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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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

What is Zotero?

Zotero is a free citation management software available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS systems.

It enables users to collect, manage, and cite research from all types of sources. It is easy to use, and offers both a web version and desktop software version. Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, notes, images and screenshots to your citations, to organize them into collections for different projects, and to create bibliographies using Word, LibreOffice, or Google Docs.

Zotero can detect what type of resource you are viewing online, including articles, books, and webpages. You can then use it to find and save the full reference information. If the source is an online article or webpage, Zotero can optionally store a copy of the source as a screenshot. You can then add notes, tags, and related resources.

To use Zotero, you can either log into Zotero online from their website, or download Zotero 6, which runs as a separate application but connects to your favorite browser after you install the appropriate plugin. The plugin, called Zotero Connector, works with Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Edge. Zotero 6 also automatically installs plugins into the word processors Word, LibreOffice, and Google Docs, so you can 'cite while you write.'

For more help, see this official Zotero guide on their website.

Comparing Zotero to Other Citation Managers

If you're interested in comparing Zotero to other major citation managers, check out the following links:

Be sure to check the Savvy Researcher calendar for our citation management overview workshop, "Choosing a Citation Manager" and other workshops on the tools in this guide.