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Tutorials - Howe Library

This page contains interactive tutorials, videos, print guides, and other resources that will show you how to use library resources and services.

How to Install Zotero


How to Install Zotero

Filetype: Video

Runtime: 3:00 minutes

Captions: available (auto-generated)

This video will show you how to install Zotero on your computer.

This is a three-step process, but it should only take a few minutes to complete.

Step One: Install Zotero

The first step is to install Zotero on your computer.

Open the browser that you usually use for research and go to

Next, click on the red Download button.

And then click the blue Download button.

Follow the instructions on your screen to complete the installation. This process varies between Macs and PCs, but it should be the same one you use to install any software on your computer.

When the installation is complete, open Zotero to make sure that it was installed successfully.

If it was, your screen should look like this.

Step Two: Install a Zotero Connector

Zotero uses a browser plugin, called a connector, to save records for things that you want to cite.

To install this plugin, click on the Install a Zotero Connector link on the Zotero homepage or, if it’s not available, go to

Now click on the blue Install button.

Follow the instructions on the screen for completing the installation process.

When you are finished, you should see a Save to Zotero button with a black “Z” on it in your menu bar.

Please note that it may take a few seconds for this button to appear.

If it doesn’t, try navigating to a different website.

Step Three: Set Up a Zotero Account for Synching

Zotero allows you to share sources with other people using a function called Groups.

In order to use Groups, you will have to set up a Zotero account first.

To do that, click on the Set Up Synching link or click Zotero in the menu and then click Preferences and the Sync button.

Click the Create Account link.

Next fill out the form as instructed.

Please note that your username must show up in green in order for the form to be successfully submitted.

Click the blue Register button.

An email with a confirmation link will be sent to the email address you entered into the registration form.

Click that link to complete the registration process.


Congratulations! You have installed and set up Zotero.

You can now start entering sources into your Zotero folder.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the library at

A librarian will be happy to assist you.

How to Configure Your Zotero Preferences

Thumbnail screenshot of tutorial

How to Configure Your Zotero Preferences

Filetype: Video

Runtime: 4:11 minutes

Captions: Yes

0:01 This video will show you how to configure your Zotero installation in order to set your preferences and optimize your use of the program.

0:11 Start by locating your program Preferences. Here, in Zotero version 5 on a Mac

0:20 I am going to Zotero in the command bar, then Preferences in the dropdown menu.

0:22 Depending on your operating system and version of Zotero, you may need to check the File or Edit menu to find Preferences. There is also a keyboard shortcut, which on a Mac is command plus comma.

0:35 The Preferences option opens this dialog box. It has many configuration features, many of which you will never need. This video will introduce a small number of options that are likely to be useful.

0:48 Start with the "General" tab.

0:50 The option to note here is the second item under "File Handling":

0:54 "Automatically attach associated PDFs and other files when saving items"

1:00 By default, this box is checked. This means that when you add to Zotero, for example, a journal article from a website where a PDF of the text is available, Zotero will import both the citation details and the PDF file.

1:15 The PDF is stored on your computer.

1:18 This is useful for when you are working offline, or simply for accessing the text of the article quickly.

1:24 But the trade-off is that it will use some of your device's storage capacity. So you should decide whether you want Zotero to import PDFs, and leave this box checked or unchecked accordingly.

1:38 Next, let's look at the "Sync" tab.

1:42 Probably you watched the UVM Libraries' video on "How to Install Zotero" and created an account on the Zotero website.

1:50 If not, pause this video, go to, look for the "Log In" link and follow the directions to register for an account.

2:01 Welcome back. On the "Sync" tab, enter the username and password for your Zotero account. This connects your locally installed program with your web account.

2:11 This way, your library is backed up to a Zotero server so if something were to happen to your machine,

2:17 your library would still be intact and could be easily loaded onto a new machine.

2:22 It's also possible to sync multiple devices with your account, so you can switch between devices while keeping your account up to date with any new records.

2:33 Let's move now to the "Cite" tab.

