What are citation keys and how can they be used?


In the Cite menu is the option to copy a citation key for a reference or set of references. It copies a string to the clipboard. Of what use is this? I can paste the text into a document, but can this later be turned into an active citation link? I assumed this was for pasting into a document, but it seems to be only text and has no link to my library. Am I missing something?


The citation key is used alongside a BibTeX file by people writing in LaTeX and similar environments. The keys are placed in \cite commands which are converted to the correctly formatted citation when the document is compiled. They also make it possible to write your paper in any text editor before compiling it.

The citations keys will do nothing in a Google Docs where we do not check for them.