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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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

Using Zotero Online

The web version of Zotero is available for those who wish to work remotely without installing the software, or just like to work online instead of in the desktop version. There is no installation required, you just have to make a Zotero account and login on their website.

To use Zotero online:

  1. Go to the Zotero homepage and click the 'login' button in the upper right corner.
  2. Enter your login information, or create a free account.
  3. Once you are logged in, the browser should take you directly to your library.
  4. You can also navigate to different tabs online to manage "Groups," where you can share citations with others, or "People", where you can follow other Zotero users.

Zotero Standalone

Zotero 5.0 is a desktop software which works with your choice of browser with the help of the Zotero Connector plugin. The desktop application runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems.

To install Zotero 5.0 for the desktop:

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

  2. Select "Download Zotero 5.0 for Mac" or "Download Zotero 5.0 For Windows." If needed, other platforms are listed below.

  3. Run the setup wizard as prompted.

  4. Once you've downloaded Zotero 5.0, add the Zotero Connector for Firefox, Chrome, or Safari.

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

What's the difference between Zotero 5.0 and using Zotero online?

Zotero 5.0 is a good option if:

  • You prefer to use your citation manager in a separate window, rather than in your web browser.
  • You want to insert citations into Microsoft Word or LibreOffice documents.
  • You have a rather large library of citations, and need the extended storage space your computer provides.

Using Zotero Online is a good option if:

  • You work on many different computers, and need a portable library of citations.
  • You have a Chromebook, or other type of laptop that does not allow software installation.

​You can both install Zotero 5.0 and use Zotero online. Make sure to use the "sync" button in the upper right of the online version and Zotero 5.0 and sign in so that your citations sync between them.

Microsoft Word/Libre Office Plugin

The Microsoft Word citation plugin and the LibreOffice Plugin allow you to easily cite items from your Zotero library while writing. If you are using Zotero online you will need to download the plugin separately. The Word/OpenOffice plugin usually downloads automatically with Zotero 5.0. However, if it did not install at the same time as the Zotero Standalone, follow the instructions below:

  1. Open Zotero 5.0
  2. Click "Tools"
  3. Then choose "Add-ons" and install the Word or Libre Office Plugin.