Skip to Main Content

Zotero Guide

Your Personal Research Assistant


Zotero 6

On March 17, 2022, Zotero 6 was released.

Upgrade to Zotero 6

  1. Click Help inside your Zotero
  2. Click Check for Updates…

See more at Zotero 6.


Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share research.

Zotero is compatible with:

  • Windows, Mac, Linux computers
  • Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browsers
  • Microsoft Word, Google Docs, other word processors (see Zotero - word processors)

DU Libraries support Zotero over Refworks as DU's preferred APA research management system (see Zotero Benefits).

The default Zotero storage limit is 300 MB. If you think you need more than this, please contact DU Libraries

Download Zotero

See Download Zotero Video and Transcript (on YouTube)


  1. Select Download Zotero
  2. Download Zotero 5.0
  3. Install the Zotero Connector extension
  4. Check that:
    • You can open the Zotero app from your computer Download Zotero app; see it on the desktop.
    • You see the Zotero Connector extension icon in your web browser Download Zotero extension; see it on your browser.
    • You see the Zotero tab in your word processor (see Zotero - word processors)

For additional download help, see Zotero's Documentation or contact DU Libraries.

  1. Enabling Zotero's browser plugin will allow it to read data and modify every web page the user visits (see Zotero Connector Permissions).
  2. Enabling some of the sync functionality (e.g. Google Drive) could give the app access to everything in that Drive
  3. The desktop app also has access to everything on the user account, including network shares

Collect Your Resources

See Zotero - Collect Resources Video and Transcript (on YouTube)


After downloading Zotero:

Create A Research Folder

  1. Within the Zotero application, click the manila folder with a plus sign (the New Collection icon)
  2. Enter a name for your research assignment
  3. Save your research assignment resources within this folder to keep them organized

Save Resources You'll Reference

Save Resources With One-Click
  1. Within your browser, open the resource you want to cite (e.g. open it from DU Library Search, Worldcat, Google Scholar, etc.)
  2. Click the Zotero connector extension icon within your browser
    • blue book Books
    • white paper Journal Articles
    • web camera Videos
    • manila folder Folder (multiple resources at once)
    • blue page Websites
    • colorful page Magazine Articles
    • open book with red bookmark Encyclopedia Articles
    • rolled up newspaper Newspaper Articles
Save Resources Manually
  1. Within the Zotero application, click the large plus sign (the New Item icon)
  2. Choose your resource's material type
  3. Enter your resource's information in Zotero's resource information window pane (on the right)

Modify Your Resources

  • Within the Zotero application, click on your resource (in center pane) to select it
  • Use Zotero's resource information window pane (on the right) to enter/change the resource's information
    1. Click the Notes tab to write personal notes about this resource
    2. Click the Tags tab to add tags by which you can sort and find specific resources later
  • To add documents (such as a PDF of your article) to the resource, click and drag those directly into the resource (in center pane) you want to attach it to

Cite with Zotero

See Zotero - Cite Resources Video and Transcript (on YouTube)


Generate APA Reference List

  1. Within the Zotero application, select the resources (in center pane) you want within your APA reference list
    1. On PC: press Ctrl when clicking to add additional resources one-by-one
    2. Press Shift when clicking the first and last resource within a range to select the entire range
  2. Right-click your selection of resources
  3. Select Create Bibliography from Items...
  4. Choose American Psychological Association 6th edition
  5. Choose your output preferences
  6. Paste your reference list wherever you want it (bonus: it will automatically be alphabetized, too)

Generate APA In-Text Citations With Reference List

  1. Within your word processor, place your cursor where you wish to add an in-text citation
  2. Choose the Zotero tab within your word processor
  3. Select Add/Edit Citation
  4. Choose American Psychological Association 6th edition
  5. In the Zotero search box , type a title, author, etc. to find your resource
    • Or select the Z with dropdown arrow , and choose Classic View to manually find your resource
  6. Hit Enter to insert the APA in-text citation of your resource within your document
  7. To add page numbers or other information to your in-text citation:
    1. select your in-text citation within your document (one click should highlight the entire thing)
    2. within the Zotero tab of your word processor, select Add/Edit Citation
    3. click once on your resource within the Zotero search box that pops up
    4. add your info to your in-text citation
    5. Hit Enter
    6. Hit Enter again
  8. Repeat this process to add all in-text citations to your document
  9. Place your cursor where you want to add your complete reference list (also called, bibliography)
  10. Within the Zotero tab of your word processor, select Add/Edit Bibliography
    1. This should display an alphabetized APA reference list of every in-text citation you added via Zotero within your document
    2. This reference list will automatically update as in-text citations are added/changed
  11. To adjust the Zotero in-text or reference list information within your document, you need to change the resource's information within the Zotero app itself (outside of your word processor). Then hit refresh in the Zotero tab of your Word Processor blank document with 2 green circular arrows to instantly see the change.

Sync Zotero

See Zotero - Sync Video and Transcript (on YouTube)

Sync Zotero Login with Zotero App

  1. Go to Zotero's login page
  2. Select Register for a free account
  3. Fill in your info
  4. Open up your Zotero app
  5. Select Edit
  6. Select Preferences
  7. Select Sync
  8. Enter the username and password you registered at Zotero's login page
  9. Select Set Up Syncing
  10. If the installation is successful you should see the entirety of your Zotero library when you login to Zotero's login page with your credentials (you may need to hit refresh on Zotero green circular arrow)

Collaborate in Zotero

See Zotero - Collaborate Video and Transcript (on YouTube)

Share Your Zotero Library with Others

  1. Go to the Zotero's Groups webpage
  2. Login with your Zotero credentials

    If you have not yet registered a free account with Zotero, see Sync Zotero Login with Zotero App instructions.

  3. Select Create a New Group
  4. Enter the name of your group
  5. Choose your group type
  6. Select Create Group
  7. Select Members Settings > Send More Invitations to invite Zotero collaborators (they need a registered Zotero account to access)
  8. After collaborators are successfully added, this group library can be viewed/changed by all members via:
    1. your Zotero app (when it is synced with your Zotero Login, see Sync Zotero Login with Zotero App instructions) preferred method
    2. (when logged in)

Zotero Benefits

  • add notes to your references (stand alone or attached)
  • sync annotated PDFs
  • no limit on attachment or file size (if total storage exceeds 300MB, contact DU Libraries)
  • auto-complete data entry
  • ability to collaborate and share
  • creates APA reference page and in-text citations in word processor
  • direct export from online databases
  • detects/removes duplicates
  • searches by field
  • searches full-text PDFs
  • 3rd party iOS and Android apps
  • 38 pre-defined reference types
  • can share as read-only
  • retrieves citation information from PDFs
  • supports RSS feeds
  • takes screenshots of saved resources
  • unlimited records within a library

List based on University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries, Comparison Chart

More Zotero

To learn more about Zotero, go to or contact DU Libraries.

Ask Jessica For Help

Profile Photo
Jessica Wright
Lansing Campus
517.367.8231 (Ext. 8231)