2:37 Looking at "Styles",

2:39 here, specify your preferred style, which will be the default style for most citation features.

2:48 The list here contains the most-common citation styles. If you do not see the style that you need, click on "Get additional styles…" to import more styles from Zotero's full inventory of more than 9,000.

3:07 Stay on the "Cite" tab but now switch to the "Word Processors" tab.

3:13 If the information for your preferred word processor indicates that an add-in is not currently installed, click on the button to do so.

3:25 The last tab is "Advanced".

3:29 We recommend that you replace the URL in the "Resolver" field with http

3:36 ://

3:43 /UVM.3:46This enables you to use Zotero's Locate: Library Lookup option to quickly look up a citation in the UVM Libraries' collections and track down the full text.

3:58 Now you know the key settings for using Zotero successfully and effectively. If you have questions, contact the librarians at UVM's main Howe Library or Dana Medical Library.

How to Add and Organize References in Zotero


How to Add and Organize References in Zotero

Filetype: Video

Runtime: 8:26 minutes

Captions: available (auto-generated)

This video will show you how to add references to your Zotero library as well as how to organize them for future use.

In order to use Zotero, you must first install the program on your computer. See the How to Install Zotero video for instructions on how to do this.

When you open Zotero, your screen should look something like this.

The column on the left-hand side is where all of your folders and tags appear.

The column in the middle is where all of the individual records in a folder will display.

And the column on the right-hand side is where all of the details of an individual record will appear.

In this example, we do not have any records in our Zotero library so in the next section we will look at 3 different ways to add records.

There are multiple ways to add records into Zotero.

The most common way is to find something on the Internet and then click the Save to Zotero button to export it into your library.

Here’s how that works in a research database like CINAHL:.

First, run a search for your topic. Let’s pretend that you see a lot of articles on this first page of results that you’d like to export into Zotero.

If you look at the Save to Zotero button, you’ll notice that it looks like a folder.

Click it and a window will open that lists all of the available records on this page.

Check off the ones that you’d like to export and click the OK button.

You should see a message pop up that tells you which records you are exporting.

It’s important to note that this process will not automatically pull in all the PDFs for the articles you’ve saved. We’ll talk about how to manually add files to records in a few minutes.

Alternatively, you can export records one at a time. Simply click the article title to open up the full record and then click the Save to Zotero button.

Please note that when we opened the individual record that the Save to Zotero icon changed from a folder to a piece of paper.

Zotero uses different icons to represent different types of web resources. Although the icon changes, the Save to Zotero function works the same for all of them.

For example, the icon for a regular website looks like this, which is supposed to represent a webpage.

Click it to export the record to Zotero. Notice that the same confirmation message pops up.

In addition to generating a reference for the webpage, Zotero will also take a snapshot of the page as it exists today and it stores that in the reference as well.

Now, toggle back to Zotero and you will see all of the records that were just exported into the My Library folder.

Before we start organizing them, let’s look at two other ways to add references to Zotero.

The first method is to generate references from PDF files.

To do that, find a PDF on your computer and drag it to the center panel in Zotero.

Zotero will try to read the metadata attached to the PDF and, if there is any, it will generate a reference based on that information. You can also create references from PDFs by right clicking on a record and selecting the “Retrive metadata for PDF” option.

Automatically generating references from PDFs works well with articles from journals, but may not work for PDFs of reports, white papers, etc. Please ask a librarian for help if Zotero doesn’t automatically generate a reference for your PDF.

The other way to add references to Zotero is to create one from scratch.

To do that, click on the green circle with the white plus in it.

Now select the option that best describes the thing you are trying to cite.

For example, let’s pretend that we want to cite a paper that was delivered at a conference.

Click the “conference paper” option. This will open up a blank reference that you can fill in.

There are a lot of blank fields available, but just fill in the ones that you have information for and leave the rest. Zotero will automatically save your record as you type it.

You can also attach documents to the reference you just created.

First, click the record to select it.

