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Zotero: Home

Zotero can help you keep track of your research, organize citations, and create bibliographies


This guide is designed to help you get started with the citation management program Zotero. Citation management software helps you keep track of your research, organize citations, and create bibliographies.

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Using Zotero

Zotero downloads automatically as a desktop client. You can also install a browser connector.

1) Go to the Zotero Download page at

2) Download a browser Connector to allow your web browser to save citations to your Zotero library for Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

Each browser has its own version of the Zotero connector, so if you use multiple browsers, you'll need to install it separately for each browser.



Zotero lets you save references from most library catalogs (including USC's) and databases, with one click.

If Zotero detects that you're looking at a book or article on a catalog, database, or other compatible site, you'll see a book or page icon appear in the utility bar of your browser. 

Click the icon, and Zotero will automatically save the citation to your library. If you'd like to see additional options for saving, click the arrow next to the icon.

After clicking the Zotero icon, you'll see it save to your library in the bottom right hand corner of your browser window.

Zotero can't automatically capture citation info from some web pages, but you can still add them to your Zotero library.

Click the Zotero button to access Zotero's controls and expand the Zotero pane. Click the page button (to the right of the green plus sign) to save a link to the page. This will save a new "web page" item to your library. You can add information about the author, etc., if you wish.

It's easy to create a bibliography from your Zotero library.

Select the references or collections you want to include. Hold the control key and click to select multiple items. Right-click one of the selected items and choose Create Bibliography.

Choose the bibliographic style you want, select Copy to Clipboard, click OK and paste into your word processor.

Zotero offers word processing plugins for Word and OpenOffice. The plugin adds a Zotero toolbar to your word processor that allows you to add citations to your document while you write.

To add a citation, click the first button ("Insert Citation") on the toolbar. Search for the reference you want to cite and press Enter. Zotero will add the citation at your cursor.

At the end of your paper, click the third button ("Insert Bibliography"). Your bibliography will appear, and new citations will be added automatically. Change bibliographic styles with the last button on the toolbar ("Set Doc Prefs").

Other Zotero Functions

Sync Your Library: If you regularly use more than one computer in your research, Zotero's sync feature can keep your library up to date on all of them, both in the desktop client and the web version. All your computers must be running the same version of Zotero. Here's how:

  1. Set up a free user account.
  2. Open Zotero preferences (via the gear menu) and select the Sync tab.
  3. Enter your Zotero user name and password.
  4. Check the "sync automatically" box.
  5. Check both boxes under File Syncing and choose Zotero storage for My Library. This will sync your PDF attachments as well as citations.
  6. Click the green circular arrow button at the top right corner of the Zotero window. Zotero will upload your library to the server.

Find It at USC: You've probably seen the Find it @ USC button in some article databases that allows you to locate the full text of an article online. Zotero allows you to use the same feature. To set up access to the Find it @ USC server, click the gear button on the Zotero toolbar, and choose "Preferences" then paste this link into the "Resolver:"

Add Additional Citation Styles to Zotero:

Zotero comes with the most common bibliographic styles, but many more are available to download.

To install a style (Firefox):

  1. Go to the Zotero Style Repository page in Firefox.
  2. Search for the name of the style you need.
  3. Click the Install link next to the style, then the Install button to confirm.


Creative Commons License Content on this guide was originally created by Jason Puckett and licensed by Georgia State University Library under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommerical 3.0 United States License. It has been adapted and added to for the Zotero Research Guide at USC.


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Alyssa Brissett

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