Zotero is a free research manager which helps you collect, organize, and manage your sources. This application works with Google Chrome, FireFox, & Safari web browsers, and integrates with word processing programs such as MS Word & Google Docs. Zotero facilitates quick in-text citing, and one-click generation of references according to a multitude of styles including APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian, & journal-specific.
Creating an account on Zotero's website allows you to sync your collections to a central point (300MB free) from multiple computers (such as work & home). It also allows you to create groups.
Minimum operating system requirements for Zotero version 5.x:
macOS 10.9 or later
Windows XP SP2 or later
The following steps will walk you through how to install Zotero on your browser.
Save documents & close all programs other than web browser before proceeding
Rationale: In order to finish the installation. Zotero may need to reboot your computer.
Rationale: The Zotero Connector which allows downloading information from the browser into
Zotero only works with these versions of the browser:
Chrome: Version 55 or higher
FireFox: Version 52 or higher
Once you have opened Firefox, you need to check that it is version 52 or higher. To do this, go to
the menu heading Help, and select "About Firefox" (see screen shot below). If it says you have a
lower-numbered version, Mozilla will automatically download & install the latest version of FireFox.
Once you have opened Chrome, you need to check that it is version 55 or higher. To do this,
go to the upper-right corner and click on three dots (see screen shot below), highlight Help, and select
"About Google Chrome". If it says you have a lower-numbered version, Google will automatically
download & install the latest version of Chrome.
Once you have the latest version of your browser, open it, download Zotero and install the program. The
download interface automatically recognizes your specific browser and operating system and provides
the appropriate choice.
If you receive a message preventing this site (www.zotero.org) from installing software on your computer,
click on the Allow button.
Proceed through the Setup Wizard. When asked about Setup Type (screen below), we recommend choosing Standard. You will be able to customize it later.
Once installed you will be prompted to Reboot your computer (see below).
After you click on Finish, your computer will reboot.
This plugin allows you to create a bibliography, in-text citations, and footnotes or endnotes from within word processing software.
Note that Zotero version 5.x automatically installs the plugin for Microsoft Word.
Open Microsoft Word, and click on the Zotero tab to display tools:
Using Google Docs? No plugin required. Click here for Zotero support documentation.
Using LibreOffice? Click here for plugin.
You do not need to register your Zotero account but you may want to do this at a later date as there are a
number of advantages including the ability to sync your citations to the Zotero site, allowing you to
access them from any computer at any time.
Zotero is a free Web application developed for Firefox, Chrome, & Safari web browsers that allows you to quickly cite in-text and format references in a multitude of styles (APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian, etc.). Zotero allows you to collect, manage, cite, and share references you've collected for your research.
This guide will walk you through modifying the Preferences tabs screens to configure Zotero.
Important: This guide is intended for users who have just installed Zotero for the first time.
If you already have entries loaded into a past Zotero installation, we recommend you backup your Zotero folder before proceeding, and then after completing customizing, copy your old Zotero folder to a new location on either the Desktop or in Documents.
Please connect to the Internet while configuring Zotero.
If you have not yet downloaded and installed Zotero, please see the Library's Installing Zotero guide for directions with screen shots.
Please Skip this step if your Zotero already contains entries!
You need to decide where to save your Zotero files & retrieved articles. We highly recommend saving to either Documents, or to the Desktop (makes it much easier when migrating to a new computer or quickly backing up), so the first step is to create a New folder in that place & name it: Zotero To access the Preferences settings, open Zotero, then click on the Edit menu choice, and select Preferences:
Advanced tab -- Files and Folders sub-tab
Under Data Directory Location, click on the Choose button and select the newly-created Zotero folder which appears on your Desktop.
Zotero will add the information to the screen similar to above, but with your username.
You will be prompted that it must re-start Zotero.
On the General tab you may adjust the User Interface Layout, Font size, & Note font size (recommendations below).
A new feature in Version 5.0 is selecting the Layout (red outline below):
Standard Layout displays a selected entry on the right side of the list of items.
Stacked Layout displays a selected entry underneath the list of items.
All boxes are checked by default.
New to version 5.0.36 are changes to indexing PDFs, which is now automatic--no separate installer needed.
Only use if you plan on creating an account & using storage on Zotero server for yourself or group work.
Sync is also beneficial if you are using multiple computers (e.g., work & home) to manage sources.
Enter the username & password used when you created account on Zotero web site.
Note that Sync does not replace making regular backups of your local Zotero files, and cannot be used to restore your Zotero files if your hard drive is damaged or requires re-imaging
PDF Indexing is a feature which allows you to drag-and-drop previously downloaded pdf files into Zotero, and then have it search for metadata on that file & create an entry for you.
As Zotero facilitates creating your own "library" of sources, enabling PDF Indexing will include those sources when searching within Zotero.
Beginning with Zotero version 5.0.36, this screen shows indexing statistics.
This is another area where you should set the Default style you will use. Note that you may always change the default. Under the Default Output Format, click on the drop arrow to change style.
There are over 9,000 citation styles available for Zotero including many styles based on individual journal titles. Zotero only comes configured with the more popular styles but you may add any of the other styles while inside of Zotero.
After clicking on the Cite tab, click on the Styles sub-tab.
Next, locate the style from the list & click on it to select.If you do not see your specific style, click on the Get additional styles... link (see screen shot below) which will open the Zotero Style Repository, and search for your style. Left-click on the style name to select, which will then load that template into Zotero.
Citation Options - Real important especially for APA, MLA, & Chicago styles
Check the box next to the label: Include URLs of paper articles in references.
It is highly recommended using the classic insert citation interface. So on the Word Processors sub-tab,
check the box next to the label: Use classic Add Citation dialog
Important: You MUST click the ok button to save all changes.
You are now ready to use Zotero. The Videos below will show you how to use the key features of this program.
The following videos will take you through the process of importing citations into your Zotero databases, manually creating an entry in Zotero, organizing your citations by collection, and using the MS Word feature to format citations in your research paper. The first two videos have some overlap. However, it is helpful to see how to import citations more than once. Also, the second video goes into more details.
As with most things, Zotero is not perfect. Always check your citations for accuracy. Zotero will not correct data or capitalized titles for instance. Be sure to check the data for each citation. You can always edit the citations in Zotero.
- Quick Bibliographic Demo (3:50) - A quick overview of importing citations from Websites or databases
- Getting Stuff Into Zotero (4:03) - A more detailed presentation on importing citations into Zotero.
- Manually Adding Items (3:05) - Shows you how to manually create a database entry
- Organizing Your Sources (3:07) - Shows you how to create folders to manage your citations.
- Zotero and Microsoft Word (2:55) - Shows you how to use the Zotero plugin with MS Word to create footnotes, endnotes, in-text citations, and bibliographies. There is also a helpful User Guide for the word processsor plugin.
Additional videos can be viewed at the Zotero Screencast Tutorials page.