Installation and preferences

1. Install the desktop application and the browser Connector

  1. Go to the Zotero Download page.

  2. Install Zotero(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:

  • Edit the citation
  • Create Collections
  • Reorganize
  • Export
  • Add noteszotero.org
  • Upload attachments

Things you can't do:

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


Zotero for Mobile

You can use Zotero from your mobile device. You will need to have a Zotero.org account. There is an app for IOS and a beta version of an app for Android. Information and links can be found at Zotero for Mobile.

After installing the app, login to your Zotero.org account. Touch My Library to display your folders. Touch one of the folders to display the references in that folder. 

Touch and hold a reference to view a pop-up menu that lets you take actions on the reference such as adding or removing it from a collection.

Touch the information symbol  to the right of a reference to view its record. On a record touch Edit to edit the record.

To add a reference by identifier, barcode, or manually, touch the  icon at the top of the screen.

Add additional email address as backup

Add an additional email address so you can continue access if your original email account becomes inactive.

Go to zotero.org > Settings > Account

add email to account


Recommended plugins


  • ZoteroPreview

Adds a Preview tab to the right pane so you can see what the citation will look like with one click.

Preview tab

ZoteroPreview. How to install

Go to GitHub and download the .xpi file


In Zotero

  • Go to Tools > Add-ons
    If the pop up looks blank, resize it by using your cursor to drag the side edge in or out.
  • Click the gear icon and select Install Add-on from File
    Install Add-on from File
  • Navigate to the downloaded file > Double click to open
  • Click the link to restart Zotero now
    Restart Zotero now link
  • After installing and restarting:
    • Highlight an item
    • Click the Preview tab that should now appear in the right pane
      Preview tab
    • Click the "Choose Preview Style" button at the bottom of the pane
    • Select your citation style

Choose preview style


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. Select your citation style

If your citation style is: Select this style in Zotero
APA American Psychological Association 7th edition
Chicago Author-Date Chicago Manual of Style 17th edition (author-date)
Chicago Notes / Bibliography Chicago Manual of Style 17th edition (full note)
INFORMS Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
AMS American Meteorological Society
ASME (Mechanical Engineers) American Society of Mechanical Engineers

To search for and add a style:

  1. Go to Preferences > Cite > Get additional style
  2. Search for the style name
  3. Click on the name > OK

To remove a style:

  1. Go to Preferences > Cite
  2. Highlight the style(s) you don't need
  3. Click the minus button

remove styles

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 library commercial database name

A DOI is always preferred and sometimes available for items from library commercial databases. But if it isn't available, you can use the name of the database instead.

To enable that feature:

  • Go to Preferences > Cite tab
  • Check the box under "Citation Options" 

This allows the name of the database to appear in your citation.


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



  1. In the middle pane, highlight the item you want to check for
  2. Click on the little green arrow (the Locate icon).
  3. 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