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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 update to version 6. Alternatively, you can download the new version from The changes three significant changes with version 6:

(1) Zotero now has a built-in PDF reader. If you prefer to use another PDF reader, select it from Zotero Preferences as shown below:

Screenshot of Preferences showing System Default option for PDF

(2) Zotero also has a built-in notes extractor, so you no longer need to download Zotfile. Once you have highlighted text on your PDF, added comments and save it. Then select 'Add Note from Attachment' as shown below.

Screenshot shows the Add Note from Annotations option

(3) You can now add your notes to MS Word Document. The full citation will also be transferred to your document.

Screenshot of Add Note 

You can find more information on the new features of Zotero 6 on the Zotero Blog.