UNB Libraries' Guide to Zotero

More Tips & Tricks

Import Your PDFs & Extract Their Metadata

If you already have PDFs saved on your computer, you do not need to add them all manually to Zotero. Zotero is capable of using Google Scholar to fetch citation information automatically.

  1. Drag and drop your PDF into My Library or another existing collection.
  2. Highlight the item you added and right click. Choose Retrieve Metadata for PDF.
  3. Retrieve Metadata

  4. Zotero will now search for the citation information for that article.
  5. Metadata Retrieval Complete


  6. If retrieving metadata does not work, or the information is incomplete, you will need to manually add the information to the item. To do this, right click and choose Create Parent Item from Selected Item.
  7. Now, you can fill in the information for the item manually. Choose the correct document type first to make sure the formatting is correct.
  8. Then type in the citation information, such as the title of the article and the author(s).
  9. Enter manual citation

Import Existing Bibliographies into Zotero

If you have a formatted bibliography or a list of citations that have been created as ".txt" or ".docx" files and would like to import them into Zotero, you can use tools such as AnyStyle, cb2Bib, text2bib to harvest the citations by converting your original files into Zotero-compatable “.ris” or “.bibtex” formats.

For more information, go here.

Create an Annotated Bibliography

You can use Zotero to create an Annotated APA or Chicago Bibliography.

  1. Access the Zotero Style repository using the instructions above or by going directly to the Zotero Style Repository.
  2. Download one of the following two styles from the Zotero Style Repository:
    • APA: Download the style "American Psychological Association 6th edition (annotated bibliography with abstract)."
    • Chicago: Download the style "Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition (note, annotated bibliography)."
  3. Open your Zotero library and select the item that you want to annotate. In the "Info" tab on the right-hand pane, write the annotation in the "Extra" field. Repeat this step for each item that you want to include in the annotated bibliography.
  4. Creating an annotated bibliography

  5. Open your word processing document and follow the standard process for inserting a citation into your document (see the directions above). When prompted to choose your citation style, select the Annotated Chicago or APA style that you just downloaded.

Adding Books By ISBN

Have the book in front of you and want to add it to your Zotero library without having to search for a citation?

If you have a book's ISBN, an online article's DOI or PMID number, just click the magic wand button: "Add item by identifier." Type in the book or article's number, and Zotero will automatically download its information and save it to your library.


Getting New Citation Styles

If you do not see the style you want listed in Zotero's standard styles, you will need to download your desired style from the style back. There are several steps to this process.

  1. Open Zotero's Preferences.
  2. Click on the Cite option at the top of the preferences pane.
  3. Select the Styles tab.
  4. Click on Get additional Styles..., which is located below the standard list of styles
  5. Get Additional Citation Styles

  6. Find the style you want and click on the title. Click on Install. The style will be added to your options in both Zotero and Word.

Use Zotero on Mobile

You can use Zotero on your tablet by installing a Bookmarklet: a special link that saves items directly to your Zotero account on the web.

You must be logged into your Zotero account and your phone or tablet must be online to use Zotero.

  1. Open zotero.org/downloadbookmarklet in your tablet's browser (Safari, Chrome, IE) and bookmark it.
  2. Click the type of browser you are using in the left-hand menu
  3. Follow the instructions on the page.
  4. When you're on a page you wish to cite, select the Save to Zotero bookmark. The browser will save the citation directly to your Zotero library online.

Get additional styles

Get additional styles

Get additional styles

Start

RefWorks Users

If you are still using RefWorks to track citations, you have ONLY until August 2017 to export your content before UNB cancels its subscription. Please consult our RefWorks guide for migrating your content.

Getting Started with Zotero

Zotero (pronounced "zoh-TAIR-oh") is a software program that collects, manages, and cites research sources. It's easy to use, works with your web browser where you do your work, and best of all it's free.  With one click, Zotero will save web pages, books, PDFs, abstracts, and almost anything else with all its citation information.

Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, notes and images to your citations, organize them into collections for different projects, and create bibliographies.  You can access your citations across computers and share them with colleagues.

This program is open source and being updated with new features and bibliographic styles all the time.

For a look at more of Zotero's features, read the Zotero Quick Start Guide.

This guide is intended to get you set up and ready to use Zotero's most obvious features to improve your research and citation management.  If you are looking for help with a specific problem, try the Zotero website  or contact someone on UNB Libraries' Zotero team:


The content of this guide is modelled on Harvard University's Zotero: Getting Started guide, the Zotero Quick Start Guide, and Jason Puckett's Zotero Guide at Georgia State University.

The content in this guide is licensed Creative Commons License

Step 1: Install

Zotero for Firefox or Zotero Standalone?

The Zotero download page, highlighting the Zotero Standalone option and blocking out the Zotero for Firefox option.

Zotero has two download options. The first option is Zotero for Firefox which works in Firefox only and is a browser plugin. This is the version of Firefox that operates completely online with no desktop component. In general, this option is not the best, because it does not communicate well with any other Zotero options.

