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An overview of how to use Zotero to manage your citations.

What is Zotero?

Zotero is a free, open-source tool that allows you to:

  • create in-text citations and bibliographies
  • directly export citations from library databases to keep track of your research
  • create your own database of references
  • share your references and collaborate with others

You can create and access your library of resources through Zotero by creating a free account, downloading the desktop app to your personal device, and by adding the browser extension to your preferred internet browser.

Zotero Tutorial


In addition to the Zotero software detailed below, you can also quickly generate a citation or bibliography entry using ZoteroBib. ZoteroBib is fully online, so there is no need to create an account or install anything to use the service.

Creating a Zotero Account

To use Zotero while on any public computer at the library or on-campus, you'll need to create an account. Creating an account gives you access to all of the sources you currently have saved, along with free cloud storage that can be used to store your citations.

To create a Zotero account:

  1. Go to
  2. Fill in your information. Using your ONU email address is recommended, but is not required.
  3. Submit the form and you'll receive an email with a link to complete the registration process.

Downloading the Zotero Desktop App

While Zotero cannot be downloaded onto the library's computers, you can still download the Zotero desktop app onto your personal computer. Zotero is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems (OS), and much like your online Zotero account, can be used in the same way to keep track of your reference sources.

To download the Zotero desktop app:

  1. Go to
  2. On the left side of the screen, you'll see a Download button. If the displayed version is not your current OS, select any of the links beneath the Download button.

    From the link above, select the version of Zotero that corresponds with your OS

    NOTE: For more information on Zotero Connector, please visit the Zotero Browser Extension page
  3. Open the downloaded file and select Run. This will start the Zotero Setup Wizard
  4. Click Next, then choose Standard, and hit Next again

    Custom setup is recommended for more experienced users
  5. Choose a location to store the Zotero file or leave the default location, and click Install
  6. Finally select Finish and launch Zotero

If you've already created a Zotero account, you can sync the desktop app to your account, which will allow you to access your reference library from anywhere.

To sync your account with the Zotero desktop app:

  1. Open the Zotero Desktop App on your personal computer
  2. Select Edit, then Preferences
  3. Select the Sync tab at the top of the window
  4. Select Link Account, and then enter your information.

After you've linked your account, Zotero will begin syncing your reference library, allowing you to access your library from anywhere through your account.

Installing the Zotero Browser Extension

Zotero has an easy to use tool that installs in any web browser called the Save to Zotero button. With this browser extension, you can save a set of search results, an individual article, or a screenshot of a page directly to your Zotero desktop app. You can also easily edit the metadata of your saved resources prior to importing them into Zotero. The Save to Zotero button grabs information from any web page – in some cases a complete article – and adds it to your Zotero library. 

To add the Save to Zotero button to your browser from Zotero, click on Tools at the top menu of the Zotero desktop app, and select Install Browser Connector.

Select Tools, then Install Browser Connector

This will link you to the Zotero webpage where you can install the browser extension.

Select Install to add the Zotero browser extension

If the webpage does not open in your preferred internet browser, you can either select the Show all connectors link at the bottom left of the screen, or you can copy the URL and paste it into your preferred browser.

Once you’ve installed the extension, you're ready to use the Save to Zotero button to capture information. Depending on the content of the page, Zotero will save the information as a news article or a screenshot, or will give you the option to save multiple resources from a database directly to your Zotero library. All of these options will retain access to the original site from which the information was recieved.

Helpful Resources and Documentation

Below are links to resources and documentation put together by Zotero that you may find helpful when starting out. You can find more on Zotero's Support page: