Using Zotero to Manage Research and Citations

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Zotero Quick Start Guide

What's Zotero?

Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It lives right where you do your work — in the web browser itself.  You must use the Firefox browser in order to use Zotero!

Installing Zotero

Download the Firefox plug-in: It's easy and free! Open Firefox, go to, and click the big red 'Download' button. Click the 'Allow'button in the top right, then 'Install Now' and restart Firefox when prompted.  If you are using a machine on campus, click My Computer - > Y: Classes -> Click 'Zotero'

Add Zotero to Word

Visit the page on Word Integration and follow the instructions to install the Mac or Windows plugin. This will add a Zotero toolbar to MS Word.




The Zotero Pane

In the bottom right corner of your Firefox window you'll see a Zotero button. Click it to view or hide your "library" of saved citations. Zotero continues to run whether or not you are viewing your library. Your library will be available whenever you are logged into Zotero, no matter what computer you are using.

Saving Citations

Zotero "watches" the pages you view to see if any of them contain citations to books, articles or other sources.

If Zotero detects that you're looking at a book or article on a catalog, database, or a site like, LibraryThing or the New York Times, you'll see a book or page icon appear in the address bar of your browser. Just click the icon and Zotero will automatically save the citation.


Saving multiple citations at once

If you're on a page of search results with many items, you'll see a folder icon instead. Click this to get a list of all the items on the page, and check off the ones you want to save.  This may be helpful when looking through a set of results in a database.


Citing other web pages

Zotero can't automatically capture citation info from regular web pages, but you can still add them to your Zotero library. To save a citation to a web page:

  • Open your library by clicking the Zotero button

  • Click the "Create new item" button to save the citation.

  • Zotero automatically attaches a "snapshot" of the page to the citation.



A snapshot is a copy of the page saved to your computer. It includes the page's text and images, so if the page is removed later, or if you're offline, you'll still be able to view your copy.



Writing with Zotero and Word

Place your cursor in your Word file exactly where you want the citation to appear. Click the Add-ins menu tab in Word 2007 to get to the Zotero toolbar. The first button on the toolbar is the Insert Citation button.

To add a citation, click the first button ("Insert Citation") on the toolbar. Select the reference you want to cite and click OK. Zotero will add the citation at your cursor.

At the end of your paper, click the third button ("Insert Bibliography"). Your bibliography will appear, and new citations will be added automatically. Change bibliographic styles with the last button on the toolbar ("Set Doc Prefs").


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 Sync your library

If you're regularly using more than one computer in your research, Zotero's sync feature can keep your library up to date on all of them. Zotero can store a copy of your library on the server and check it for updates whenever you open your library on a different computer. All your computers must be running the same version Zotero and be configured to sync to the server.


First, set up a (free, of course) user account.

Open Zotero preferences (via the gear menu) and select the Sync tab. Enter your Zotero user name and password. Check the "sync automatically" box. Zotero will upload your library to the server.



Repeat this configuration on each of your computers. Any updates you make on one of your computers will be reflected on the others. This even works to synchronize your library among Windows, Mac and Linux computers.




For more details and help troubleshooting sync problems, check


Stuck? Ask a librarian!

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Phone: 248-6292 or 248-6271