Zotero's other option is Zotero Standalone, which operates mainly as a desktop application but syncs with an online account which allows it to be active and up-to-date on more than one desktop. Zotero Standalone works for Mac and Windows (but not Chrome Books), and can be used with Safari, Chrome and Firefox, making it much more flexible and adaptable than its plugin-only cousin. For most purposes the consistency of Zotero Standalone across operating systems and browsers makes it the better choice.

If you are working with Internet Explorer (as on many lab computers on campus) you can download a bookmarklet from Zotero that will allow you to capture most information. Unfortunately, however, this bookmarklet is not as effective as Zotero Standalone's browser extensions and will not be effective on all the same platforms. In the event that the bookmarklet does not capture the citation information from a database, you can download it manually by following the instructions available here.

 

** Do not install both the Firefox plugin and the standalone version, as this can cause syncing problems.

Downloading Zotero Standalone

Installing the Zotero Standalone client requires downloading and installing a program for your operating system (Windows or Mac) and then installing browser extensions or add-ons to allow the client to talk to the browser.

  1. Visit zotero.org/download and select Zotero 4.0 for Windows or Zotero 4.0 for Mac depending on your operating system.
  2. Save the file to your computer.
  3. Next download the extension for Firefox, Chrome, or Safari by clicking on its icon under Zotero 4.0 for Windows or Zotero 4.0 for Mac.
  4. Following Steps 1-3 to download Zotero Standalone.

  5. Allow the Extension or Add-on to install.
  6. Followign Step 4 to download Zotero Standalone.


Get a Word Processor Plugin

One of the most powerful features of Zotero is the ability to use your citations in papers as you write them. Zotero will keep track of everything and produce a bibliography at the end. To enable this, you need to install some plug-ins that work with MS Word or OpenOffice/LibreOffice.

  1. Open Zotero
  2. Windows: Look for a tab called Add-Ins or the icons shown below in your toolbar.
  3. Click on the gear symbol in the top bar and select Preferences from the drop-down menu.
  4. In the Cite tab, click on Install Microsoft Word Add-in to get the latest version of the Microsoft Word or LibreOffice plugin. Make sure to choose the right platform (Windows or Mac).
  5. When prompted, click Allow, then Install Now.
  6. Restart Word or OpenOffice/LibreOffice.

Toolbar options for Zotero in Windows is in a ribbon tab called Add-Ins or Zotero.

 

Mac OSX: you will either see the toolbar in a separate window or you will find a Zotero menu in the Applescripts menu pictured below.

 

The applescript menu icon is a small black unrolling scroll in the top menu bar. In this menu there should be a sub-menu for Zotero functions.

Step 2: Save Citations

Save Citations in Zotero

Three screenshots in one image labelled Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, each with the Zotero icon highlighted.

When Zotero is installed in your browser, by default you will see an icon representing the item type in the top-right hand corner of your toolbar (Chrome), three icons in the same location (Firefox) or a circle and Z Zotero icon next to the address bar (Safari).

  • Firefox Only: The Z icon opens Zotero in a separate pane so you can see Zotero and the page you're browsing at the same time. You can also set in preferences for it to open in a separate tab or window. This is where you manage or edit your citations.
  • The icon that looks like a piece of paper is where you click to save a citation. The shape of the icon changes depending on what kind of citation you might be saving. The one shown above is a normal webpage. When saving a webpage, Zotero also saves a Snapshot or a static version of the site in case it goes offline.
  • The icon for a journal article is Icon resembling a white piece of paper with writing on it and it will appear when you are on an article's abstract page. When saving a journal article, Zotero will also download a copy of the PDF for you and attach it to the citation.
  • Firefox Only: The downwards pointing triangle gives you other options for saving the current page.

Save Multiple Citations

After searching a database for your topic of interest, you can save journal articles and other search results in bulk to Zotero.

  1. When viewing a search results screen in a database Zotero will display Icon resembling a yellow folder. next to the Letter Z shaped Zotero icon to the right of the Firefox address bar or in the address bar.
  2. Click the icon, and a small window will open.
  3. Select which items you'd like to save, and click OK.
  4. Zotero will automatically download PDF copies of the articles you have chosen as well as their citation information. If you capture a citation that does not have a PDF associated with it, you can attach one by dragging and dropping it into the citation in the Zotero application.

Saving articles to Zotero


Create Collections

Zotero organizes your research into collections that act like folders. You can add a citation to any number of collections or subcollections.

  1. Create a new collection by clicking the folder icon above the library pane.
  2. Create a subcollection by right clicking on an existing collection and selecting New Subcollection.
  3. Highlighting the folder icon in Zotero


Add Content to a Collection

When saving citations for a particular project, you should make a Collection for that project and save everything related to the project in it.

  1. In the Zotero window on the left side, click on the Collection you wish to save citations into.
  2. In your browser toolbar there will be an icon next to the Zotero button. The icon changes depending on what type of citation will be saved. Click on that button to save the current webpage to Zotero. A pop-up will appear stating that it was saved to the Collection you have open.
  3. When you open the Collection, the citation you just saved will be in that Collection with all the citation information.

