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Guide to Zotero, a free citation management tool.

What Zotero Does

Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") helps you collect, manage, and cite research sources. It's easy to use, accessible within your web browser where you do your work, and best of all it's free! Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, notes, and images to your citations. It also allows you to organize them into collections for different projects, and create bibliographies using Word or OpenOffice.

To start using Zotero, follow these steps:

  1. Quit/Close Microsoft Word (if it's open)
  2. Go to and click the red  button 
  3. Download Zotero for Mac or Windows
  4. Install the Connector for Chrome, Firefox, or Safari
  5. Register for your online account at by clicking the blue "register" button in the top right corner
  6. Start Zotero on your desktop
  7. Link your online account:
           Mac: Zotero -- Preferences -- Sync
           PC: Edit -- Preferences -- Sync
  8. Open Microsoft Word and check for the Zotero tab - this should have installed automatically (If it didn't, you can go to Zotero -- Preferences -- Cite -- Word Processors -- Install Microsoft Word Add-in)


Now you're ready to start saving sources!

To use Zotero on your mobile device, see resources here

Zotero's sync feature can keep your library up to date on multiple computers.  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 of Zotero and be configured to sync to the server.

To synchronize data from different sources, you must first set up a user account.

Open Zotero Preferences (under Zotero, Tools, or Edit) and select the Sync tab.  Enter your Zotero username 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.

To back up your attached files past the 300mb limit, you may choose to purchase additional Zotero File Storage.

For more details, alternative syncing solutions, and help with troubleshooting sync problems, check the Zotero syncing help page.


We consulted several Zotero user guides, especially the following two:

    Georgia State University Librarian Jason Puckett's Zotero Guide
    University of Michigan Librarian Jacob Glenn's Zotero Guide

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