Skip to Main Content

Citing Sources

Learn about frequently-used citation styles and citation tools.

Using Zotero

ZoteroSetting Up Zotero

Zotero is a free "open source" citation manager. There are three steps to setting it up. Their downloads page gives you access to the first two.

  • Installing desktop software (automatically downloads into Word as well)
  • Installing browser connection
  • Creating an online account at Zotero

Desktop Software

  • If you are using a PC, set up Zotero desktop by downloading and then running the program
  • If you are using a Mac, download the .dmg file and drag it to Applications, then run Zotero from Spotlight, Launchpad, or the Applications folder

Browser Connection

  • For both Mac and PC users, you will also need to install a connector to bridge the connection between your browser and installed desktop software
Note: the Zotero Connectors are specific to each browser. Choose your browser and download the specific file to that browser.

Online Account

Go to Zotero and register for an account online

Help and Documentation

Understanding the Homescreen

Note that the folder organization appears on the left, while the folder contents appear in the middle. The metadata for the selected item will appear on the right.

Creating Collections

Zotero will allow you to create collections and sub-collections from the folder organization pane. A single item is allowed to be in multiple collections at once. Click the folder icon in the task bar to create and name a new collection.

Adding Tags to References

Add tags to your citations with a keyword of your choosing to make them more easily findable. Creating tags allows you to search your library with the keyword.

To add a tag to an item, select the Tags tab in the metadata pane. You must have an item selected in the folder contents pane. Click Add to add a tag.

To search tags, use the search box in the task bar.

Removing Duplicates

Zotero cannot detect duplicates within a selected folder. Instead, it will identify duplicates within your entire library. If you have multiple projects, the duplicates will reflect them all.

We recommend creating a separate Zotero library for a dedicated project which will need accurate duplication numbers. Contact your informationist for further information, or transfer your citations to another citation manager to perform duplication.

Find options for duplicates in the folder navigation pane of the homescreen. Select Duplicate items.

Sharing Citations with Others

You can create Groups in Zotero in order to collaborate with others. It is important to note that the amount of storage available for a group account is dependent on the group owner's individual storage limit in their Zotero library. There is no limit to the number of users in a group.

  • Under the File Box icon, select New Group. This will prompt you to log in to Zotero online.
  • Once you log in, choose a name for your group.
  • For group type, choose Private Membership in order to both share PDFs and maintain privacy.
  • You will then be asked to customize permissions for the group type.
  • Under Member Settings, you can invite members and update roles.

Once you have synced your Zotero desktop to your online account, you will see your group(s) folders under Groups on the Zotero desktop window.

Manually Adding References

You can manually add an item by clicking on the green plus icon in the task bar of your Zotero desktop software. Select the appropriate item type and then fill out the fields.

You can also add PDFs to your Zotero account. Zotero will look for their metadata from the internet.

  • Drag and drop the PDF into the middle of your Zotero homescreen or click Store Copy of File under the green plus icon
  • Once added to Zotero, you will see its icon as a PDF symbol
  • Right click on the item and select Retrieve Metadata for PDF

Importing from the Web

Use the browser connector that you installed from Zotero to capture an item from the web and add it to your library

Importing from Databases

Zotero can import a variety of formats. The most commonly used are RIS, PubMed XML, and EndNote XML. Imports will automatically create a new folder which you can rename. Zotero can also import a library from another citation manager when a correct format is chosen. It is recommended to use the RIS file format for this purpose.

To import, from the Zotero desktop software, go to File and Import. Select the file you'd like to import and follow the prompts.

Creating a Bibliography

Create a bibliography by exporting a bibliography from a selected item or folder.

Right click on the selected item and choose CreateBibliography from Items.... Then choose

your desired citation style and output.


Using Zotero in a Word Document

Downloading the Zotero desktop software will automatically install Zotero into your word processing program. Select the Zotero tab from your word processing program to display your options.

Accessing Full Text from Hopkins


  1. From top navigation menu, go to: Edit --> Preferences --> Advanced
  2. Open URL Section
  • Select either "Custom" or "Johns Hopkins" from the drop-down list.
  • Add the link below in the Resolver field.


Zotero Preferences