Site: Tabor Online
Course: Student Digital Help Centre
Book: Zotero
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Saturday, 28 May 2022, 2:14 AM


A helpful tool to manage your research sources.

1. Zotero essentials

What is Zotero?

Zotero is a free reference management tool which enables you to manage your research sources.

Use Zotero to collect, organize and store your references, create citations in your assignments, and create bibliographies using your chosen citation style.

Latest version: Zotero 5.0. for Windows

Visit Zotero for more information on downloads for other operating systems.

Zotero and Firefox update 
(important information for those using Zotero 4.0 with Firefox)
As a new standalone version of Zotero 5.0 is available, it replaces previous versions, including the Zotero Firefox plugin. 

See the Zotero.org blog post about the new version. 
If you are using the Zotero Firefox extension, download the Firefox connector from the Zotero download page, along with the new version.

Install Zotero 

                    Navigating Zotero                                     Choose Citation Styles                      Sync Your Library  

Add Items to Zotero

Organize Your Library Cite and Write with Zotero

Create a Bibliography/
Reference List

 Storage Space on Zotero

Saving PDF's

Backup Your Account


For further support:

View the Zotero Online Documentation Page

Contact Tabor Library for assistance

1.1. Install Zotero

Step 1. To ensure your device can operate Zotero, check the system requirements before attempting an installation.    
               Zotero does not work with  Internet Explorer/Edge browsers.                                                                               
Step 2.   Download and install the latest version of the  Zotero program  from https://www.zotero.org/download/ 


Step 3. Download the Zotero Connector for your browser. The connector is required and enables you to save references to Zotero while you are browsing the internet.  Choose the correct version for your operating system. Once installed, the connector is visible on your browser and located in the top right hand corner of the screen.


    Step 4. Register for a Zotero account to sync your references. This is useful if you plan to access Zotero from different computers.

    How do I check for Zotero updates?

      Zotero should update automatically. To check manually, go to your Zotero program's Help menu and select Check for Updates.

1.2. Navigating Zotero

The Zotero application is divided into three columns showing various levels of information.

    Left Column
The Left Column shows My Library and contains
     all the items in your library. 
Items within the library 
can be organized
collections and tags.

Middle Column
The Middle Column shows the items
              contained within the collection selected                               
from the left panel.

End Column
  The End Column shows the details of the item
selected in the middle panel.


1.3. Choose Citation Styles

Once Zotero is installed, choose your citation style and ensure your word processor plugin has been installed.

Citation Styles

Set your citation style from the Zotero Preferences option of the Edit Menu.
The Cite menu displays two tab options: Styles and Word Processors.

1. Click on Styles and find the correct citation style listed in the Style Manager.
    For students using SBL referencing, the closest citation style is Chicago Manual of Style 17th edition (full note) ensure
    to check your references against the Tabor SBL referencing guide for accuracy.
2. Click on the citation style and then OK to finish.   


Word Processors

Zotero's word processor plugins integrate Zotero into Microsoft Word or LibreOffice.  This plugin will enable you to create citations in your document while you are typing.  Plugins are automatically installed when you install the Zotero program.  However if you need to perform a re-install it can be done from the Word Processor tab found in Cite preferences.


1.4. Sync Your Library

The Zotero syncing feature is made up of two parts; data syncing and file syncing. 

Syncing is not meant to replace backing up your data and Zotero strongly recommends that you regularly back up your Zotero library.

More information on backing up your library can be found on the Zotero Support website. 

Why Sync Your Data?

The Zotero data sync feature is useful if you plan to access your Zotero library from more than one computer.  Once you have set up your account, you will be able to sync your data and access your references online from any computer which has Zotero installed and internet access. 

Syncing your library also means you can also view your library online on zotero.org. Ensure that your devices are all running the same version of Zotero.

Zotero does not recommended syncing from Zotero to Dropbox or Google Drive as database corruption can occur. More information can be found on Zotero's syncing information page.

How do I sync my library?

1.    Visit www.zotero.org. and click on Register to create your free account.

2.    Set up your sync preferences within the Zotero application.   To do this:       

             Open Zotero on your computer,  click on Edit and choose Zotero preferences from the menu options.


                  From the Preferences Menu Options, select the Sync tab. 
                  You will be required to enter a Username and Password.
                  Click on Set up Syncing and then set your preferences. Ensure you have ticked Sync automatically. To finish select OK.


How do I sync files?

Data syncing only syncs your library items.  To sync attached files such as PDFs and images you can set up file syncing to accompany data syncing, using either Zotero File Storage or WebDAV.

2. Add Items to Zotero

Reference items can be added manually or by using the Zotero connector which has been installed on your browser.

These videos show Zotero being used in Chrome on a computer with a Windows operating system.

Zotero support page for adding items to your library using Safari and Firefox

Add an item manually

View how to add a reference manually into your Zotero library.

Video: Add items using your browser. 

View how to add  Google Books, Google Scholar and Website references to your Zotero library.

Video:  Add items using the library catalogue

View how to add an item from the Tabor library catalogue into your Zotero library.

3. Organize Your Library

Items stored within Zotero libraries can be organized using collections and tags.


Collections are similar to music playlists rather than file folders. Items can be stored within groups and subgroups and one item can belong to to several collections or sub-collections. 

Adding an item to multiple collections doesn't duplicate the item.

Create a Collection using the "New Collection" folder button located above the left column in Zotero. Or right-click on My Library or other Group Library folder and select "New Collection".

Sub-collections can be created by dragging existing collects and dropping it onto another collection.
Convert a sub-collection into a Collection by dragging the sub-collection into the empty space of the left column.

Collections can also be renamed, deleted or removed by using the right click function.

Deleting Collections

Deleting a collection will delete sub-collections but doesn't delete collection items. Items can still be accessed from My Library or the Group library name. 
To delete the collection and its items, right-click on the collection and choose "Delete Collection and Items".


 Tags are similar to keywords and is a way for you to assign descriptions to items. The tag selector is located at the bottom of the left column and items can be filtered by clicking on the tags.

Add Tags

4. Cite and Write with Zotero

  Zotero will work with Microsoft Word and OpenOffice/LibreOffice programs to add in-text citations and bibliographies to your document.  

  To create citations in your document check that you have installed the word plugin.

Zotero and Word for Windows

  Information on using Zotero with Microsoft Word can be found on the Zotero and Word for Windows page

Zotero and Libre Office/Open Office

 If you have installed LibreOffice, visit https://www.zotero.org/support/libreoffice_writer_plugin_usage for complete instructions.

Zotero and Google docs

 Zotero can be used with Google Docs in the same way as with plain-text documents or emails.

Currently, there isn't a Word plugin that integrates with Google Docs. 

 Information on using 
Zotero with Google docs

Zotero for Mac 

Word processor plugin for mac users 

Online Help 

  To help get you started check Zotero's Using the Zotero Word Plugin page for more information.

  Troubleshooting information can be found at https://www.zotero.org/support/word_processor_plugin_troubleshooting.

4.1. Zotero and Microsoft Word

Before using the word plugin, ensure that Zotero is open on your device.

In Microsoft Word, Zotero appears as an option in the Menu Toolbar.
Click on the Zotero tab to view the Zotero menu.


Menu Options
Document Preferences: use to change your citation style.

Add/Edit Citation: use to add citations to your document.
Add/Edit Bibliography: use to add a bibliography/reference list. your citation style



Adding Citations 

To add a citation place your cursor in your document
where the citation is to appear. 

Click the Add/Edit Citation button on the toolbar. 

The first time you do this, Zotero will offer you a choice of bibliographic styles. 

When the red search bar appears,
type an author name or title word to search your library. 

Select the reference you want to cite and press Enter. 

Zotero will add the citation at the location of your cursor.


Add Page Numbers

Page numbers can be added manually to your citation.

Click on the citation where you would like to add page numbers.

Select Add/Edit Citation from the Zotero Menu Options.

The red citation window will appear displaying the citation to be edited.

Click on the citation in the window. An editing box will open where the page number/s can be added.

Press Enter to update the citation and close the text box.



Add a Bibliography/Reference List

At the end of your paper, click the Insert Bibliography button. Your bibliography will appear, and new citations will be added automatically. Change bibliographic styles with the Document Preferences button.




For more information on customizing citations visit https://www.zotero.org/support/word_processor_plugin_usage



5. Storage Space on Zotero

Zotero Storage Space

All Zotero users have access to 300MB of free storage.

While citations don't take up much storage space,  be aware that PDF's, images and other files can take up space

Tabor does not have a Zotero storage plan available for staff or students. 

If you require extra storage, it is possible to purchase more, see the Zotero File Storage website for more information.

To free up space, move PDF's and other documents to another storage area.  

Storing Your Documents

 Tabor students and staff can store documents in the cloud using Google Drive. More information on how to access your Google Drive account is available on Tabor Online on the Student Helpdesk site.

Zotero does not recommended syncing from Zotero to Dropbox or Google Drive as database corruption can occur. More information can be found on Zotero's syncing information page.

Low Cost Alternatives to Storing Files

Look at other cloud based storage solutions which work with Zotero. Visit Zotero's list of WebDAV services for more information.

6. Saving PDF's

Adding PDFs and other Files

To include a PDF or any other file from your computer in Zotero, simply drag it to Zotero — you can drag to an existing item to attach the file or drag between items to store as an independent item.

You can also add add files as attachments to existing Zotero items by right-clicking on the Zotero item and choosing “Add Attachment” or clicking the paperclip icon in the Zotero toolbar. You can also add independent file items by clicking the green plus sign  in the Zotero toolbar and choosing “Store Copy of File…” or “Link to File…”.

For PDFs that you have added as independent items, you can try to automatically download bibliographic data from the internet by right-clicking them and selecting Retrieve Metadata for PDF. Note that this function will typically yield lower quality metadata than importing using a Web translator.

7. Backup Your Account

Zotero recommends that you regularly back up your Zotero library and syncing is not recommended as a good substitute for backing up.

As this is a detailed process, more information on this topic and restoring your Zotero Library from a backup can be found on the Zotero Data Support Page