Skip to Main Content

Citation Management and Generation

Looking to corral your references all in one place, then this guide is for you!


Zotero Basics

What is Zotero?

Zotero is a free desktop and web citation manager that provides extensive tools to add, organize, and share your citations. It is straightforward to use and has comparable features on the desktop version to paid citation managers. All accounts have access to collaborative group libraries. The Zotero Connector browser extensions allow you to add citations to your library with one click and is available for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge. Zotero uses your computer's storage to save citations and can sync data across devices and back it up using cloud storage. You can take notes and edit PDFs in the app. Zotero comes with 300 MB of cloud storage for free with paid storage upgrades.

Zotero is open-source software maintained by the Corporation for Digital Scholarship.

Should You Use Zotero?

Available for: Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, web

Cost: free, with paid cloud storage upgrades (2 GB for $20/year, 6 GB for $60/year, unlimited for $120/year)

Zotero is a great option for those who primarily use a desktop or laptop, want all features with the free version, need shared citation libraries, or support open-source software. Zotero is not as good of an option for people who heavily use Android mobile devices or Chromebooks, who will need to pay for extra storage, or who want to be able to contact professional customer support services.

Zotero Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Fairly easy to learn
  • Requires desktop/laptop application to use all features
  • All features come with free version and all software upgrades free
  • Only 300 MB of free cloud storage
  • Collaborative group libraries
  • No first-party mobile app for Android
  • Add citations with one click with Zotero Connector
  • No professional customer support services
  • Import citations to Microsoft Word, Google Docs, & LibreOffice with plugins


  • Edit PDFs in desktop app and iOS app
  • Open-source software

Start Using Zotero

You can use Zotero's desktop application without an account after downloading it. Zotero's website should automatically recognize whether you need the Windows, Mac, or Linux application, as well as your browser for adding the Zotero Connector.

You can also create a free account. With an account you can access the web library, sync your library across devices, backup with cloud storage, and join groups.

Zotero Help

Video Introduction

This video guide from Dublin City University Library provides a quick introduction to Zotero. It covers installing the desktop app and adding the Zotero Connector, creating a folder, adding multiple types of citations using the Connector, and then adding your citations to a Microsoft Word document.


Zotero Help Pages

These are the official help guides from the Zotero community.

  • Quick Start Guide
    • Basic overview of Zotero features and how to use them
    • Covers installation, basic capabilities, organizing your library, adding citations and files to your library, citing, and collaborating
  • Knowledge Base
    • Frequently asked questions
    • Covers basic usage and troubleshooting, adding citations and files to your library, organizing your library, syncing data, word processor plugins, formatting citations, and other assorted topics
  • Forums
    • Find announcements of changes and upgrades
    • Post help questions to be answered by the community
    • Search previous posts for answers to your questions
  • Documentation
    • Complete support section

University Libraries Zotero FAQs