Following Steps 1-3 to save content to Zotero


Step 3: Zotero & MS Word

Get a Word Processor Plugin

One of the most powerful features of Zotero is the ability to use your citations in papers as you write them. Zotero will keep track of everything and produce a bibliography at the end. To enable this, you need to install some plug-ins that work with MS Word or OpenOffice/LibreOffice.

  1. Open Zotero
  2. Windows: Look for a tab called Add-Ins or the icons shown below in your toolbar.
  3. Click on the gear symbol in the top bar and select Preferences from the drop-down menu.
  4. In the Cite tab, click on Install Microsoft Word Add-in to get the latest version of the Microsoft Word or LibreOffice plugin. Make sure to choose the right platform (Windows or Mac).
  5. When prompted, click Allow, then Install Now.
  6. Restart MS Word or OpenOffice/LibreOffice.

Toolbar options for Zotero in Windows is in a ribbon tab called Add-Ins or Zotero.
Mac OSX: you will either see the toolbar in a separate window or you will find a Zotero menu in the Applescripts menu pictured below.
The applescript menu icon is a small black unrolling scroll in the top menu bar. In this menu there should be a sub-menu for Zotero functions.


Start Inserting Citations (MS Word for Windows)

  1. Open Microsoft Word and place your cursor where you would like to add a citation.
  2. Select the Add-Ins tab if using MS Word, or otherwise find the Zotero toolbar.
  3. Click the Zotero Insert Citation icon.
  4. Following Steps 1-3 to insert citations.

  5. The first time you insert a citation in a document you will be required to choose a citation style. You can change the citation style at any time when you are writing.
  6. Press OK.
  7. Following Steps 4-5 to change the citation style.


Changing Citations

Once you have added a citation to your Word document, you can edit it by changing the citation information in the Zotero window. These changes will be reflected in your Microsoft Word document automatically.

  1. Open the Zotero window and find the citation you wish to change.
  2. Edit the information in the sidebar.
  3. Following Steps 1 and 2 to edit citations.

  4. Return to the MS Word window and click on the Refresh button. Your citations will now be updated with the new information.
  5. Following Step 3 to refresh citations.

If you need to include page numbers, you can insert the citation as usual and then follow the following steps:

  1. Place your cursor in the citation.
  2. Click on the Edit Citation button.
  3. In the Zotero bar, click on the citation to make a small menu appear.
  4. Following Step 3 to refresh citations.

  5. Add your page numbers to the citation.
  6. Press Enter to have your citation updated with the new page numbers.

Note that your original citation in Zotero has not changed, so you can insert the same citation multiple times with different page numbers using this method.

If you need to cite multiple sources in the same location:

  1. Place your cursor in the citation.
  2. Click on the Edit Citation button.
  3. When the Zotero bar appears, search for and select the new citation.
  4. Press Enter to to have your citation updated.
  5. Following Step 3 to refresh citations.


Add Your Bibliography

When you are done adding citations, click Insert Bibliography. Zotero will insert a fully-formatted and alphabetized bibliography in whatever style you have previously chosen.

An arrow points to the insert bibliography icon in the MS Word ribbon.

Sync & Share Citations

Your Zotero Account

You need to create a Zotero account in order to sync your citations across computers and to be able to access your citations on computers that do not have Zotero installed. You can also use your Zotero account to share your citations with others.

  1. Go to the Zotero Registration page.
  2. Complete the form to register for an account at zotero.org.

    Account Registration Page

  3. Check your email and click the link from Zotero to register your account.
  4. Open Zotero and find the gear-shaped Actions icon in the top-bar. Select Preferences

    Preferences

  5. In the Sync tab enter your username and password from your online account. Then click OK.

    Sync Your Online Account in Zotero


Zotero Groups

Zotero's Groups feature allows you to share references with other Zotero users online. It's a great way to work on collaborative research projects.

First, set up Zotero sync and synchronize your library. You must log in to the zotero.org website to create or join a group.

  • To create a shared library, click the Create Groups button near the top left of your Zotero window (small blue/green button with two “people” icons, second from the left).
  • To join an existing Zotero library, search for it at zotero.org/groups or be invited by the group’s owner.

You now have two sections in your Zotero collections pane: My Library and Group Libraries.

Personal and group libraries are entirely separate, and changes made to items in one library do not affect the other. You can drag and drop items back and forth libraries to copy items.

Search for existing public groups or create a new group. Groups may be public (searchable, and anyone can join) or private (users can only join if invited).

Ask A Librarian

Ruth Collings
Librarian, Science & Forestry Library
ruth.collings@unb.ca@unb.ca | 506-453-4814
Available by appointment or drop-in at the Science & Forestry Library.


Richelle Witherspoon
Information Services Librarian
r.witherspoon@unb.ca@unb.ca | 506-453-4602
Subject Specialties: Kinesiology and Nursing


Aggie Sliwka
Reference and Copyright Services
asliwka@unb.ca@unb.ca

Ask Us


  • Photo: Richelle Witherspoon
  • Richelle Witherspoon  (profile)
  • Information Services Librarian
  • r.witherspoon@unb.ca
  • 506-453-4602
  • Subject Specialties:
    Kinesiology and Nursing