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CSD 549 Zotero Guide: Home

What is Zotero?

Zotero is a free, easy-to-learn reference manager and citation generator.  It works by having desktop software that you download, plus a “connector” that communicates with it.  The steps below will ease you into using Zotero.

Zotero Exercise

  1. Download and install Zotero:
  • The computer will ask you:  Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?  Answer NO (it will install anyway). 
  • Also download and install the Zotero connector for Chrome
  • Create an account (at > login > register) if you wish to sync or share files

Zotero should launch automatically when you install it.  If it doesn’t, open it from the desktop.   

  • Tip: Go under Edit > Preferences and uncheck “Automatically tag items with keywords”
  1. Add references
  • Zotero works with databases of all sorts.  

Go to PubMed ( in Chrome

Sample search: stroke dysphagia and electrical stimulation

  • Click on the Zotero icon to add the page to your resources
  • Note the differences in folders vs. individual items (Zotero icon changes)

Go to Google ( in Chrome  

Sample search: stroke dysphagia

  • Note the differences between articles vs. webpages vs. videos (icon changes)
  1. Add information to your references within Zotero
  • When you go into Zotero and click on a citation, you get the full info to the right

Click the drop-down arrow to see if full text is available

  • Add notes
  • Add tags
  1. Add a reference manually
  • Dysphagia following stroke, by Stephanie K. Daniels (San Diego: Plural, 2014)
  • Wand icon + DOI or ISBN adds it manually: Try 9781597565448
  • You can also attach a file to a reference (note: the free version has a size limit)
  1. Create folders (collections) to organize information
  • My Library is the master list. 
  • Create a folder, then select and move references over from My Library.


  1. Cite your sources automatically in Word
  • Look for the Zotero tab in Microsoft Word
  • When you need to insert a citation, click that tab!
  • Click Add/Edit Citation > Classic View … and select the citation to insert
  • This works in Google Docs too!
  1. Generate a bibliography
  • In Microsoft Word, select the Zotero tab and click Add/Edit Bibliography
  • In Zotero, select references, right click, and select Create Bibliography from Items
  1. Collaborate and sync files
  • To create a group or sync files, you need to create a Zotero account and log in
  • In Zotero, sync collections using the green arrow in the top right corner
    • The first time you do this, you’ll be asked to open sync preferences and sign in.
  • At, create a group if you wish:
    • Groups > [Name it] > Create Group
    • To invite members, look under “Member Settings”


Charlotte Ford's picture
Charlotte Ford
Carmichael Library, Station 6100
Montevallo, AL 35115