Zotero Tutorial

 Introduction to Zotero 

Zotero (pronounced zoh-TAIR-oh) is a free web 2.0 citation management tool that is an extension for your Firefox web browser. This means that you need to first have Firefox. If you don't, you can download it for free at firefox.com. However your citations are stored on your computer so you can access Zotero when your research takes you to places far removed from Wi-Fi.

Similar to the popular citation management tool EndNote, Zotero stores citations from library catalogues, proprietary databases like ATLA and JSTOR, websites, blogs, even videos and stores them in an easy to use format similar to iTunes. You can also import and export citations, create bibliographies, and insert citations into your word processor.

You can receive support by emailing Academic Services.

You can download a PDF of this tutorial if you wish.

Introduction Download Getting Started Zotero and Word Zotero and EndNote

 Download Zotero 

To get started, download Zotero at zotero.org.

  • Click on the download option.


  • Firefox will give you a warning. Click Allow.


  • Zotero is a trusted add-on so when this window pops up, click Install Now.


  • You will need to restart Firefox once installation is complete. You will know that Zotero has been installed successfully when you see either of these Zotero icons in the bottom right corner of Firefox. zotero_icon or z_icon

Now make Zotero compatible with your word processor.
Note for Macintosh Word 2008 users: a Zotero plug-in is not yet available for Word 2008 meaning that you cannot integrate Zotero with Word 2008. 

  • Go to the word processor integration page and select the option for either MS Word or Open Office (all examples on this tutorial will use MS Word).
  • Save the Word Plug-in Installer


  • Run the Installer by double clicking on the Installer icon z_word_installer
  • Follow the instructions.
  • Once installation is complete, you should have a Zotero toolbar in Word.
    While the Zotero toolbar itself is the same across word processors, its location in the actual program may differ from what you see below. This screenshot is from Word 2007.


And from a Mac


Instructions on how to use Zotero with your word processor are further below.

Introduction Download Getting Started Zotero and Word Zotero and EndNote

 Getting Started with Zotero 

Navigating Zotero

Zotero's simple interface is composed of three columns moving left to right from general to specific. The left column displays your library and various collections and subcollections along with tags. The center column displays the references in the specific collection you have highlighted in the left column. The right column provides the specific details about the reference highlighted in the center column including bibliographic information, notes, and any attachments.



Building your library

Zotero can automatically add both individual records and lists to your library.

Individual Records

  • Perform a search and select the record you want to add to your library.
  • Notice the blue book icon that now appears in the address bar. This is an indication that Zotero has recognized this webpage as containing potentially useful citation information. If your search takes place in a subscription database (ATLA or JSTOR), an article icon will be present.

Book record from PTS OPAC


Article record from ATLA


  • Click the address bar icon, either book or article, and Zotero will add the record to your library.
  • A notification will appear in the lower right corner of your browser.



Collections or Lists

  • Perform your search again but this time do not select an individual record. Notice the folder icon that now appears in the address bar.


  • Click on the folder and a popup window will appear asking you which records you would like to import.


  • Check the boxes next to the records you wish to add to your library and click OK.
  • A notification will again appear in the lower right corner of Firefox.

Zotero key for popular reference types



Create references from websites

Sometimes you may want to add an item to your library but a reference icon does not appear in the address bar.

  • Open Zotero and select the Create New Item from Current Page icon.


  • Zotero will fill in as much information as it can, but you may need to add some additional details.


  • Zotero will try to guess what type of source the page is (web page, blog, artwork), but you can correct it if necessary by choosing the drop down arrows.
  • You can archive the site by clicking on the Take Snapshot of Current Page icon snapshot.

Create references manually

You can still add references to your library even if you cannot locate them online.

  • Open Zotero, select the New Item icon, and choose the appropriate reference type.


  • Fill in the necessary bibliographic details.
Introduction Download Getting Started Zotero and Word Zotero and EndNote

 Using Zotero with your Word Processor 

After you have installed the word processor integration add-in, you have the capability to integrate Zotero and MS Word.

Adding citations

  • In your word processor, place your cursor where the citation should be added. Unlike EndNote, there is no need to first add a footnote prior to inserting the citation.


  • Click on the Zotero Insert Citation icon. zot_insert
  • A window displaying your Zotero library will appear. Choose the appropriate citation, add any details necessary such as page number(s), prefixes, and suffixes. Clicking on Show Editor will give you a preview. Click OK.


  • A footnote is now inserted into your paper.


If you are entering a single footnote, you will notice that the final period of the footnote is missing. Simply hitting the Zotero Refresh button zot_refresh will add the period. It is a bug with Zotero and work is being done to correct it. 

  • To edit citations already in your document, place your cursor within the citation you wish to edit (you my have to highlight the entire citation) and click the Zotero Edit Citation icon zot_edit.


  • If you are entering citations into your paper, you can complete your bibliography by selecting the Zotero Insert Bibliography icon.


  • Your bibliography should now appear at the end of your paper. You can then add your own heading, such as "Bibliography" or "Works Cited," if you wish.
  • You can edit your bibliography by clicking the Zotero Edit Bibliography icon zot_edit_bib.

Creating independent bibliographies

  • Choose the items in your Zotero library that are to makeup the bibliography.
  • Right click and select Create Bibliography from Selected Items.


  • Select the appropriate Citation Style and select the Output Format as Save as RTF. Click OK.


  • Name the file and choose a location for the file.

You can also create bibliographies of an entire collection.

  • In the left column, right click on the collection you wish to create a bibliography for.


  • Select the appropriate Citation Style and select the Output Format as Save as RTF. Click OK.
  • Name the file and choose a location for the file.


Introduction Download Getting Started Zotero and Word Zotero and EndNote

 Zotero and EndNote 

It is relatively simple to go between EndNote and Zotero. Whether you want to import an existing EndNote library into Zotero or want to take advantage of EndNote's many output styles, you can easily import/export between the two programs.

EndNote to Zotero

  • In EndNote, choose RefMan (RIS) Export as your Output Style.


  • Go to File and choose Export.
  • Name the file, save it as a Text file (.txt), and make sure the Output style is RefMan (RIS) Export. Click Save.


  • Open Zotero
  • From the Actions menu icon zot_gear select Import.


  • Locate the Text file you saved above and click Open.
  • Your references have now been imported into your Zotero library.

Want to know more

Contact Academic Services
Visit Zotero support for more tutorials, faq's, and the user forum.

Created by Andy Newgren, Computer Software Specialist, Princeton Theological Seminary