Zotero: Getting Started

What is Zotero

Citation Management

Zotero is a citation management tool which lets you quickly keep your research organized.  Zotero integrates with major browsers and word processing software to allow a seamless workflow from gathering research to writing your paper.  Simply click the "Zotero" button while researching to automatically gather citation information and any associated documents into the Zotero software. Then organize your research by creating collections of citations, and tag them for future use.  While writing your paper Zotero will allow you to easily insert a citation or generate a works cited page in the correct style.

Why Use Zotero

  • Free - Zotero is supported by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University.   It is an open source project freely distributed to assist researchers.
  • Organize - Easily collect and manage your citations, pdfs, and notes
  • Create Bibliographies - automatically generate citations and bibliographies on the fly as you write your paper in the proper style format

Download Zotero



Download Zotero

  1. Close any open Word Processor on your computer
  2. Visit Zotero.org
  3. Click red "Download" button
  4. Install desktop application
  5. Download Chrome/Firefox browser add-on
  6. Open Zotero desktop application

Configure Zotero Syncing


Configuring Zotero Syncing

  1. Click Edit
  2. Click Preferences
  3. Click Sync
  4. Click Create Account
  5. Register for a Free Account
  6. Enter account details in Data Syncing section of Zotero
  7. Click Set Up Syncing
  8. Click Ok

Configure Word Processor Plugin

Configuring Word Processor 

Zotero should have automatically integrated with all of the Word Processors on your computer when you installed it.  

For instructions on Manually installing and Configuring options for your specific Word Processor, choose from the list below

  1. Microsoft Word
  2. Google Docs
  3. LibreOffice
  4. Other



Help Documentation

Zotero for Chromebooks

Using Zotero on ChromeOS

The above instructions assume that you use a traditional computer and can install and execute programs on your local device.  Some mobile operating systems like ChromeOS do not allow for this.  ChromeOS users still have several options for using Zotero.

Option 1 - Install Standalone Zotero for Linux if possible

  1. Here is a list of all of the Chromebooks that are able to be set up for Linux

  2. If your device is in this list then here are the instructions for how to set up Linux for your Chromebook

  3. Once you have linux working on your Chromebook you would go through the normal installation process for Zotero as if you had a Linux computer

Option 2 - Use Zotero.org cloud account and Google Docs

Zotero can be used from the zotero.org website as a cloud based citation manager.  By creating an account on zotero.org and installing the zotero connector you can still get all of the citation management benefits from Zotero.  Unfortunately this limits the functionality of Zotero while writing.  The Zotero community has come up with a workaround for using a zotero.org cloud account and Google docs word processor for some ChromeOS users.  The discussion of this workaround is located here.

Option 3 - Use Zotero.org cloud accound and Zotero Bib

Zotero Bib can be used to generate bibliographies without the standalone Zotero installation.  Between Zotero Bib and Zotero.org cloud account, you will still get a lot of benefit to your research workflow but will miss out on some of the automation.