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Citation Management : Zotero

A guide for all things citation management.

Access Zotero

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Download Zotero. Zotero is a citation management program for your desktop with cloud storage online. Zotero helps you collect and organize your research information, including books, articles, chapters, news, archives, and more. With Zotero, you can manage citations; take notes; save, organize, and annotate PDFs; insert citations to a Google Doc or Word document; and create a bibliography.

Get Started with Zotero

There are many ways to add citations to your Zotero library. Three popular methods are described below. For additional options, see the documentation from Zotero.

Recommended: Start by creating a new "Collection" for each research project or topic. Read more about how to create a new "Collection".

Add citations with the Zotero Connector plugin
  • Install the Zotero Connector
  • Conduct a search. Click on the Zotero plugin on your browser toolbar (the plugin icon will change based on the type of resource, such as book, newspaper, article, etc.)
  • The item will be saved to your Zotero library

The Zotero Connector is a great way to save books from Quicksearch: Books.

Export citations from a database
  • Conduct a search. Look for a quotation mark (") icon, or any option labelled as "Share," "Cite," or "Export" (the language will vary between databases)
  • Select the option for Zotero or .ris
  • Your export will download (.ris). If it does not automatically import, double click the file to open with Zotero.

This option is a great way to save citations from Articles+ and other library databases.

Enter citations manually
  • Click on the green plus icon on the Zotero tool bar
  • Pick your material type (i.e.: book, book chapter, etc.)
  • Enter information about the item in the editing pane on the right

Use Zotero with Microsoft Word

When you download Zotero and the Zotero Connector plugin you will also enable integration with Microsoft Word and Google Docs to add citations and update a bibliography as you write. Brief instructions are provided below, or view the documentation from Zotero.

Follow the instructions below to get started using Microsoft Word:

1. Open Microsoft Word. From the Zotero tab in the tool bar, select "Add/Edit Citation."

  • A Zotero library search box will appear
  • Search for your saved citation and select return on your keyboard

2. After adding at least 1 citation, you can now insert a bibliography. From the Zotero tab in the tool bar, select "Insert Bibliography." 

3. When you're ready to share your document, you will need to disconnect the citations from your Zotero library. This action cannot be undone. To preserve a linked copy with your sharable document:

  • File → Make a copy…
  • in the new document, use Zotero > Unlink Citations

Alternatively, you can save your document as a PDF, which will automatically unlink your citations.

Zotero Updates

March 2022: Zotero 6 is now available!

Learn more about Zotero 6. Updates include:

  • An internal, tabbed PDF reader
  • PDF mark-up options with highlights, notes, and image annotations
  • Add annotations to Zotero notes with automatic citations

Upgrade from within Zotero by going to Help > “Check for Updates…”.

February 2022: Yale Library subscribes to unlimited file syncing storage for Zotero. 

Make sure you have signed up for a Zotero account with your email address. If you previously registered for Zotero with a different email address, you can add your address to your Zotero account for access to unlimited storage.

Verify that your account has unlimited storage by going to: Settings > Storage > Current Plan

Use Zotero with Google Docs

The Zotero Connector plug-in will also enables integration with Microsoft Word and Google Docs. Brief instructions are provided below, or view the documentation from Zotero.

  1. Open Google Docs. Select "Add/Edit Citation" from the Zotero toolbar (image below).
  2. You can insert a bibliography after adding at least 1 citation. From the Zotero toolbar, select "Add/Edit Bibliography."
  3. When you're ready to save or publish your Google Doc, go to:
  • File → Make a copy…
  • in the new document convert the citations and bibliography to plain text. Select Zotero > Unlink Citations.

Note: If someone views your active Google Doc without having the Zotero Connector installed they can still read and/or edit, but active citations will show up as links leading to URLs. Once saved, you cannot re-link citations.

Screenshot of the Zotero option in Google Docs








More documentation on Zotero in Google Docs.

Zotero Support

If you still need help using Zotero, contact a librarian!

Page Updates

This page was updated by Kelly Blanchat on April 18, 2023. Please reach out for corrections or additional information.