Using paperpile with Microsoft Word

Hi, I’m a new paperpile user and I would like to know if it is possible to use Paperpile together with Microsoft Word : is there an intelligent way of importing my bibliography and citing articles in a Word document ? (I am used to do this with Zotero…)
Thanks in advance


Hi Maria,

I’m new to Paperpile too, but I’m fairly sure that Paperpile is designed to integrate with the Google environment including Google Docs and Google Drive. In this context and working in a fairly unique way fully integrated with the Chrome browser my three days of experience say this is a brilliant product.

I haven’t looked at the Paperpile development pipeline, but my guess is that Word integration is either not on there or very low on the list.

[Correction] See this feature request “Support for Word Online would be a game changer”.

Good luck with your work.


@phytat is right in a sense that we focus on Google Docs and the Google Apps eco-system. Our goal is to provide the best possible experience here.

That said, we know that this eco-system is still a tiny a niche when it comes to academic writing. Fortunately, we don’t have many people leaving Paperpile but when they do the number one reason is “My colleagues don’t want to use Google Docs and I’m stuck with word”

That’s why we try to add Word support as discussed in this thread: Support for Word Online would be a game changer

At the moment it is not possible to directly cite references with Word in Paperpile. You can however export a Google Doc to Word “File Download as > Word”.

If there are any news we will definitely announce it. At the moment it depends on technical issues and how Microsoft moves forward with their new plugin system.

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Noticed the news in recent weeks of Microsoft’s new browser (Edge) and the extension-like capabilities. Plus lots of Office add-on related stuff.

I don’t think any of this stuff is released yet but are these the types of things that Paperpile could take advantage of? Is it capable of providing the same type of experience we currently get in Google?

Colleagues are extremely impressed when they see Paperpile in action however the main stumbling block with getting them to actually use it is the need for Google Docs.

Thanks, Martin

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We’ve been following the announcements very closely. It was a clear message where things are heading in terms of Office development. Things really look great and we’ve prioritized this now on our roadmap. So we might be able to offer Word integration much sooner than we ever expected.


Although not exactly what the original poster is talking about, I just had an incredible PaperPIle experience. A collaborator exported a Google Doc with paperPile references to Word and edited it and then e-mailed it to the co-authors. I was imagining headaches for days to reconcile all those citations. I experimented with opening the Word file in Google Docs, which is a normal practice, but I was impressed that all the PaperPIle references remained in the document and were instantly live. While this is not exactly paperPile Word integration, I was quite impressed that the PaperPile citations carrier from Google Docs to Word to Google Docs again.

That is actually more of a win for Microsoft Word. It seems that MS Word was smart enough to not touch the citation fields in the document. Thus, when re-uploaded, Paperpile could find all the reference fields as if nothing has happened.

That said, the single best thing that could happen with Paperpile is that it has support for Word/Word online. It is severely limited until then - especially since in most European countries, data protection policies prevent uploading documents to a third-party service like Google Docs.

Actually this is no by chance but by design. We chose to encode our citation information as URLs which are roundtrip-safe.

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That’s great Stefan, but in your post from nine months ago it sounded like word integration was coming soon. Nine months on and still nothing. You guys seem to be having trouble prioritizing.

As I mentioned in my post it depends on the availability of the new plugin system from Microsoft. The have not moved forward with that and actually removed it again from Word for Mac 2016 after having it included in their beta version initially.

We try our best to prioritize but in that case we made the deliberate decision not to invest in legacy technology and rather wait for what Microsoft regards as the future of Office development. It has not materialized and we reconsider the situation now.

It’s not an ideal situation and I’m probably more frustrated about it than anyone else, but I don’t think that means we have trouble prioritizing.

Perhaps I’m not fully understanding your explanation, but Mendeley and Zotero both have word 2016 compatible plugins for Windows and for Mac. But from your explanation that seems surprising. How are they able to offer plugins while paperpile is somehow prevented from doing so?

Sorry, it’s a bit technical. I was talking about Microsoft’s new add-in system based on HTML, CSS and Javascript. Paperpile is written in HTML, CSS and JavaScript so the idea that we can simply port our Google Docs plugin to Word using the technology that we already use is very attractive. Also this add-in system works on all operating systems (also Android and iOS and the Web, not just Mac and Word).

It’s definitely possible to create a plugin with older technologies but that would mean big investments upfront and a maintenance burden in the long term (they need to be developed for Mac and Windows separately and use arcane programming languages from the past like Visual Basic).

So our decision to wait for the availability of this new add-in system seemed like the obvious thing to do last year. Now as it is still not available and even on Windows severly limited we regret the decision because it delayed this important feature.

I’m sorry for that. All I can say is that Word support is one of the highest priorities together with mobile Apps for us going forward.

Ok that makes more sense. Sorry. I didn’t catch that the first time through. Thanks for being so patient with me and for responding promptly. I wouldn’t be so insistent if Paperpile wasn’t such a superior product in every other respect.


I know the Word integration is a bit of a broken record now however I wanted to share with you some thoughts from the University of York.

We have just started our new academic year and myself and the other librarians are keen for new students and staff to experience the clear benefits of Paperpile, in our view, when compared to other reference management systems, however there is a tremendous unwillingness from students to use Google docs for individual written work.

Although we are a ‘Google institution’, Office 365 is now free to all our students, and is still extremely popular so getting them to use Paperpile is pretty much impossible!

Any update on your alpha plugin much appreciated.


That makes sense Martin. We are aware that thousands of people are waiting for Word support and it’s been priority for the past year.

There will be a blog post tomorrow where we ask for sign ups for the private beta. And we hope to get an early version to the first beta users by the end of the month.

We hope to be able to make a very streamlined beta phase getting this in shape for public use as soon as possible. The goal is that next semester every student has the choice between Google Docs and Word independent of whether they want to use Paperpile or not.

I still think using Google Docs makes a lot of sense though, especially for students…

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We are very close now and we’ve started taking sign-ups for the private beta. Please check out this blog post with details how to sign up:

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Any update?

Like Susan_Rubin and many others, I would love an update on both the Word support and the iOS app.

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We’ll let you know if there are news. iOS should be next and Word after that.


Really looking forward to use this masterpiece in word