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Using Zotero

9 Steps to install Zotero

Zotero is already installed on campus computers. If you are using a campus computer (classrooms, labs, and checkout laptops), you do not need to install Zotero. Simply open it and skip to step 5, creating your account.

If you want to install Zotero on your personal computer, follow the instructions below.

  1. Visit Zotero.org/download to download the free and open source program, which includes two components:
    • the desktop application
    • the browser connector
  2. The desktop application allows you to run the Zotero word processor Add-ins.
    • The desktop download includes Add-ins for MS Word, Google Docs and LibreOffice.
    • The desktop application is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
    • There is no Chromebook desktop application.
  3. The browser connector is the most fundamental component of Zotero.
    • There are connectors available for Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Edge.
    • If you use a tablet or phone, there is a bookmarklet option that allows you to save items as well.
    • The Chrome connector works great on Chromebooks.
  4. Create an account. You can use any email account you'd like, but you will be prompted to verify your email, so use an email you remember the password for! You can also add and change email accounts to your Zotero account later.
  5. Open the Zotero application on your computer (if it does not open automatically).
    • Windows: use the Start Button and scroll down to the bottom of the alphabetical list for Zotero.
    • Mac: use Spotlight to search for "Zotero."
  6. In the Cite tab, choose the citation style you will be using most often. You can switch this later at any time.
  7. In the Cite tab, open the Word Processors tab and install any Add-ins that you would like to use (you must have the software for those Add-ins to work).
  8. Open your word processor program to make sure your Zotero tools have been added. Zotero works with MS Word, Google Docs, and LibreOffice. Note: if you already had your word processor program open, you will need to restart it.
  9. Optional: create an online account to sync your work across computers and to save your work to the cloud. This is necessary for working with Chromebooks or when using campus computers.
    • Register for an account online.
      • This will create your Web Library, which you can save to directly on computers that do not have Zotero installed.
      • You can also sync your computer's Zotero library to the Web Library (see below) when working across multiple computers.
    • Log in to your account in the Zotero desktop application.
      • Open Zotero preferences.
        • Windows: In the Edit menu, select Preferences.
        • Mac: In the Zotero menu, select Preferences.
      • In the Sync tab of Zotero Preferences, login with the username & password you created in step 4.
      • Click on the sync button to sync your computer to your Web Library (and vice versa - it is a good idea to sync at the beginning and end of any Zotero activity).

Depending on your computer and software, the download process can be more complicated than the steps above. If you are having issues getting Zotero installed, visit the Troubleshooting guide or contact a librarian.