25 Best Free Reference Managing Software and Citation Tools for Automatic Referencing

Free Reference Managing Software and Citation Tools

If you are a researcher and going to write a research article, then it would be best for you to have an understanding of the reference management software and citation tools available to you online

I noticed that if you are not familiar with these online tools, then it will be quite a difficult and time-consuming task to write or handle citations as well as references in your document individually

It is our intention in this article to discuss the top 25 reference managing software and citation tools available for your research. We hope that after reading this article you will become familiar with these tools and be able to use them effectively during your research.

If you encounter any difficulties with your scientific writing or research, please do not hesitate to contact us by email

Reference managing software and citation tools are the online sources that help you build a reference list or bibliography at the end of your research paper, thesis, or any document.

Suppose you are writing an essay or a thesis and you have a lot of different references in your bibliography, but you are not sure how to format it and the manual referencing format style you wish to add to your research paper or thesis is a very tedious and time-consuming practice.

These reference managing software or tools allow researchers to communicate and articulate the citation work specified in their papers and also known as citation management tools, software that can create relevant citation style you want to add in your documents and research paper, etc. (e.g. MLA, APA, etc.).

Additionally, Reference managing software can automatically creating bibliographies, or footnotes, or reference sections in research papers and can edit personal libraries, or manage access to an external reference source from any web sources and literature database.

The following tools and online software can help you in managing your reference resources and organize citations according to any format you wish to follow.

List of 25 Best Free Reference Managing Software and Citation Tools

1. BibDesk

BibDesk was developing as an open-source reference managing software and is for macOS users to manage bibliography and references when writing an essay, articles, and thesis.

It can be used to organize and maintain a library in PDF and another format to organize and manage your bibliography. It will track your bibliography and related files or web links for you and will make it easier to use your bibliography in other applications and are especially suitable for LATEX users.

2. BibSonomy

BibSonomy is a free browser plugin and reference managing software supported by the collaboration of university researchers for research purposes and provides the BibSonomy database in the form of dumping SQL for those who are interested and need to register before accessing this database.

It is also used for public bookmarks and publishing sharing programs to integrate features of bookmarking programs and team-oriented publications management

3. Citationsy

Citationsy is an excellent tool and Reference managing software that helps in the collection of bibliography and creates a list of those people who value simplicity, privacy, and speed. Citationsy lives in the clouds and is accessible from and we do not sell or provide your personal information to anyone so don’t worry about data loss. Your data is store in the cloud and backed up every 10 minutes.

This tool is accessible to your iPhone, android apps and you can also add chrome and firefox extensions to the cited website.

4. Citavi

Citavi can be freely downloaded from the website and is a program for reference management in Microsoft Windows published by the Swiss Academic Software in Wädenswil, Switzerland.

It includes the management of the bibliography and establishes 35 reference types for common sources such as books, articles, lectures, audio or video documents, etc. by using online searches on thousands of archived resources from database around the world, creates an outline, analyzes texts, store quotes, and ideas, creates a draft and writes reports, articles, or letters faster than you thought possible. Citavi is accessible and add-ons for Mozilla Firefox, Internet browsers, Internet Explorer, and Google Chrome

5. Cite This for Me

Cite This For Me is one of the most popular citation tools with the aim of helping students creating p[efrect referencing list in less time. Cite This For Me has helped millions of users around the world including the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and more. In addition to the reasons mentioned above, quoting sources in education provides evidence of your research process and helps you to avoid plagiarism.

In Cite This For Me, you can choose from a list of 30+ sources and cite from a website, a book, a video, an online photo, or something completely different source.

6. Cite4me.org

Cite4me.org is a free automatic Reference managing software and creator reference that supports MLA, APA, Harvard, ACS, ASA, APSA, Bluebook, IEEE, Chicago format and manage, bibliography, add Plagiarism Checker.

Cite4Me.org started as a student project on Information and the website attracted students and teachers who use this service to find a classroom environment and committed to maintaining the core functionality of Cite4Me.org for free.

7. Citeshare

Citeshare is one of the fastest citation tools for web articles and works with the goal of helping students with the completed assignment and you can use with chrome extension only supports APA or MLA style of referencing. But you should upload an online article to your browser and mention it by clicking on the extension. The chrome extension designed to identify and share reference articles.

For example, you can use an extension when you want to share a rating from an online article. It is not a nuisance to non-academics who want to quote it.

