Installation and preferences

1. Install the desktop application and the browser Connector

1. Go to the Zotero Download page.

Zotero download   

2. Install the Zotero 5.0 application (for Windows, Mac, or Linux). This also installs the Word plugin.

3. Install the Zotero Connector for your browser(s)

2. Verify installation

  1. Open the Zotero application.
  2. Open Word and verify that Zotero shows up as a tab in the Ribbon.
    Word plug in
  3. Open your browser and look for the Connector icon in the upper right with your other add ons.
    Zotero connector

If you don't see these tools, visit our Troubleshoot page.

3. Create a free Zotero.org account

An account is not required, however, having one enables you to:

  • Add items to your library from any computer or mobile device
  • Sync with your Zotero desktop application, so you can then add citations in Word
  • Keep 300 MB of storage free (with an option to purchase additional storage)
  • Create Groups and collaborate with other Zotero users in shared libraries

To create an account:

  • Go to zotero.org > Log In > Register for a free account
  • Create your own password. It is not associated with your NPS credentials.

Zotero login

Things you can do with your online account:

  • Add items with the Bookmarklet when on your mobile device or when you can't install the Zotero desktop program.
  • Add noteszotero.org
  • Upload attachments
  • Edit the citation
  • Create Collections
  • Reorganize
  • Export

Things you can't do:

  • Cite in and sync with your Word document. That has to be done with the desktop app.


Bookmarklet (browser)

Alternate method of adding items to your library

  • Use on mobile devices

  • Or when the browser Connector is not installed (example: NPS networked computers)

With the Bookmarklet, you can add items your online library (zotero.org), then when you are using your own computer with the desktop program installed, you can work in Word to cite in your paper.

Zotero bookmarklet
Install the Save to Zotero Bookmarklet


Add additional email address as backup

Add an additional email address so you can continue access if your original email account becomes inactive, For example, if you used your NPS email originally, you can switch to your personal email account as primary after you leave.

Go to zotero.org > Settings > Account

add email to account

Windows vs. Mac Preferences

Windows Mac

Edit > Preferences 

Zotero preferences pc

Zotero > Preferences

Zotero preferences Mac

1. Syncing

While Zotero stores all data locally on your computer by default, Syncing allows you work with your data from any computer with the Zotero application installed, and access your online library (zotero.org) on any computer with Internet access. it also allows for up to date sharing within group libraries.

Syncing has two parts:  Data Syncing and File Syncing.

Data syncing
Merges library items, notes, links, tags, etc.—everything except attachment files. Data syncing is free, has no storage limit, and can be used without file syncing.

  1. Make sure you already have a free Zotero.org account
  2. Open your Zotero desktop
  3. Go to Preferences > Sync tab
  4. Enter your Username and Password
  5. Choose what and when you want syncing to happen

Zotero data sync

File Syncing
Syncs attached files (PDFs, audio and video files, images, etc.). Files will use some of your storage.
(You can link to files, but they will not be synced.)
Match these settings:

Zotero file sync

2. PDF Indexing

You can search the full text of PDFs when you select "Everything" in the basic search drop down menu.

If PDF Indexing isn't enabled, go to Preferences > Search.

  • Click the “Install PDF Tools” button to install them, or
  • Click the "Check for Update" button


3. Classic Add Citations Dialog

Use the Classic Add Citations dialog

  1. Cite tab
  2. Word Processors tab
  3. Check mark "Use classic Add Citation dialog"

Classic Add Citation

4. Allow for inclusion of database name

When you cite a reference from a library database, you use the name of the database, not the URL. To enable that feature:

  • Check the box under "Citation Options" 
  • In the Info Tab, type the name of the database in the URL field.



Library Lookup

To easily determine if the full text of an item is available through Dudley Knox Library.

1.  Go to Preferences > Advanced tab​

2.  Paste this URL into the Resolver box. Make sure you capture the entire URL, and that there are no breaks in the string.



Zotero library URL resolver


3.  To see if Dudley Knox Library has the full text of the item:

  • Select a Collection (folder)
  • In the middle pane, highlight the item you want to check for
  • Click on the little green arrow (the Locate icon).
  • Select Library Lookup
    Zotero library lookup

Adjust font size

To make the font size larger on your Zotero desktop interface

Go to View > Font Size