Citation Guide

1. Installation

Before you start, close/quit your word processor and all MS Office applications.

Go to

  1. Install Zotero 5.0.
  2. Download the Zotero Connector for your web browser (available for Chrome, Firefox and Safari).

Problem with the plugin in your word processor? Find solutions here, or try a manual installation of the Zotero plugin for Word on Mac or Windows.

2. Collecting references

a) Importing references from databases and catalouges

When you have a result list in a catalogue, a database or a search engine, there is a document or folder icon in your web browser. This icon looks different depending on if Zotero identifies the material as an article, a book or a web page etc. Click on the document icon to save one reference to your Zotero library. When you click on the folder icon, you can save several references at once.

PLEASE NOTE! Sometimes necessary bibliographic information, such as journal issue, page number or publisher, is missing in the saved reference. In this case, you need to add this manually. Always double check the references in your Zotero library so that your in-text citations and bibliographies are correct!


b) Adding references manually
You can add references manually to your Zotero library. Go to New Item and select the publication type you want to add. Continue by adding information on author, title etc.

c) Adding references by reference numbers
You can add references by ISBN, DOI or PubMed ID. Click Add Item(s) by Identifier and fill in the information.

d) Adding references by importing locally stored PDF's
If you have saved articles as PDF files on your computer, Zotero can sometimes create references from metadata in the files. Drag and drop a PDF to Zotero, or click New ItemStore Copy of File and find the PDF file you want to add. The PDF is saved to Zotero. Right click the file and choose Retrieve Meta Data for PDF. A bibliographic reference will usually be created. If Zotero cannot create the reference, you can add one manually. Right-click on the PDF and choose Create Parent Item.

e) Adding references to web pages
You can create a reference to a web page by clicking on the document icon in the web browser or by right clicking on the web page and choose Zotero Connector Save to Zotero. Add any missing information in the reference manually (author, date and so on).


f) Attaching PDF's to your references

When you have bibliographic references to journal articles in Zotero without attachments, you can right-click them and choose Find Available PDF. Sometimes, Zotero will be able to find and attach the PDF.

If you drag and drop a file to My library or in a folder, a copy of the file will be saved. If you drag and drop the file on an already existing reference, it will be saved to this particular reference. You can also right click on a reference, choose Add Attachment and then select a file.

3. Adding citations to your document

Open your Zotero library. Open the Zotero tab in your word processor. Place the cursor where you want to add an in-text citation and click Add/Edit Citation. First off, choose your preferred citation style (you can change this later on). In the dialogue box from Zotero, search for the source that you want to cite and click Enter. If you would rather browse a list of all your references in Zotero, click on the Z button and choose Classic View. Mark the reference you wish to add and click OK.

You can cite a specific page number or insert a citation without author name. If you want to edit an existing citation, select it. Click on Add/Edit citation. Now a form opens, where you can change how you want the citation to appear. You can also add a page number or suppress authors when you first insert a citation.


Using Zotero in different word processors

Using Zotero with Google Docs.

Using Zotero with Word.

Using Zotero with LibreOffice.

4. Creating a bibliography

When you have finished adding in-text citations to your document, place the cursor where you want your bibliography and click Add/Edit Bibliography. You can change the style of your in-text citations and bibliography by clicking Document Preferences. There are already a number of citation styles to choose from in Zotero, but many more can be downloaded from the Zotero Style Repository. Click on the name of the style to install it.

When you have finished your document, you can remove the connection to Zotero by clicking on Unlink Citations.

PLEASE NOTE! Once removed, the connection to Zotero cannot be recreated. Always save a copy of the document with the connection still intact, if you want to continue to edit it later on.


Create a reading list or bibliography without in-text citations

You can easily create a list of references without in-text citations. Mark the references in your Zotero library, right-click and choose Create Bibliography from Selected Items. Or, drag and drop the references from your Zotero library into a document. Set the preferred citation style in the Export pane of Zotero Preferences.

5. Organizing your library

You can create folders in order to organize your references. Click on New Collection . Drag and drop references to move them between folders.

Zotero creates a few Special Collections to help you organize your library. You can share your own publications in My publications, identify possible duplicates in Duplicate Items and find all references not assigned to a specific collection in Unfiled Items. 

Another way to organize you references if by using tags. Add your own tags to a reference in the right-hand pane of your Zotero library. Zotero sometimes creates automatic tags when you add references with the Zotero browser connector. The Tag Selector add the bottom left of your library displays all tags in the collection your viewing. Click one or several tags to filter your library.

6. Backing up your library

It is important to back up your Zotero library regularly. To back up your library, you can save the entire Zotero folder to the cloud or an external device. Locate the folder by clicking Edit → Preferences → Advanced.  Under the tab Files and Folders you will find the button Show Data Directory which will allow you to locate the folder on your computer.

Read more on how to back up or restore your Zotero library.

7. Synchronizing your library

You can keep your Zotero library synced to the Zotero website, in order to access it on any computer you like. The first step is to create an account on the Zotero website. Then go to Edit Preferences Sync. Fill in your user name and password and check Sync Automatically. Data syncing (library items, notes, links, tags) is free and has no storage limit.

You can also sync your file attachements. There is a free storage of 300 MB and if you wish to sync more, you can buy extra storage.

8. Collaborating

Creating groups makes it possible to share references with others. To do this, you need to create an account. Your group can be either private or public. Click on New Library   New group in Zotero. Your groups are located under Group Libraries

PLEASE NOTE! Sharing full-text files with individuals not affiliated with Uppsala University may be a violation of copyright legislation.

9. Language settings

In the Advanced pane of Zotero Preferences, you can change the language of the Zotero software.

Some of the citation styles are available in several languages. Go to Document Preferences in the Zotero tab in your word processor to change the language of your citation style (when available).

Help and support

You are welcome to contact us at Uppsala University Library! Visit one of our libraries, chat with us on the website or send an email to

You can book an appointment for individual guidance and support:

Upcoming courses can be found in our calendar:

You can also consult the Zotero Documentation: