening and what I can do about it?



  • Mhh … have you exported it using CSL-JSON or BibTex? And then, if you open the logs, are there any indications that Pandoc wasn't happy about the library? (Logs: Activate "debug" in the Advanced Preferences and then in the newly appearing Develop-menu click "Open Logs". You have to export something before anything might turn up!)

  • I'm using CSL JSON

    Thanks so much for your other comment. Having followed your instructions, I see the following errors it encountered but I'm not sure how to interpret it:

  • Ouh, your citation database is not even part of the pandoc command, so it doesn't find the citations. Try to reset that command by going into the preferences -> Advanced -> reset Pandoc command. That should fix this. If not, feel free to come back to me!

  • Yess, works now! Thanks so much Henrik!

  • I've just uploaded my custom citation style (one which works meets the academic requirements of the Society for Biblical Literature [SBL]), and boy do I now love this programme. I think I may already be a convert. Zettlr rocks!

  • hey, can I just add another problem I encountered: I had no issues exporting to word, but then could not alter the citations in word anymore - is that how its supposed to work? In my workflow case, I had to re-create all (!) citations manually in word :(

    or am I (hopefully) missing something?

    (using json)

  • I had no issues exporting to word, but then could not alter the citations in word anymore - is that how its supposed to work?

    Yes, that's supposed to happen. If you need to change the citations later on in Word, don't. The idea is to perform ALL text work in Markdown, and in the resultant Word file ONLY change the layout and styling. What did you want to do with the citations in Word? Why did you see the need to alter them?

  • I strongly support @hendrik here but if you really need live citations in Word, there's a pandoc workflow for that. It needs some extra work and I haven't tried it yet.

    Follow this guide:

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