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How to Use Zotero

A guide to using the Zotero citation management tool

Importing References into Zotero

Capturing References in Zotero

Zotero can detect when you are looking at an item (or items) on a web page. If you are currently working in a specific collection/folder (that is, a collection/folder is highlighted in the left column other than “My Library”), the references will be copied to that location as well as your overall library.

If you are looking at the record for a book in the library catalog or in Google Scholar, Zotero’s book icon will appear in the browser toolbar. Selecting the book icon will save all of the citation information about that book into your Zotero citation library. Open the Zotero standalone app to save to your desktop, or save to directly to your Zotero cloud account:

Screenshot an item in the library catalog with the Zotero book icon highlighted


If you are looking at a group of items (for example, a list of search results from Google Scholar or LexisNexis), a folder icon will appear in the toolbar.

Screenshot of a Google Scholar search with the Zotero folder icon highlighted


Clicking on the folder will produce a list of items with check boxes next to them; choose the ones you want to save and Zotero will do the rest:

Checkboxes that appear when the Zotero folder icon is clicked


When you are on a display of an article citation the article icon, which looks like a sheet of paper, will appear in the toolbar. Selecting the article icon will save the article citation and PDF if available to your Zotero citation library:

Screenshot of an article with the article icon highlighted



When Zotero notices you aren't on a type of source it recognizes, the Zotero Connector will display a website icon, which is visually similar to the article icon (the main difference being a grey box toward the bottom of the website icon). Zotero will add a citation for that webpage to your library. By default, Zotero will also take a snapshot of the website.

Editing Citations

Sometimes the citation capture may need to be edited. Some databases may use author initials instead of full names or may use CAPITAL LETTERS when you want sentence style.

To edit the entry just click on the item that needs revision. You can also enter additional citation information.

A blank form can also be used to enter a citation manually.