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Using Zotero: Getting Started

What is Zotero?

Zotero is a free, citation management program that connects with your web browser so you can collect, organize, cite and share your research sources.  Quickly create a bibliography in multiple citation styles (Chicago, MLA, APA, et al) and automatically manage in-text citations in Microsoft Word using Zotero.

Steps for Setting up Zotero

Go to and click download.  There are two steps to installing Zotero

1. Download Zotero for your operating system.  Close Word before you run installer so it can install the Word toolbar allowing you to insert citations and create bibliographies in Word.


2.  Click the "Install Connector" for the browser you use (Chrome, Firefox, Safari) Zotero does not work with Internet Explorer/Edge


3,  Zotero Online Account- It is also helpful to register and create an account with Zotero.  This will allow you to back up your Library to Zotero's cloud-based servers.

Video Tutorial: Getting Started

Video from Georgia State University Library

Collecting Citations: Books and Articles

Zotero can detect what type of information source you are viewing online, including articles, books and webpages.  In the address bar of the browser, the Zotero Connector will change from Z  undefined to a book or page icon depending on the type of resource you are viewing. 

Just click the icon and Zotero will automatically save the full citation information.  Tip:  The Zotero program must be open.


If you're on a page of search results with many items, you'll see a folder icon instead. Click this icon to get a list of all the citations on the page and check off the ones you want to save.

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Zotero is laid out in three columns with the Toolbar on top.

  • Left Column:  My Library, along with folders you create by subject, source type...
  • Center Column:  List of items in My LIbrary (all your references) or the references in the folders you've created
  • Right Column:  Full citation information about a specific reference you selected in the center column




Organizing your Zotero Library

By default, Zotero stores new citations in "My Library." 

  • My Library lists all the citations/references you have collected via Zotero

Collections help you better organize your references. Collections are similar to file folders on your computer; however, in Zotero a reference can be in more than one collection at a time. 

At the top left is a folder button with a green plus sign. Click this to create a new "collection."  

Drag and drop reference into new collection



Book Sections/Chapters

To manually add a reference to a chapter or article in a book, click the New Item button and choose "Book Section."

For a single chapter from a book by the same author(s) throughout:

Fill in the fields relevant to the chapter, observing the capitalization standards of your citation style. Note that the “Title” field refers to the chapter title.


For a section in a book collecting several articles, with book-level editors:

Fill in the fields relevant to the chapter, observing the capitalization standards of your citation style. Note that the “Title” field refers to the article or chapter title, and the "Author" field refers to the article or chapter author(s).

To insert the name of the book's editor(s), click the plus sign next to the “Author” field. In the new author field that appears, click the carat next to “Author” and change it to “Editor,” and enter the editor’s name. Repeat this process if the book has multiple editors, or if the article or chapter has multiple authors.

Collecting Citations: Websites

With the Zotero connector, you can add citation information for websites by clicking on the Page icon.


Sometimes Zotero is not able to automatically capture citation info from certain web pages, but you can still add them to your Zotero library.

Right-click in your browser and choose "Save to Zotero" from the menu. This will save a new "web page" item to your library. You can add information about the author and other citation elements.  You can also attach a snapshot of the page to the citation and will save a copy of the page to your computer.  If the page is removed later, or if you're offline, you'll still be able to view your copy.


Adding Citations Manually

Open the Zotero program

  • Select the green "New Item" button undefined at the top of the center column
  • Select the appropriate item type (book, book section, article...) Hover over More to view other options
  • Enter the citation elements in the right panel- the empty space will change with the new information