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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Zotero

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

Can I Use Zotero with EndNote?

You might want transfer your references between Zotero and EndNote if:

  • You want to make use of the best features of both programs; or
  • You want to share your Zotero references with a colleague who uses EndNote (or vice versa).

Please note that PDFs do not export between programs - only citation information.


Zotero to EndNote

  • Click the gear icon (for settings) in the upper left hand corner of the screen
  • Select "export library"
  • Choose RIS as the file type and make up a file name
  • In EndNote, go to "File," then "Import."
  • Click the "choose file" button, then select the file you just exported from Zotero.
  • Set your Import Option to "Reference Manager (RIS)" and click "Import."


EndNote to Zotero

  • Click "file," then  "export"
  • Set the output style to "RefMan (RIS) Export" and *save as a text file.*
  • In Zotero, click the gear icon (for settings) and choose "import"
  • Double-click the file you just exported from EndNote
  • Note that your imported references will appear in a collection called "Imported" followed by a date and time stamp.

How Do I Back Up Zotero Files?

How do I back up my Zotero library? Where does Zotero store my references, notes and files?

It is important to fully understand how Zotero stores its data so you can correctly back up your Zotero library. By default, your entire Zotero library is stored in the 'zotero' directory of your Firefox profile. The most important file in this directory is the zotero.sqlite file, which contains the majority of your data: item metadata, notes, tags, etc. The directory also contains a 'storage' subdirectory, containing all of your file attachments, such as PDFs, web snapshots, audio files, or any other files you have imported (note that files that are linked are not copied into this subdirectory).

Your 'zotero' directory will likely contain several other files. These can include zotero.sqlite.bak (an automatic backup of zotero.sqlite, which is updated when you quit Firefox and the existing zotero.sqlite.bak file hasn't been updated in the last 12 hours) and zotero.sqlite.[number].bak files (automatic backups of zotero.sqlite that are created during certain updates to the Zotero extension).

Warning: Before you copy, delete or move any of these files, be sure that Firefox is closed. Failure to close Firefox before moving these files can damage your data.

The quickest and most reliable way to find your Zotero data directory is through the “Show Data Directory” button in the Advanced tab of your Zotero Preferences window.

How Do I Sync My Library?

Syncing your library means backing up your citations on Zotero's server. This way you can access your citation remotely and retrieve them if something happens to your personal computer.


In Zotero for Firefox and Zotero Standalone, you will see a green arrow on the right side of your application. If you click on it, it will spin to indicate that it is uploading your citations.

Follow the instructions below to sync your library. 

  1. Open Zotero for Firefox or Zotero Standalone. 
  2. Open Zotero preferences (via the gear icon or "Zotero") and select the "Sync" tab. 
    • You can also access Preferences in Zotero Standalone by clicking on "Zotero" and "Preferences". 
  3. Enter your Zotero user name and password. 
  4. Check the "Sync Automatically" box and click "Ok". Zotero will upload your library to the server. 
    • You will see other options allowing you to sync attachments and full-text content, which you can select at this time. 
  5. Repeat this configuration on each of your computers.  Any updates you make on one of your computers will be reflected on the others.  This even works to synchronize your library among Windows, Mac and Linux computers.

If you're regularly using more than one computer in your research, Zotero's sync feature can keep your library up to date on all of them.  Zotero can store a copy of your library on the Zotero.org server and check it for updates whenever you open your library on a different computer.  All your computers must be running the same version Zotero and be configured to sync to the server.

For more details and help troubleshooting sync problems, check the Zotero site.