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Research Guides

Creating Citations From PDFs

To create a citation from a pdf follow these steps:

  1. open your file explorer to the folder containing your pdf.
  2. Drag and drop the PDF into an empty space in the middle column of Zotero.
  3. Right click the pdf in Zotero:
    • If the pdf is from an academic source, you can choose "Retrieve Metadata For PDF" to automatically pull the reference from Google Scholar:


If "Retrieve Metadata for PDF" doesn't work, or the PDF is from a primary source, scan, or other non-academic source, you can choose "Create Parent Item" instead. Then choose either "Manual Entry" to add the metadata yourself in Zotero's right column, or input a DOI/ISBN if you have one to enter the metadata automatically:

Screenshot of Zotero "Create Parent Item" for a PDF without metadata.

Screenshot of Zotero "Create Parent Item" popup.

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