8. EasyBib.com

EasyBib is an online tool used for citation and referencing in research that is easy to use and informative. EasyBib is not only accurate, fast, and comprehensive, but it helps teachers to teach and students learn how to be successful and become systematic researchers.

EasyBib offers a different version of the referencing style like MLA, APA, Chicago and most of these styles powered by CSL and Citation Styles Language from CitationStyles.org, licensed under the CC-BY-SA license.

9. EndNote

EndNote is a commercial software package used as Reference managing software, bibliographies, and citation tools when writing essays, reports, and articles. In spite of paid version, there is also a free online version of EndNote available. It is currently developed by the Clarivate Analytics Software program which is available at a discount to purchase for faculty, staff, and students of Wayne State University.

It used to store and edit citation information with word processor software such as Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, OpenOffice, Mathematics, and more, to create and manage bibliographies in your favorite style when writing research papers.

9. EndNote

F1000Workspace is a platform to assist biological and medical researchers in finding and compiling literature, managing indexes, and editing manuscripts, applications, posters, lectures, etc. It is a web-based application, a browser extension, and a powerful Microsoft Word plugin, and a lightweight desktop application for importing reference from different Reference managing software or tools like EndNote, RefWorks, Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, etc. or from PDFs from your computer

A Microsoft Word plugin of F1000Workspace allows you easily add a citation, search new references and get smart citation recommendations and manage indexes easily import your existing reference and compile new ones using the F1000 browser button.

11. Formatically

Use citation can be tedious work, but formatically is an online quick reference managing software or citation manager tools and based on advanced technology and provide two gears, first is to introduce a good interface and make the whole process faster and has a manual citation wizard, but if you try to finish the paper in a hurry, you will choose the default automatic tool.

It states that it can help you build your entire list of references in less than 11 seconds and supports different styles like MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard book quotes, websites, audio, video, works of art, dictionary entries, and more. This umbrella with the full range of content you find online is a key benefit for Instant Citation Manager.

12. JabRef

JabRef is an open-source citation platform and free Reference managing software. It uses BibTeX and BibLaTeX as its traditional formats and is thus used for LaTeX.

It is an excellent BibTeX file editor that allows you to perform several actions when dealing with such data, retrieve and link full-text articles, download complete bibliographic details based on ISBN, DOI, PubMed-ID, and arXiv-ID, Import new reference from the web browser with a single click using the official browser extension

13. Mendeley

Mendeley is a free reference manager that can help you save, organize, monitor, share and cite references and research data.

Mendeley is a tool provided by London, UK based company for academic research and services.

It is best known for its reference manager used to manage and share research papers and automatically produce bibliographies of scholarly articles and easily share with other researchers online, Import papers easily from other research software and find relevant papers based on what you read, Mendeley can easily access your pages from anywhere from online sources and can be used as plugins for Word, LibreOffice, and BibTeX and cover thousands of citation styles you c wish to create for your document.

14. MyBib

MyBib is a free bibliography and citation generator that makes accurate citations for you to copy directly into your assignments, thesis, and research papers. It helps to automatically create bibliographies, references, and citations in APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, and more style.

15. Paperpile

Paperpile is an online Reference managing software used for referencing and used as an add-on extension in Google chrome, which the combination of storage like Google Docs and web search engine like Google Scholar.

It was launched in 2012 by three computer scientists (Stefan, Greg, and Andreas) with the purpose to facilitate the flow of work in collecting, managing, and writing research papers.

16. Qiqqa

Qiqqa is a free Reference managing software that allows researchers to work with thousands of PDFs and integrates PDF index management tools, a citation manager, and a mind mapping tool.

Using Qiqqa you can create bibliographies and format references from different sources within Microsoft Word by interacting with your Qiqqa library and working on your document, Qiqqa will automatically recommend a reference from your library that you would like to mention within your worksheet on your Windows tablet, laptop, and netbook.

17. ReadCube Papers

ReadCube papers is an award-winning Reference managing software, that will improve online access, to edit, read, cite and share academic research.

ReadCube papers software developed with the aim of making the research world more accessible and connected to serving researchers, publishers, educational and commercial organizations.

ReadCube Papers, any access and publishers services and are currently available as a web-based platform (Web App) and for iOS, Android mobile applications and a real free desktop app were available.

ReadCube Papers is a powerful source of citation management and detection tools that can greatly improve the way researchers find, access, organize, read, explain, share, and cite the research records.

