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Zotero Guide

UTA Libraries' guide to the citation management tool Zotero


Zotero recommends taking the following steps to troubleshoot problems:

  1. Updating Zotero: First, check to see which version of Zotero you are running. This is done by selecting "About Zotero" from the Zotero menu on a Mac or from the Help menu on a Windows or Linux computer. If you are not running the latest version, upgrade Zotero.
  2. Checking the troubleshooting pages: Zotero maintains a Knowledge Base through which you can search for the problem affecting you. Zotero also maintains troubleshooting pages that are specific to certain problems:
  3. Searching the forums: Check to see if your problem has been noted (and possibly resolved) in the Zotero forums.
  4. Posting to the forums: After you create an account, read the forum guidelines, and review the procedures for reporting problems, you can post to the forums yourself. For more information, see the documentation about how Zotero support works.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How can I back up my Zotero library?

Zotero strongly recommends regularly and frequently backing up your library, ideally by using an automatic backup utility to back up your hard drive to an external device. It is also possible to back up Zotero data by doing the following: locate your Zotero data, close Zotero, and then copy your entire directory to a backup location, ideally on another storage device.

How can I access my Zotero library from different computers?

You can use Zotero Sync to access your Zotero library from multiple computers. You can also store your Zotero data directory on an external hard drive and use this to move your Zotero data between computers or run a copy of Zotero directly from a portable drive.

How can I have multiple Zotero accounts on the same computer?

You can do this by creating multiple Zotero profiles.

How can I add a book chapter from an edited volume to my Zotero library?

To add a book chapter from an edited volume, click on the green "new item" button and select “Book Section.” You will see both a “Title” field for the chapter title and a separate “Book Title” field for the book title. You can add an editor by clicking on the "+" sign on the "Author" line in the right column, which will create an additional "Author" line. You can click the triangle to the left of the new author field to change it to an "Editor" line.

How can I see which collections an item is in?

To see which collections an item is in, select the item and hold down either the "Option" key (on Mac OS X), the "Control" key (on Windows), or the "Alt" key (on Linux), which will highlight all the collections that contain the item selected. You can include subcollections by clicking in the collections pane and pressing the "+" key.

How can I import bibliographies from text files (such as Microsoft Word documents or PDFs) into Zotero?

Importing bibliographies can be done with Reference Extractor for Microsoft Word ".docx" documents that have Zotero (or Mendeley) citation fields that were inserted with the Word plugins from these citation management tools (CMTs). If you have the references in a reference manager, you can also export them from this program to a file format for exchanging bibliographic metadata, such as RIS or BibTeX, and then import this file into Zotero.

How can I use Zotero with Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or LibreOffice?

Zotero has guides for using it in Google Docs, as well as for the plugins it offers for Microsoft Word and LibreOffice.

How much free storage does Zotero have?

Zotero provides 300 MB of free storage. It is also possible to purchase 2 GB for $20/year, 6 GB for $60/year, and an unlimited amount of storage for $120/year.

How can I maximize my storage space?

You can maximize your storage space by disabling automatic attachments and by linking to files stored on your hard drive instead of storing them on the Zotero server.

Can I take notes on the PDFs stored in my Zotero library?

Yes, as of March 2021, it is now possible to take notes on the PDFs stored in Zotero with a new "early preview" feature. See Zotero's documentation page "Zotero PDF Reader and New Note Editor" for more information. This feature is expected to become standard after the Zotero 6 update later this year. Note that it is also possible to use Zotero with a PDF reader that allows markups.

Can I create my own citation style in Zotero?

Yes, but it requires modifying basic coding in Citation Style Language (CSL) by following the directions on the documentation pages for editing CSL styles. While no formal training in computer coding is required to make these modifications, patience, attention to detail, and a willingness to experiment are highly recommended. Also, as the documentation page on citation styles notes, you can alternatively request a style.

What if the Zotero tab does not appear in Word for Mac?

Zotero offers troubleshooting tips for Word for Mac in its documentation. Note also that it may be necessary to manually install the Word plug-in.

What if the Zotero tab does not appear in Word on Windows?

Zotero should automatically install the Word plugin on Windows when it is downloaded.  If it does not, however, it is possible to solve this manually.  Locate the "Zotero.dotm" file in the Zotero program file hierarchy in the C drive of a Windows computer.  (The filepath should be something similar to C:\Program Files (x86)\Zotero\extensions\\install.)  Copy this file and paste it into the Microsoft Office/Word program file hierarchy.  (The filepath should be something similar to C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office16\STARTUP.)  After restarting Word, the Word plugin should appear under a new Zotero tab.


This LibGuide was developed, with permission, from the Michigan State University Zotero LibGuide and the "Migrating Citations from RefWorks to Zotero" page of the University of Minnesota RefWorks Transition website.