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Guide to using Zotero reference management software

Getting started with Zotero

Zotero is a free reference management software package, also known as bibliographic software, which enables you to:

  • Create a personal database of references relevant to you, along with associated files, which will help you to easily manage your research;
  • De-duplicate references retrieved from multiple sources;
  • Insert references into a Word document and format them automatically in a citation style of your choice;
  • Share your reference library with other researchers;
  • Showcase your work to connect and collaborate with researchers worldwide.

Zotero has provided documentation on how to use the software. This guide walks you through the essential parts of the software to help you get started. You can do this by using the navigation menu on the left-hand side. Selected training videos are also highlighted on the Zotero site.

Zotero 6

If you have installed Zotero on your own machine, depending on your set-up, Zotero will automatically download version 6. Alternatively, you can download an older or newer version from The most significant change in Version 6 is that:

Zotero now has a built-in PDF reader. If you want to use this, leave the option to 'Zotero', otherwise select 'System Default' for the reader that you have preset on your computer or 'Custom' to choose another reader such as Adobe or Preview (on the Mac):

Screenshot of Preferences showing System Default option for PDF