18. Refbase

Refbase is an institutional software source and Reference managing software commonly used for archiving and importing, exporting data in a variety of ways including BibTeX, Endnote, RIS, PubMed, ISI WoS, Refwork, CSA Illumina, MODS XML, MS Word, and OpenOffice.

It can create a formatted list of quotes in HTML, RTF, PDF, or LaTeX, and provide a powerful search as well as RSS support. Its OpenSearch and SRU/W web services, and unAPI &COinS metadata support allow easy access by customers and search engines.

19. RefWorks

RefWorks is an online referencing and citation manager tool that allows you to build your own database by importing references from different text files or from any online sources.

You can use these guides to write papers and automatically format the paper and add a bibliography in seconds. RefWorks is a software-based trading management software package developed by Ex Libris, a ProQuest company and founded in 2001 by Cambridge Scientific Abstracts from 2002 until acquired by ProQuest in 2008

20. Sciwheel

Sciwheel is an online reference managing software and freely accessible to students, faculty, and staff, etc. or for someone else who is interested in other book management software programs that are open to accessing and storing references directly from the web, including Google Scholar and PubMed and an accurate way to access, read, explain, write and share high-tech intelligence to easily save and arrange reference with powerful browser extension form a web link, complete writing data, and PDF, etc.

You can import references from textual information using Sciwheel and use the Word plugin to enable certain style quotes in your text.

21. Sorc’d

Sorc’d is more than a citation generator and reference managing software it also helps to manage data by saving, editing, remembering, and sharing important pieces of information. It features an award-winning program that adds captions to relevant content you found online with a single click and provides an easy way to organize, remember and retrieve captions for related content.

Sorc’d office requires IE 10 and above and works with Office 2013 or higher including 365 Office provides an easy way to add relevant captions and source links with a single click create better content, faster professionals and topic topics to create a repository of the most important information shared by peers and managers.


Wikindx is a free bibliographic management and citation tool that falls into the category of reference management software developed for academics and used by individuals and major research institutes around the world and accepts the authority of the article (Virtual Research Environment) designed or used single (variety of applications) or multi-user interaction across the Internet and developed by archive manager that keeps searchable indexes, notes, files, quotes, comments, and more.

WIKINDX plugins include citation style editor, import/export of bibliographies like BibTeX, Endnote, RIS, etc and supports multiple attachments per reference, multilingual localization, and use template program allowing users to visually integrate WIKINDX into their sites.

WIKINDX works on a web server that provides you with your own research team and global access from any device. You are managing your database and become the owner of your data.

23. Wizdom.ai

Wizdom.ai is an online tool based on AI technology that helps to quickly explore the research space to provide better background ideas for research to find a new and better solution.

It is the result of extensive R&D by our team of data scientists, programmers, analysts, designers, quality engineers, product managers, and process managers and collecting references from around 100 million papers from top publishers and also supports hundreds of publisher websites including Taylor & Francis, cross reef, PubMed, Google Scholar, ArXiv, and IEEE, etc and cite them and generate a bibliography in more than 7,000 citation style in Google Docs.

24. Zenreader

Zenreader is the fastest online tool that helps you manage your references, creates a citation, extracts text, images, and more as captions, and captures your thoughts and ideas as you read by import PDFs and web pages.

Zenreader is a desktop software or tool used by students, researchers, and professionals to gather, organize and integrate information to produce good work in less time. It is used to quickly build a body of information and create tags and add them to captions so that everything is automatically accessible and edited

25. Zotero

Zotero is a free and easy to tool and open reference managing software for managing bibliographic data and related research. It enables you to compile, edit, quote, and share research and build references and bibliographies of any text within Word, LibreOffice, and Google Docs. With the support of over 9,000 citation styles, you can format your work to match any style guide or publication.

Wrapping Up

This is all about this article and hopes these reference and citation tools help you in your referencing management during the course of your scientific writing and make your document more effective before publication, In addition, you will be able to save yourself a great deal of time by not having to manually reference each document

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General FAQ related to reference managing software and citation tools

Q 1. What is the use of reference Software?

It is used to collect and edit the reference, add citation and format references with the required reference style, etc.

Q 2. Top free software cum tools for reference management?

There is so much free software for referencing, but the top used are EndNote, Mendeley, ReadCube Papers, EasyBib, Zotero, Sciwheel, and RefWorks are some free and high-quality reference managing software.

Q 3. Who can uses reference managing software?

Everyone including a teacher, student, researcher, or another person with an interest in book format and journal publication can use reference management software to collect and monitor the resources used in his/her academic writing.

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