Zotero is a free*, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.
*You receive 300 MB of free storage from Zotero when you sign up for an account. The storage is for PDFs, web page snapshots, and other files associated with items you add to your Zotero account. You may purchase additional Zotero storage at any time. Adding items to your Zotero without attaching files will not count against your storage.
Downloading, Installing, & Configuring Zotero
Video of Basic Installation and Configuration
Download & Install Firefox
Zotero is best used as an add-on for Firefox. If you do not already have Firefox on your computer, go to the Firefox website and click on the image that reads Firefox: Free Download.
Download & Install Zotero
While in Firefox, download
the latest version of Zotero for Firefox from the Zotero
When prompted to install, click Allow, then Install Now, then Restart Now.
Register for an Account
Firefox will reopen and you will be prompted to create an account. Registering for an account allows you to sync your Zotero library to the cloud, to create group libraries to collaborate with other Zotero users, and to monitor your storage usage.
Find Zotero Preferences
Configure Zotero by going to Preferences. click the Zotero icon in the lower right corner of Firefox and then the gear icon.
Sync Zotero for Firefox with Your Online Account
In the Sync tab, enter the username and password you created earlier. Zotero will automatically sync your citations and attached documents with your online account. You can also sync Zotero across multiple computers.
Enable PDF Indexing
In the Search tab, click Check for installer, then Install.Zotero will make the full text of all of your PDFs searchable. You'll also be able to drag PDFs to Zotero and automatically retrieve information about them.
Install Microsoft Word or LibreOffice Plugin
In the Cite tab, click on Get word Processor plug-ins ... to get the latest version of the Microsoft Word or LibreOffice plugin. Make sure to choose the right platform (Windows or Mac). When prompted to install, click Allow, then Install Now, then Restart Now. If Word or LibreOffice is open you will need to restart it for the Zotero toolbar to appear.
The Cite tab is also where you go to use the classic Add Citation dialog box which some find to be easier to use for locating material within Zotero and in adding page numbers for citations.
Set Up General Preferences
In the General tab uncheck, if applicable, the following boxes under Miscellaneous.
If you do not want pdfs to be automatically downloaded into Zotero along with citation information, go to the General tab and uncheck the box next to Automatically attach associated PDFs and other files when saving items.
If you are planning to use annotation software with pdfs uncheck the box next to Open PDFs and other files within Firefox when possible. This will allow you to modify your files in software like Adobe Reader and then save them back into Zotero.
Some users prefer to prevent Zotero from automatically importing subject headings from databases along with citation information, either because they do not find these useful or prefer to only use their own tagging. You may do this by unchecking the box next to Automatically tag items with keywords and subject headings.