Then click the Add Attachment button.

Click on the Attached Stored Copy of File option.

Click on the file you want to attach.

And then click the Open button.

As you can see, the file is uploaded and saved to the record. You can attach multiple files to a record if you want to.

Now that you know how to add records to your Zotero library, let’s look at how to organize them.

In this section, we’ll look at how to organize your references in order to make it easier to find and use them.

The first thing we’ll do is to remove any duplicate records.

To do that, click the Duplicate Items option in the left menu.

If there are duplicate records, Zotero will highlight them for you.

Click on the records to select them and the click the “Merge 2 Items” button to combine the information from the 2 records into 1 record.

The next thing that we’ll do is to subdivide our records into different groups. All of the records in your library are stored by default in the My Library folder, but you can create other folders to make your library more manageable.

To create a new folder, click the New Collection button and type in a name for the folder. Then click the OK button

You can now select and drag records into the new folder.

It’s important to note that all of your records – even the ones you drag into another folder – are still stored in the My Library folder. The ones in the other folders are more like copies. This allows you to have the same reference in multiple folders.

You can have as many folders are you want. Folders can even have sub-solders. Just create a new folder and then drag it into another one.

In addition to folders, you can organize your references by using tags that describe the content in each record.

Here’s how to add a tag. Click on the record to select it then click the Tags menu button. References from databases like CINAHL may already have a number of tags preloaded, but you can add your own tags.

Next, click the Add button, type in the name of your tag, and press the Enter key on your keyboard. You can add as many tags as you want. You can also delete a tag by clicking the minus button next to it.

To search your library for a specific tag, just type it into the search box and press the Enter key on your keyboard.

The final way to organize your Zotero library is to add Notes to your records. Notes are text files and can be used for anything you want.

To add a note, click to select a record and then click the Notes button. Now click the add button, type in some text, and press the Enter key on your keyboard.

You can search for keywords in your notes, as well as the records themselves, by typing a keyword into the search box. Zotero will automatically pull up any records that march your search terms.

Congratulations! You now know how to add references to your Zotero library and how to organize them.

If you have further questions or need assistance, please contact the library at

A librarian there will be happy to assist you.

How to Set Up Zotero Groups


How to Set Up Zotero Groups

Filetype: Video

Runtime: 3:56 minutes

Captions: available (auto-generated)

This video will show you how to set up Zotero groups. Groups allow you to share your references, and any files attached to those references, with other people.

To create a group, click on the New Library icon and then click New Group.

You will automatically be taken to the Groups Landing Page at

Login with the user name and password that you selected when you installed Zotero. If you did not create a account, click the Register for a Free Account link and follow the instructions on the screen.

Type in a name for your group in the Group Name box. Please note that if someone else is already using the name you entered, it will appear under the box in red letters. If that happens, try altering the name you typed in or select a different one until the letters turn green.

Select a Group Type. Please note that the “Public, Open Membership” option is selected by default. This group type allows anyone in the world to see and join your group, but it DOES NOT allow you to share files, such as article PDFs, with anyone else.

Therefore, you should select one of the other two options – Public, Closed Membership or Private – for your Zotero group type. This will enable everyone in your group to view and share files.

Next, click the Create Group button.

Zotero will automatically create the new group and then open up the Group Settings page.

Click on the Library Settings link and make sure that the Library Reading, Library Editing, and File Editing options are all set to “Any Group Member” or “Any Group Members”.

Then, click the Save Setting button.

This will enable all members of your group to work with all of the references and files in the group library.

Now, click the Members Settings link and then the Send More Invitations link.

Type in the email addresses of the other members of your team. Be sure to separate each one with a comma. Then click the Invite Members button.

The people that you have selected will receive an email with a link inviting them to join the group. All they have to do is click on the link, log into Zotero, and click the red Join button.

Toggle back to Zotero and wait for your new group to sync. You can also click the green sync button to start this process.

After the sync is complete, the new group library will appear in the left column underneath your default library.

