Citavi is a program for reference management and knowledge organization for Microsoft Windows published by Swiss Academic Software in  Wädenswil, Switzerland. The referencing tool is quite popular in the European Universities and almost 300 universities around the world have opted for site licences.


Citavi’s core features are reference management, knowledge organization, and task planning. Citavi’s integrated quick help in context is backed up by online help tools including an online manual, an email tutorial, videos, an actively managed user forum and, for users with a license, personal support.

Reference management

  • Management of 35 reference types for common sources like books, articles, lectures, audio or video documents, etc.
  • Online search in thousands of databases (among others, in PubMed, Web of Science, etc.) and library catalogs, support of the COinS method to grab bibliographic information from publisher websites and subscription to RSS feeds from within Citavi.
  • The Citavi Picker add ons for Internet browsers Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Google Chrome recognize ISBN numbers, DOI names, PubMed identifier, PubMed Central ID and arXiv id on web pages, the corresponding titles can be imported into Citavi with a click. Web pages can be imported as a reference and transformed into a PDF document to save the content of the page. The Citavi Picker for Adobe Acrobat and Acrobat Reader can import PDF documents, bibliographical information is automatically added if available.
  • PDF documents can be annotated directly in Citavi. Their full text is included in the Citavi search if extractable.
  • Citavi integrates with various word processors.
    • Citavi’s add in for Microsoft Word permits to insert citations and quotations from Citavi into Word without leaving the word processor. The bibliography is created automatically.
    • Several LaTeX editors can be used to directly insert quotations and configurable cite commandsper keyboard shortcut.
    • In OpenOffice and LibreOffice Writer, and any other program that can process files in RTF (i.e.Scrivener) placeholders are inserted into the text, with subsequent formatting in one of the included citation styles. [only up to version Citavi 5]
  • Publishing in all common citation styles. Over 9,300 citation styles are available (6 August 2018). Registered users can request styles for scientific journals for free. Citavi’s citation style editor supports programmable components and templates, an advanced style finder is available to search with style features to find a fitting style.

Knowledge organization

  • Citavi can extract text excerpts and images from documents as quotations, and organize them together with own ideas imported as “thoughts”. Quotations and thoughts can be copied into the word processor, citations are added automatically. There are five types of quotations and two further types of ideas for text and images.
  • When annotated in Citavi, quotations and comments in PDF documents are linked to the exact position in the PDF document.
  • Citations, quotations and ideas can be categorized in Citavi to reflect the structure in chapters of the final publication, making it possible to outline the paper before beginning the actual writing process.

Task planner

  • Citavi includes a task planner for scheduling tasks and project milestones to organize deadlines like lending periods for books. Tasks like “Discuss” or “Examine” can be linked to specific parts in PDF documents.
  • In Cloud and DBServer projects it is possible to assign tasks to other team members.


Citavi can export data in different formats to other reference management programs, and Citavi can import references from other reference management programs, either directly, as from EndNote or BibTeX, or with an import filter or via a RIS export file, as from Mendeley, ProCite, Reference Manager, RefMe, RefWorks, Zotero, and others.