Collecting, organizing, and citing your references

Make Zotero even More Magical

Tips and Tricks from Zotero.org

  • Press ”+” (plus) on the keyboard within the collections list or items list to expand all nodes and ”-” (minus) to collapse them.
  • The date fields will automatically convert “yesterday”, “today”, and “tomorrow” into the respective dates.
  • More...

Tips from the Chronicle of Higher Education's ProfHacker Blog:

  • Hold the Shift key while dragging and dropping an entry to create an in-text citation
  • When using a PDF reader in Firefox, and when you have a Zotero note highlighted, you can right click and send highlighted text directly to the note. 
    Source: comments section: http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/zotero4027/60409?cid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en

2008 blog post on 12 must-know Zotero tips and techniques

Find it! and Zotero


To remove duplicate records, also called deduping, open your Zotero pane.

Next click on the entry to the left named "Duplicate Items". This will display a listing of items Zotero believes to be duplicates.

You can select which version you would prefer to keep and the differences will be displayed beneath the listing of the different versions.

Once you've settled on a final version, click on the "Merge Items" button and Zotero will remove the duplicate references.

Indexing PDFs

It's easy to add PDFs to your Zotero library and automatically import their citation info.

First, enable PDF indexing on the Search tab of Zotero's preferences.  Zotero will download and install a small plugin.

Next, just drag your PDF files into the Zotero pane.

Right-click the PDFs and choose "Retrieve Metadata for PDFs."  Zotero will retrieve their citation data from Google Scholar and turn them into citeable items with PDF attachments.

If Zotero can't find a match on Google Scholar, don't worry -- you can still save the citation from another catalog or article database, then drag the PDF onto the citation to make it an attachment.

Adding items by ISBN, DOI, or Other Identifier

Search by IdentifierHave the book in front of you and want to add it to your Zotero library without having to search for a citation?

If you have a book's ISBN, an online article's DOI or PMID number, just click the magic wand button: "Add item by identifier." Type in the book or article's number, and Zotero will automatically download its information and save it to your library.

Creating Annotated Bibliographies

Step 1: Download and Install the Appropriate Style

Zotero supports annotated bibliographies in 2 styles:

To use these styles, you must first download them from the Zotero Style Repository. Click the links to install.

Zotero Style Repository

Step 2: Annotate your References

Gather the references into a folder / collection  and add annotations by using the Extra: field. 

Annotate records in the "Extra" field.

Step 3: Select the Items for your Bibliography

Right-click on the folder / collection name and choose Create a Bibliography from Collection

You can also select specific items in a folder / collection to create a bibliography from with Create a Bibliography from Items.

Right-click to create a bibliography

Step 4: Select a Bibliography Format.

Choose Chicago or APA annotated styles (the styles you istalled in step 1).  Be sure to choose the Bibliography output mode. For us in MS Word or other word processors, you will want to use the RTF output option.  

Choose bibliography style

Your bibliography should output with annotations.

Annotated bibliography created by Zotero

Annotate your PDFs

Adding notes to your web page captures is so cool; it would be neato to do that to your PDFs. 

You can't edit PDFs directly in Zotero but there are a couple of third-party apps you might want to chek out:

  • Mac Users
    • Skim is a free annotating tool for OS X and above
    • PDFpen for Mac is a more robust editor, cost starts at $59.95

  • Windows Users
  • Mobile Users
    • iAnnotate is an app for both iOS and Android

Qnotero: Quck Access to your PDFs

Qnotero Mobile AppQnotero is a Windows / Linux (no Mac) program that lives in your system tray and provides easy access to your Zotero references and PFFs.  Search by Author and/ or Year of Publication. If a PDF file is attached to a reference you can open it directly from within Qnotero.  






Zotero on Mobile Devices

Zotero Mobile Screen

While Zotero does not offer a fully-fledged mobile app you can:

  • access and view (but not edit) your Zotero library through a mobile web browsers
  • Try out the Zotero bookmarklet to save items you encounter while browsing the web on your mobile device

You can always find out the latest on Zotero add ons and apps from their mobile support page.


works with Androidworks wiht iOSBrowZine provides apps for iOS and Android that allow you to easily locate and browse open access journals and to save citations to Zotero or EndNote.  

The University of Arkansas does not have an institutional license for BrowZine, so our subscription journals are not available through this app.  However, it has coverage of some open access titles, with more content available for the sciences. 

PaperShip for iOS

PaperShip logoworks with iOSPaperShip for iOS devices, including Mac, allows you to view and edit your Zotero library, import new items into your library, and annotate PDFs.  PaperShip also allows easy sharing to social networks.  



Zandy for Android

Zandy logoAndoird appZandy is a full-featured interface for Zotero on Android devices.  It costs $1.99.

With Zandy, you can browse or search your library, add attachments, add web page citations from your browser, and add or edit notes.