Using Zotero

On this page, you will find information on using the reference management tool Zotero.

Norsk versjon: Bruke Zotero

Icon for Academic Writing: blue circle with white pencil in the midleSee also "Academic Writing" and Using and citing sources

What is Zotero?

Zotero is a reference management tool and it’s an open-source program that is free to download and use (up to 300 MB).

Zotero collects, manages and cites sources in a similar way as EndNote and RefWorks. It works with Windows, Mac or Linux systems.

 Download Zotero + Connector

  1. Download the program by clicking on the "Download" button.
    • If you want the browser addon to Zotero that can link resources you find in your browser to your Zotero library, press the "Install browser Connector" and it will prompt an installation in the browser you are using.
  2. If you want to have an online backup of your library and the ability to share your library with others, register a user at for syncing and sharing libraries.
  3. Confirm new user by email and log in to
  4. You will find Zotero among the programs on your PC/Mac, possibly as a Z on your toolbar. Folder icon is used for downloading references and may be shown on the toolbar or next to the browser address bar.
  5. Open Zotero
  6. Go to Edit - Preferences / Settings - Sync: Enter user info in the sync fields.

Checklist after installation

  • Has the Zotero program come into place?

The Zotero program can appear as a Z on the taskbar in the browser. If not, look among your programs.

  • Has the folder icon come into place in the browser?

You click this icon when loading/importing references from a website or database to your Zotero library. The icon looks like a Z and can be located to the right or to the left of the address bar in your browser.

  • Do you have a Zotero menu in Word?

The Zotero menu can look different in different browsers. You can have a Zotero menu behind the option "Add-ons" or it will show as a Zotero icon.

You can use Zotero with


In the Zotero program:

  • Go to Preferences (Under Edit in Toolbar on Zotero).
  • Go to "Cite" and click the "Word Processors" tab.
  • Select "Use classic Add Citation dialog". Then your library will appear in a separate window. From here, choose which reference you want to insert into your text.
  • You can download multiple styles from or use "Preferences" - "Cite", select the Styles tab.

In Word:

Click on "Document Preferences"

Video: Adding In-Text Citations & A Bibliography

Video: Creating Quick Bibliographies

Video: Changing the Zotero Citation Style


You have to add the same connector as for Word.

Google products

Video: How Zotero works with Google tools

Information about: Zootero and Google Docs


Zotero and BibTex Quick Guide

It's fine to export the library with references from Zotero to BibTeX. Be aware that every time you change the Zotero library, it must be exported to BibTeX again.

The Zotero library

Add references

You can easily add references by clicking the Zotero save button on the Firefox toolbar, or you can add them manually.

icon for adding references manually

"My library" shows all the references you have in your library in the middle column.

Video: Adding Items to your Zotero Library

PDF file/other files

When you save PDF and other types of files - drag and drop the desired PDF file to your Zotero library. Right-click and select "retrieve metadata for PDF" to retrieve a reference.

Video: Retrieving metadata for PDF in Zotero


All items have metadata. The metadata are displayed in the right column in Zotero.


You can structure My library to create multi-level collections. You can click and drag items from My library to the desired collection.

Video: Making your library: Collections

Example from the video: Making your library: Collections

Search and tag

You can tag items with explanatory names. You can then search for and get listed all items marked with the same tag.

Video: Making your library: Tags


In the metadata at the right in the Zotero pane you can use notes to write a summary of the source, strength and weaknesses, its conclusions, why it is relevant, relationships to other studies, evaluation of research method, author’s background, your own conclusion and more.

Video: Using Notes Effectivly


Items in the center column in the Zotero pane can be sorted by properties as title, creator and date added to the Zotero library.

More info about sorting.

Reference styles

Zotero can give several hundred different reference styles. You can choose from numeric, author-year styles, IEEE, Nature and specific styles for several journals.

Reference styles often used at NTNU.

Zotero Style Repository

Journal abbreviations

Zotero comes with a built-in journal abbreviation list. Click on “Zotero Bibliographic Management: Zotero Set Doc Prefs” under the Word “Add-In” menu and you can see the option “Medline journal abbreviations will be automatically generated using journal titles”.

More information about Automatic Journal Abbreviations.

Collaborate/share Zotero library

By creating groups you can collaborate with your colleagues in the same research group, or with other researchers at other institutions. If you want to create a group you have to register to login to You can create a group with Public, open membership, Public, closed membership or with Private membership.

More information about groups.

How to use Zotero on multiple computers

If you want to use Zotero on multiple computers, the best way is to sync your libraries automatically via the zotero server. You have to register to login to the zotero server. When you are logged in you find your library under “My Library”.

More information about how to use Zotero on multiple computers.

Tips and tricks

Read more about tips and tricks on

Courses and help

Physical and digital courses – If you are getting started with Zotero, NTNU University Library arranges introductory courses regularly.

The Virtual Library - Here you can get Zotero guidance via Zoom. You will meet competent people from the University Library ready to answer your questions every weekday.

NTNU Hjelp - If you have questions abut Zotero or installation.


Follow our Innsida channel “Nytt fra Universitetsbiblioteket” (“News from the University Library”).

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