Zotero helps you to:

  • keep track of your information while you search;
  • create citations while you write;
  • generate a formatted bibliography in seconds.

Setting up Zotero Standalone

  1. Create your free Zotero account at
  2. Download and install Zotero Standalone at
  3. Add your username and password to Zotero Standalone to sync your account ( Zotero > Preferences > Sync).
  4. Add the browser connectors for your favorite browsers.

Task: Saving Sources

  1. Find a Rutgers library catalog record ( for one book (using keyword or subject search) and add it to your Zotero library.
  2. Find an article in JSTOR and add it to your Zotero library.
  3. Find a website/online resource and archive the page in your Zotero library.
  4. Find a video and add the citation information to your Zotero library.
  5. Find a image and add it to your Zotero library.
  6. Find an article from the or and add it to your Zotero library.

Task: Make a Collection

  1. In Zotero, click on the icon on the far left, which looks like a manila folder with a plus sign.
  2. Enter a name for your collection, e.g., Zotero Workshop (in case you won’t need these later) or the topic that all of your records relate to.
  3. Highlight and drag all the sources you just added into the new collection.
  4. To add subcollections, right click your collection folder and select “New Subcollection.”

Task: Notes and Tags

  1. Choose any item in your collection and click on it. See what information is already provided (items you download from library catalogs and databases often have a lot of metadata embedded with them).
  2. Click on Notes and then Add.
  3. Type in some text about the item (or some sample text just to test out this feature). You can add as many notes to an item as you want, and this is a GREAT way to take notes on a book or article or other item so that you always have those notes connected to their source.
  4. Click on your original item again and then click on Tags. Sometimes items already come with some tags, but you can delete ones you don’t need and customize your own.
  5. Make your own tag by clicking Add, typing a tag, and then hitting your Enter key.
  6. Notes and tags become part of the searchable text index of your bibliographies to help you quickly located sources that address a given topic. Try this out by using Zotero’s search box.

Task: Create Bibliography

  1. Select the sources you would like to include in your bibliography by holding down the control key (command on a Mac) and clicking on each one.
  2. Right click your selection and select “Create Bibliography.”
  3. Pick your citation format, select “Bibliography” as the output mode and “Copy to clipboard” as the output method.
  4. Paste the bibliography into your document!

Word Processor Integration

  • Zotero’s plugins for Word and Open Office simplify the insertion of in-text citations, footnotes/endnotes, and reference/works cited lists. In Zotero 5.0, these plugins are bundled, and should be visible in your word processing application. In Microsoft for Mac (version 15), Zotero is the last menu item on the right.
  • Open a Word document, and type a sentence in a blank document. Place your cursor at the end of the sentence, and then go to Zotero > Add/Edit Citation. In the Zotero pop-up bar, enter the name of an author or title in your collection. Select the correct source from the matching options. If you are quoting from a page, you can manually add the page reference. Click return to add the citation to your document.
  • If you have used Zotero to add all your citations, when you are done with your paper, you can go to Zotero > Add/Edit Bibliography, and it will automatically generate a bibliography from all the sources you cited earlier.
  • Zotero also works with Google Docs, although not in quite the same way. See for more.

Intermediate Tips and Tricks

  • Do you have a PDF of an article on your computer that you’d like to add to your Zotero library? Try dragging and dropping it into your collection. Then right click, and select “Retrieve metadata for PDF.” If your PDF file has embedded text, this should work. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to right click again, select “Create parent item,” and manually fill in citation information.
  • Unlike some other reference managers, Zotero does not come bundled with PDF annotation tools. However, it does work well with a number of annotation applications, including GoodReader, PaperShip, and iAnnotate, among others. Zotero will extract your annotations as a note attached to their source, which becomes part of your searchable text index. You’ll need an additional Zotero plugin called Zotfile ( to accomplish this. Here’s a sample workflow:

Other Important Stuff

  • Zotero has some social media functionality that allows you to create group bibliographies. This may be useful for a class or group research project. Browse existing groups, and create your own, at
  • Don’t see your preferred citation style under Zotero > Preferences > Cite? Go to and download the .csl file.


Contact me for help getting the most out of Zotero.

Francesca Giannetti [francesca DOT giannetti AT]
Digital Humanities Librarian
Liaison to Classics, Comparative Literature, French, and Italian
Alexander Library


This handout owes a substantial debt to materials shared by UCLA librarians. See for more.

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