Skip to main content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Zotero

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

Browser Extension

If you installed Zotero for Firefox or any of the of the browser extensions for Safari and Chrome, you are able to save citations automatically from within your browser to your Zotero library. 

  1. Depending on the extension you are using, look for an icon to the left or right of your browser's address bar.
    • Each icon indicates how Zotero is interpreting the webpage you're looking at. Hover over the icon to get more information about what that icon saves.
  2. Click on the icon to save the citation(s). 
  3. In the lower right-hand corner of your web browser, a dialog will pop up displaying the citation information for the particular resource you saved to your library. 
    • If you are currently working in a specific collection (that is, a collection
      highlighted in the left column rather than “My Library”), the reference(s) will be
      copied to that location as well as your main library.

Multiple Citations

On some web pages that list information about multiple items (e.g. a list of database search results), Zotero will show a folder icon. Clicking this folder icon will open a window in which you can select the items that you want to save to your library. This is an image of the folder icon, which allows users to save multiple citations to their Zotero library at once.

This is a screenshot of the dialog that opens once the user has clicked on the folder icon to save multiple citations. The dialog box shows a list of articles with checkmark boxes to the left of each title.

Manual Entry

To add references manually, follow the steps below.

  1. Open Zotero for FireFox or Zotero Standalone.
  2. Click the "New Item" button–a green circle with a a white plus sign inside. This will open a drop-down menu.
  3. Select the appropriate item type. If you don't see the type you want, hover over "More," which will give you many more options.
  4. You can then add metadata in the right column.

Identifier

Zotero can add items automatically using ISBN number, Digital Object Identifier (DOI), and PubMed ID. Follow the instructions below to save by any of these identifiers.

  1. Open Zotero for Firefox or Zotero Standalone.
  2. Click the "Add Item by Identifier" button. The button looks like a wand with a green/white plus sign icon. 
  3. Type the ID number and click "OK". You can also paste or enter a list of such identifiers at once.
    • Tip: Press Shift+Enter for a larger box.

Saving Webpages

Sometimes Zotero can't recognize the type of resource you are viewing in your web browser. Even if Zotero can't automatically capture citation info from a certain web pages, you can still add them to your library.


Saving Screenshots

Taking a screen shot saves a copy of the webpage to your computer, which means if the page is removed later or if you're offline, you'll still be able to view your copy.

  1. Navigate to the reference you want to take a screenshot of. 
  2. Click the screenshot icon in your browser extension of choice. The icon will appear as a blue sheet of paper with a green/white plus sign. 
  3. Navigate to the screenshot in your library to add citation information. See instructions below. 

Tip: You can also change your settings to automatically take screenshots of webpages. See the "Organization, Attatching Files, and Screenshots" tab for more instructions.


Compatibility 

Zotero provides an official list of compatible sites, but keep in mind that many other sites not included on this list work with Zotero as well.