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A simple guide to the citation management tool, Zotero.

This is a guide for Zotero beginners. Ready to jump right in? Go to

What is Zotero?

Zotero is a free research tool that lets you...

  • Save and organize references.
  • Insert in-text citations while typing your papers.
  • Generate a reference lists and bibliographies automatically.

Quick Start: 5 Steps in 5 Minutes

New to Zotero? This guide can get you started using the tool on your personal device. For more in-depth instruction and advanced tips, use the tabs on the left-hand side of the page.


1. Create a Zotero account

To get started, create a personal Zotero account and log in to the Zotero website


2. Install Zotero and Zotero Connector

Using Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, go to the Zotero Downloads page and download Zotero 5.0 for your operating system (i.e., Windows, Mac, or Linux). After Zotero 5.0 is installed on your device, open the desktop app and click "Set up syncing." Log in using your personal Zotero account.

Then, using Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, install the Zotero Connector on the web browser from the Zotero Downloads page. This add-on or extension will allow you to save sources directly from your browser with a single click of a button. If you need more assistance, check the Zotero Installation Support page. 

You are now ready to start saving sources to your Zotero Library!


3. Save an article to Zotero

When you find a resource you would like to save, click on the Zotero Connector button that has been added to your browser. The button will change in appearance depending on the type resource you are trying to save, but it will always be in the same location.

Here are some examples of the different Connector buttons you might see: 


4. View an Item in your Zotero Library

After saving, you will be able to view the saved item in the Zotero desktop app. The saved source displays in the middle of the screen. When you click on it, you will see item information displayed on the right. All items automatically save to "My Library", but you can organize them into different collections (folders).



5. Create a bibliography

You can create citations for single sources or multiple sources at the same time. For a single article, right-click on the article you want to cite and select "Create Bibliography from Item".

For multiple items, either ctrl+right-click on the individual sources you need, or right click on the entire collection on the left-hand side of the page.

Once you make your selection, another window will pop up asking you about the format that you would like for the bibliography. Here, you will want to select the correct citation style that you will be using, as well as the output format.

When choosing the output method, the easiest method may be to choose "Copy to Clipboard". This copies the bibliography to your computer's clipboard and allows you to paste it into any word processor. Another good option is to "Save as RTF", which stores the bibliography as .rtf file which can be opened by any word processor (e.g. Microsoft Word).