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Zotero: Making Research More Efficient

A step-by-step guide on how to install and use basic functions in Zotero

Download Zotero and Zotero Connector

  1. Go to
  2. Download and install Zotero for Windows, Mac, or Linux
  3. Download and install the Zotero Connector for your browser (Chrome, Safari, or Firefox. There is no connector for Internet Explorer or Edge)


Create Free Zotero User Account

Register for a free Zotero user account:

Set Zotero Preferences

On a PC, set Preferences in Zotero by clicking Edit on the Zotero menu and then selecting Preferences. [On a Mac, in the Zotero menu, select Preferences]

Preferences - Sync Zotero Account with Desktop Zotero

Zotero's online syncing allows you to access your Zotero library on any computer with internet access. Zotero syncing has two parts: data syncing and file syncing.

  • Data syncing merges library items, notes, links, tags, etc.—everything except attachment files—between your local computer and the Zotero servers, allowing you to work with your data from any computer with Zotero installed. It also allows you to view your library online on Data syncing is free, has no storage limit, and can be used without file syncing.
  • File Syncing allows you to merge attached files (PDFs, audio and video files, images, etc.) from your computer to your online account. To sync these files, you can set up file syncing to accompany data syncing. Each Zotero user is given 300 MB of free Zotero File Storage for attached files, with larger storage plans available for purchase. See

In Zotero Preferences:

Click the Sync tab and enter your Zotero Username and Password

Click the Set Up Syncing button


Preferences - Selecting / Updating Citation Styles

Select and update the scripts for commonly used citation styles.

In Zotero Preferences:

Click the Cite tab

Click the Styles tab

If you do not see a style you think you will be using, or even if you see a style you think you will be using, note the date that style was last updated in your Zotero installation

Click Get additional styles


On the Zotero Style Repository page that appears, search for the style and note the date last updated. If the date is more recent than the Zotero installed file, click the Install link


Preferences - Installing Microsoft Word Add-in

If you have Microsoft Word or LibreOffice installed on your computer, when you first install Zotero a Zotero add-in will also be installed in the word processor. Note: Make sure your word processor is closed when you install Zotero.

After you install Zotero, check to see if the Microsoft Word add-in is present. In Windows, you will see a Zotero tab on the Word toolbar. On a Mac, you will either see the Zotero tools hovering over Word to the left of the screen or you will find a Zotero menu in the Applescripts menu.

Image of Zotero tab in Microsoft Word

If you do not see this tab/menu, and you need to install the Zotero add-in for your word processor...

In Zotero Preferences:

Click the Cite tab

Click the Word Processors tab

If you see The Microsoft Word add-in is not currently installed, click the Install Microsoft Word Add-in button

Click the OK button at the bottom of the window

Preferences - Selecting Default Quick Copy Citation Style

You can highlight references in the Zotero middle pane and drag them into any text field, (e.g., an open word processing file, to generate a bibliography in any supported style.) To set the default Quick Copy bibliographic style:

In Zotero Options Preferences:

Click the Export tab

Below Default Format select your default style