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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Zotero

Learn how to use Zotero, a free citation management tool.

Zotero for Firefox

Zotero for Firefox works on any operating system that runs Mozilla Firefox—a free, open source web browser. Installation only takes a few seconds. If you want to save citations from your web browser automatically, you will need to install a browser plugin, such as this one.

To install the browser plugin:

  1. Go to the Zotero homepage and click the red "Download Now" button.
  2. Click "Zotero for Firefox" and follow the instructions.
  3. Click "Allow" for Firefox, and give necessary permissions in other browsers.
  4. Restart your browser is prompted and you're all set! You'll see a small button button in the upper right of the browser, or at the end of the address bar.

The button has three icons:

  • The icon on the left is a Z. This allows you to launch your Zotero library from within your browser.
  • The icon in the center changes according to the type of resource you are viewing in your browser.
  • The icon on the left is a downward-facing arrow. This allows you to save the reference to Zotero as a webpage with or without a screenshot.

This is an image of the Zotero for Firefox bookmarklet. It is a series of three icons. The icon on the left is a Z; the icon in the middle may be a sheet of paper, however, it changes according to the type of resource you are viewing in your browser; and the last icon is a downward-facing arrow.

If you have any problems, check the Zotero installation page.

Zotero Standalone

Zotero Standalone is a separate application which plugs into your choice of browser. The standalone application runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems.

To install Zotero Standalone for the desktop:

  1. Go to the Zotero homepage and click the red "Download Now" button.

  2. If you are running a Windows operating system, click on "Download Zotero for Windows." Otherwise, scroll down and click your operating system under "Client".

  3. Run the setup wizard as prompted.

  4. Once you've downloaded Zotero Standalone, add one of the browser extensions for Firefox, Chrome, or Safari.

If you have any problems, check the Zotero installation page.

What's the difference between Zotero Standalone and Zotero for Firefox?

Zotero Standalone is a good option for you if you:

  • Prefer using Safari or Chrome.
  • Prefer to use your citation manager in a separate window, rather than in your web browser.
  • Want to insert citations into Word or Libre documents.

Zotero Standalone runs as a separate program on your computer, rather than running in Firefox.

You can install both Zotero Standalone and Zotero for Firefox and use both versions on the same computer. Make sure to use the "sync" button in the upper right of the online version and Zotero Standalone and sign in so that your citations sync between them.

Browser Extensions

Zotero browser extensions allow you to save items to Zotero from within browsers other than Firefox, using Zotero's site translators.

NOTE: While you can use the Chrome and Safari extensions without switching to Zotero Standalone, you will not be able to add citations to Word or Libre Office documents without Zotero Standalone

Microsoft Word/Libre Office Plugin

The Microsoft Word citation plugin and the OpenOffice plugin allow you to easily cite items from your Zotero library while writing. If you are using Zotero for Firefox you will need to download the plugin separately. The Word/OpenOffice plugin usually downloads automatically with Zotero Standalone. However, if it did not install at the same time as the Zotero Standalone, follow the instructions below:

  1. Open Zotero Standalone
  2. Click "Tools"
  3. Then choose "Add-ons" and install the Word or Libre Office Plugin.