Zotero User Guide: 2. Setting Up Zotero

Installing Zotero

This video from our friends at Georgia State University will show you how to get started.


1. Go to the downloads page

First, just return to the Zotero homepage, www.zotero.org, and click the "download" button.

A screenshot of the Zotero homepage with a red arrow pointing to the download button in the middle of the site.

2. Install application and connectors

Please note that you will be installing TWO items: Zotero itself, and the browser connector(s) of your choice.

  • Zotero is a standalone application that also syncs to cloud storage
  • Connectors allow your web browser to save citations to your Zotero library

The Zotero downloads page should automatically detect what operating system and browser you're using and give you the correct link for both downloads.

Each browser has its own version of the Zotero connector, so if you use Chrome, Firefox and Safari you'll need to install all three from your chosen browser (i.e., you can't install the Safari connector from Chrome).

The Zotero download page with links to install the application and the browser connectors

Creating collections

Screenshot of the "new collection" buttonZotero allows you to organize your sources by collection (basically a folder). You can name collections anything you want, but some suggestions are: by class, by project, by subject, by priority.

To create a collection, open Zotero. In the top left corner of the window, there will be a button that looks like a folder with a green plus symbol over it. Click that, name your collection, and you can now add items to it.

Everything you save to Zotero lives in "My Library," and will not disappear from it if you move it to a collection. However, if you move something from a collection into the trash, it will disappear everywhere, so just be careful with that.

Zotero + EndNote

It's easy to use EndNote and Zotero together and take advantage of the best features of each, or to share Zotero libraries with colleagues using EndNote or vice versa. Both programs can read and write a standard citation file format called RIS, which means references can be converted back and forth with a few clicks.

PDFs and other attachments do not export between programs, however; only citation information.

Zotero to EndNote

To save your Zotero library for importing into EndNote, click the Zotero button that looks like a gear and choose "Export Library." Choose RIS as the file type and pick a filename.

In EndNote, click "File" and then "Import." Click the "Choose File" button and select the file you just exported from Zotero. Set Import Option to "Reference Manager (RIS)" and click Import.

EndNote to Zotero

To export your EndNote library for use in Zotero, click "File" and then "Export." Set the output style to "RefMan (RIS) Export" and save it as a text file.

In Zotero, click the button that looks like a gear and choose "Import." Just double-click the file you exported from EndNote. The new references will be added to a collection named "Imported" followed by the date and time.