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Citation Management : Zotero | Updated!

A guide for all things citation management.

What is 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 and PDFs, insert citations to a Google Doc document, and create a bibliography.

As of Spring 2022, Yale Library subscribes to unlimited file syncing storage for Zotero, which can be used to store and synchronize the saved files in your Zotero library on different computers. 

In order to use Yale Library's institutional file storage with Zotero, make sure you have signed up for a Zotero account with your email addressIf you previously registered for Zotero with a different email address, you can add your address to your Zotero account for access to unlimited storage.

  • Log in to your Zotero account at
  • Settings > Account > Add email address
  • Settings > Storage to check your storage status

Access Zotero

Zotero logo



Access Zotero. Click on the large red 'download' button to download Zotero and its browser connectors.

Get Started with Zotero

Add References

There are many ways you can add citations to your Zotero library. For the options listed below, always make sure you have the Zotero application open on your computer before you start searching.

How to add citations with the Zotero Connector plugin
  • Install the Zotero Connector
  • Conduct a search and click on the Zotero icon in your browser toolbar (it will be a book icon, a folder icon, or a paper icon)
  • Item will be saved immediately in your Zotero library. Drag the reference to the appropriate Zotero folder
How to export citations from a database
  • Conduct a search and export a citation or a group of citations
  • Your export will download as a .ris file, and will automatically import into Zotero
How to enter citations manually (as a last resort)
  • Click on the green plus icon on the Zotero Tool Bar
  • Select material type (i.e.: book, book chapter, etc.)
  • Enter information about the item in the pane that appears on the right

Write a Paper

  • Install the Zotero Word Plug-In
  • Open Word. The Zotero tool bar will be under Add-ins (PC) or View toolbars (Mac)
  • Place your cursor in your document where you would like the citation to go
  • Choose your citation style (MLA, APA, etc.)
  • A Zotero library search box will appear
  • Search for your saved citation and select return
  • To insert the bibliography into the paper, select Insert bibliography

Create a Bibliography

  • Highlight one or more references in your Zotero library
  • Right click (PC) or control-click (Mac) and select Create Bibliography from Selected Item(s)
  • Select a citation style (MLA, APA, etc.) and an output format (.txt, .doc, etc.)

Use Zotero with Google Docs

When you open Google Docs in a browser that has a Zotero Connector installed, you will see a Zotero option added to your menu.

How to add a citation to your Google Doc

1. Choose Add/edit citation from the menu. If you don't already have Zotero running on your computer, you will be prompted to do so.

2. Next, you will be prompted to choose your citation style from a pop-up dialog box

3. When you're ready to save or publish your Google Doc, go to:

  • File → Make a copy…
  • in the new document, use Zotero > Unlink Citations to convert the citations and bibliography to plain text.

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.

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 January 11, 2022. Please reach out for corrections or additional information.