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What is Zotero?

Zotero is a free, open-source citation manager…which means that using it to organize your research and sources can save you lots of time, stress, and money.

Zotero can generate citations in many different styles, including  MLA, Chicago, APA, CSE, and many more.

There are even Zotero add-ons for Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and LibreOffice so you can easily insert citations as you write!

Check out Zotero’s documentation for in-depth information on each element of Zotero.

Getting started

Create an account

  1. Fill out the form on this page.
  2. Verify your email address.

Download Zotero

  1. Go to Zotero’s website and download the correct program for your laptop’s operating system. Zotero works on Mac, Linux, and Windows. It doesn’t work very well on Chromebooks but you can check out this page for more info on installing Zotero on your Chromebook.
  2. After installing Zotero, head back to the downloads page and install the Zotero browser connector of your choice. It works very well with Google Chrome. The connector is what allows you to easily save stuff from your browser into Zotero, so don’t skip this step! Learn how to set up the connector below.

Set up Zotero Connector

  1. Head to the Zotero downloads page and select “Install Connector” for your browser of choice. Zotero works best with Chrome but is also compatible with Firefox, Edge, and Safari.

Google Chrome

  • Right-click the Zotero connector button after adding it to Google Chrome.
  • Select Options.
  • Click Authorize from General>Save to Zotero.org.
  • Enter your account information.
  • Click Accept Defaults from the next page.

Firefox

  • Right-click the Zotero connector button after adding it to Firefox.
  • Select Preferences.
  • Click Authorize from General>Save to Zotero.org.
  • Enter your account information.
  • Click Accept Defaults from the next page.

Sync

You want to make sure that Zotero syncs so that you can access your Zotero library from multiple devices.

  1. Open Zotero on your computer (the program you downloaded above).
  2. Navigate to the Zotero preferences menu (Windows: click Edit and then Preferences; Mac: click Zotero and then Preferences).
  3. Click Sync and enter the login information for your Zotero account. Click Set up Syncing.
  4. Click the green Sync arrow in the top right corner of your Zotero library to sync between devices.

Adding items to your Zotero library

Adding items automatically

This is the easiest and most common way to save items to your Zotero library.

  1. Make sure you have your Zotero library open on your computer.
  2. To save something, click the Zotero connector button in your browser.
  3. Navigate to your Zotero library and click the green Sync button. The item should appear in your library.

 Adding items manually

This method is less common but can be useful for saving items that may not be found online.

  1. Click the green New Item button from your Zotero library.
  2. Enter metadata about the item (right side of library) and add any desired attachments.

Organizing your Zotero library

Collections

Collections in Zotero function just like folders do on your computer or your Google Drive. They are an excellent tool to use to keep your sources organized. You can create collections for each class or even each research project.

Creating a collection

  1. Click the New Collection button from the top left of your Zotero library. It looks like a file folder with a green plus sign.
  2. Name your collection.
  3. To save items directly to a collection, you can click that folder in your Zotero library and then save items as you usually would.
    • Right after saving an item, you should see a small notification box at the top right of your browser showing you which folder the item is saved in. You can change folders from this notification box as well.

Tags

Tags allow you to organize items further. Perhaps you have multiple articles that are about World War II but they are for different research projects or classes. You could create a tag entitled “WWII” and add that to each applicable item. View your tags in the bottom left pane.

Citing

One of Zotero’s best features is its ability to generate citations for you in a wide variety of citation styles (full list of styles here). This is a huge timesaver, especially for large research projects such as Senior Seminar.

Select a citation style

  1. Select Preferences (Windows: Edit>Preferences; Mac: Zotero>Preferences) and click Cite.
  2. Browse through the list of citation styles and select the style needed.
    • If you don’t see the style you need, click Get additional styles. Zotero has 10,000+ citation styles available.
  3. Click OK.

Citing

Google Docs in-text citations

  1. Open your document and check for the Zotero menu. The Zotero connector should be installed in your browser to proceed. Go to https://www.zotero.org/download/ to install the connector if needed.
  2. To insert an in-text citation, select Add/edit citation from the Zotero menu.
    • Select a citation style from the document preferences window that pops up in Zotero.
  3. Search by title or author for the source you would like to cite using the red Zotero search bar that should appear in your document. Once found, press enter to add the citation.
  4. Click on the citation and then Edit with Zotero to edit or add any information necessary, such as a page number.

Google Docs bibliographies and works cited

  1. Insert a blank page at the end of your document.
  2. Select Add/edit bibliography from the Zotero menu. A bibliography will automatically generate based on your in-text citations.
  3. To edit any of your sources, click on the bibliography and then Edit with Zotero

You can change citation styles in Google Docs at any time by going to the Zotero menu and selecting Document preferences. Your citations will automatically update.

Microsoft Word in-text citations

  1. Select Add/Edit Citation from the Zotero menu at the top of your Word document.
    • Select a citation style from the document preferences window that pops up in Zotero.
  2. Search by title or author for the source you would like to cite using the red Zotero search bar that should appear in your document. Once found, press enter to add the citation.
  3. Click on the citation and then Add/Edit Citation to edit or add any information necessary, such as a page number.

Microsoft Word bibliographies and works cited

  1. Insert a blank page at the end of your document.
  2. Select Add/Edit Bibliography from the Zotero menu. A bibliography will automatically generate based on your in-text citations.
  3. To edit any of your sources, click on the bibliography and then Add/Edit Bibliography

You can change citation styles in Microsoft Word at any time by going to the Zotero menu and selecting Document preferences. Your citations will automatically update.

Manually creating a bibliography

You can use Zotero to easily generate bibliographies without using the Zotero plugins in Word , Google Docs, or LibreOffice.

  1. Open a document in your word processor of choice.
  2. In your Zotero library, select the sources you want to cite.
  3. Drag them to your document to automatically generate a bibliography.
    • If you want to change citation styles, edit your citation preferences in Zotero and then repeat the process above.

Schumacher, Karlyn

Access Services Librarian Lane Library Departments: Circulation, Interlibrary Loan, Course, Reserves

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