At this point, you can drag references from your My Library folder into the group folder. You can also create other folders just as you can in your own personal library.

Please note, if you make a change to a reference in your Group Library, that change will not be reflected in the same record in your My Library folder and vice versa.

For example, let’s pretend that you have a record for a journal article in both your My Library folder and your group folder. You then attach the PDF for the article to the record in your My Library folder. That PDF will not automatically be attached to the record in the Group Folder. You will have to manually attach it yourself.

Congratulations! You now know how to create and share groups in Zotero. If you have any questions, please contact the library at A librarian will be happy to assist you.

How to Use Zotero with Microsoft Word


How to Use Zotero with Microsoft Word

Filetype: Video

Runtime: 5:21 minutes

Captions: available (auto-generated)

This video will show you how to use the Zotero plugin for Microsoft Word. This plugin gives you the ability to insert and format citations in a Word document with a few simple steps.

The plugin should have been automatically added to Word when you installed Zotero. If it did not, please ask a librarian for assistance.

To get started, make sure that you have Zotero and Microsoft Word open.

When you are ready to insert a citation, click to place your cursor in the correct spot.

Then click the Add/Edit Citation button.

If this is the first time that you are using the Zotero plugin, you may get a warning message asking you if it’s safe for Zotero to access data in your Microsoft Word document. If that happens, just click the OK button.

The Zotero Document Preferences page should now open. Select the citation style that you want to use for this document, but leave the other options at their default settings. Then click the OK button.

The Zotero citation dialog box will pop up. Type in a word or an author’s name or anything else that appears in the reference you want to cite. As you type, all of the items matching your terms will appear.

Click on the reference you want to use and then press the Enter key on your keyboard. The reference should appear in you document, highlighted in gray. The gray box indicates that this text was automatically generated by Zotero.

If you need to insert more than one reference, simply type in a search term, select the first reference you want to cite and then type in another search term and select the second reference. After you’ve loaded up all of the references you want to cite, press the Enter key.

There is another way to select and insert references. Click the Add/Edit Citation button, but instead of typing the citation dialog box, click the little down arrow on the red “Z” and click on the “Classic view option”.

This option allows you to view all of your folders as they appear in Zotero, which can be helpful when trying to find a specific reference.

Navigate to the reference you want to use and click to select it. Then click the OK button.

There may be times when you need to add extra information to your reference. In APA, for example, you should add page numbers if you include a direct quote. Zotero can help you with that.

Simply search for the reference as you normally would, but before you press the Enter key, right click on the reference and enter in the desired information. Then press the Enter key. In this example, we’ll add a page number.

As previously mentioned, the gray box indicates that Zotero automatically generated that text. If you discover that there is a mistake, do not correct it in the Word document. If you do, Zotero will automatically revert back to the original text the next time it refreshes the page. The correct thing to do is to make the changes in the original record in your Zotero library. The next time that Zotero refreshes your document, the changes should appear.

To create the reference list for your paper, scroll down to the end of the documents and type in the section title.

Next click the Add/Edit Bibliography button.

Zotero will then generate a reference list based on all of the references you used in your paper.

It’s important to note, however, that Zotero isn’t perfect. You will still need to review the references that were created and make sure that they follow the requirements of the citation style you are using.

In this example, we are using APA format and I can see that there is one reference where the words in the title are capitalized, which is incorrect.

To fix this, I’m going to go back to the record in Zotero and make the correction there.

I could retype the title using lower case letters, but instead I’m going to right click on the title, mouse over the Transform Text pop up box and click on Sentence case. This will automatically change the letters in the title that I need to fix.

When I toggle back to my Word document and refresh the page, the changes will now appear.

Remember, citation styles, have different rules. This was just an example using APA. Zotero will do it’s best to correctly format your citations according to the style you select, but ultimately it’s your responsibility to make sure that they are correct.

If you need assistance with citing sources or with using the Zotero for Microsoft Word plugin, please contact the library at A librarian will be happy to assist you.

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