To add a tag to an item simply select the
tab in the right column and
button. Then type your tag. Once you have added the tag you will
see it has also been added to the tag selector box in the left column.
Using the Tag Selector
Located in the bottom-left-hand corner of
the Zotero pane, the tag selector adds an
additional layer of information
management to complement the collection
and search systems. You can toggle the tag
selector in and out of view by clicking the
the show/hide tag selector button. The tag
selector updates its inventory from tags
you place on individual items in your
Library. By clicking on any of the tags, you
can flter the items within your Library,
collections and saved searches by as many
or as few tags as you like.
The tag selector defaults to showing all the tags on items in the current folder.
When you click on a given tag, the center column updates to display only the
items with that tag. You can select multiple tags to further refne the results in
the center column or click on a tag again to deselect it. To quickly fnd a tag in
the list, type part of its name in the Filter box; selected tags not matching what
you type remain selected, allowing you to quickly fnd and select multiple items.
It is also possible to click the “Deselect all” button to return the center column
to displaying all the items in the selected folder.
From this box you can also control the tags globally. By right-clicking on a tag
(or Control-clicking on the Mac) you can choose to rename a tag across all items
or delete it from all of the records it is attached to. You can also assign a tag to
multiple items at once by dragging items from the items pane onto tags in the
tag selector. This is where the “Display all tags” checkbox comes in handy: while
the tag selector normally only shows you tags on items in the current view,
clicking “Display all tags” causes tags not assigned to currently visible items to
appear in gray. You can then drag items onto one of the gray tags to assign it to
Note that some items that you save will come with tags already attached. If
Zotero detects classifcation information or other metadata as part of a catalog
record, it will, in some cases, import that information as a tag. For example,
OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) record subject headings become Zotero
tags. You can manage these automatic tags in the same way that you manage the
tags you add manually. It is possible, though, to exclude automatically added
tags from the tag selector or to prevent them from being imported in the frst
Finding and Searching In Zotero
Zotero provides a variety of options to ensure that you are never more than a
few seconds away from the exact information you need. In this document you
will learn about Zotero's sorting and searching functionality. With just a few
clicks you can sort any of your collections by what ever criteria you need. You
can also quickly execute basic searches through your entire collection. Beyond
these two quick options you can also set up advanced searches to make much
more refned searches through your entire collection. You can also view
screencasts detailing these functions.
Zotero's sorting functions make it easy to quickly fnd items in your library and
collections. If you prefer you can also watch the sorting screencast.
To sort items in a collection, click on any of the information categories at the
top of the middle column. For example, if you click on “Title,” all your items will
be sorted alphabetically by title. If you click on “Title” again, the
order will be reversed. Similarly, if you click on “Creator,” your
items will be sorted alphabetically by creator, and if you click
“Creator,” again the order will be reversed.
To sort by other categories, you can click on the icon in the top
right corner of your center column. You will then see the
dropdown menu illustrated below. Check off any additional
categories you would like to use for sorting. They will now
appear in the center column and you can click on them to sort
in just the same way you did with “Title” and “Creator”.
Basic searches provide the quickest way to fnd items in your collection. Follow
the directions below or watch the basic search screencast to see how to make
best use of the Zotero's basic searches.
To start a search, click inside the search box at the top of the middle column
and start typing your search term. As you type, Zotero will reduce the total
number of items in the center column to only those that contain your search
What Exactly Am I Searching Through?
With basic searches, Zotero combs through all of your data for results. For
example, a basic search for 1979 will return a wide variety of items. The search
would return books with 1979 in their title, items published in 1979, items
tagged 1979, and websites that have 1979 somewhere in their full text. In short,
basic searches search through all your data.
Most users don’t like to just read and gather sources; they like to take notes on
them. We’ve all got little scribbles in the margins of books, on post-its, and on
notepads (real and virtual). Zotero makes it easy to keep all those annotations,
jots, and notes in one place, and all searchable. The ability to record notes about
library items is essential to conducting useful research. Notes allow you to relate
items to your own studies, write down brainstorms and highlight important
passages. You may agree, then, that the most obvious way to organize notes in
Zotero is as attachments to library items.
Let's say you have Michelangelo's “The Last Judgment” in your Zotero library
and wish to make a note about the location of the artist's self-portrait hidden in
the fresco. Obviously, this isn't the sort of thing where you can just scribble in
the margins; the Sistine Chapel would probably object and it wouldn't be very
portable, anyway. To create an attached note, frst select “The Last Judgment” in
Zotero's center column. In the right column, you would then click on the Notes
tab, then the Add button.
This will open the note editor in a separate window. Simply enter in your note
and it will be saved as you type, so you may close the window whenever you
wish. You may have noticed that, back in the Zotero pane, your note has been
added to the Notes tab for “The Last Judgement” and, in the center column, as
an associated child item. If you wish to view the note again, you need only click
on the note in either of these places. By default, they will open within the right
column in Zotero, though they can be opened in a separate window by pressing
the appropriate button at the bottom of said column.
Zotero uses the rich-text TinyMCE editor, so your formatting options are nearly
limitless. A variety of features are available through the editor's toolbars and a
still greater number can be used by editing the note's HTML code directly.
If, however, your annotation does not relate directly to any item in your library,
it is possible to create a standalone note by clicking the New Standalone Note
button in the Zotero toolbar. These will behave just like a regular note, only
they will appear by themselves in your collections, not associated with another
Grabbing Text From Webpages
Because new research often incorporates pre-existing work, Zotero makes it
easy for you to migrate quotable material from a web-based source into your
notes. Highlight the relevant text, right-click (ctrl-click on the Mac) to open a
pop-up menu, and select “Create Zotero Item and Note from Selection”. This
will create a new library item with the selected text as an attached note. In this
way, Zotero facilitates transcription as well as annotation.
Tags and Related Items
As with any other item in Zotero, notes, both regular and standalone, make full
use of the tagging and related item features. These appear at the bottom of the
notes editor and behave just as they do with other items.
Drag and Drop Quick Copy
If you want to quickly add references to a paper, email, or blog post, then
Zotero's Drag and Drop Quick Copy is probably the best way to go. Simply
select references in the center column and drag them into any text feld. Zotero
will automatically create a numbered and alphabetized bibliography for you. To
confgure your quick copy preferences, click the Actions menu (the gear icon)
and select Preferences. Within the Preferences pop-up window, select Export.
From this tab you can set your default export format, set up site specifc export
settings, and choose whether you want Zotero to include HTML tags in your
Right Click to Create Bibliography
To create a bibliography in Zotero, highlight one or more references and then
right-click (or control-click on Macs) to select “Create Bibliography from
Selected Item(s).” Then select a citation style for your bibliography format and
choose one of the following four ways to create your bibliography:
Save as RTF will allow you to save the bibliography as a rich text fle.
Save as HTML will allow you to save the bibliography as an HTML fle
for viewing in a web browser. This format will also embed metadata,
allowing other Zotero users viewing the document to capture
Save to Clipboard will allow you to save the bibliography to your
clipboard to paste into any text feld.
Print will send your bibliography straight to a printer.
Word Processor Integration
Zotero's Microsoft Word and OpenOffce plugins offer you the most control for
creating bibliographies. These plugins allow you to add in-text citations and
footnotes in addition to bibliographies.
Once the plugin is installed, you should see a row of icons in your Microsoft
These four buttons allow you
to manage references in your Microsoft Word documents. If you do not see
them, try checking the “Templates and Add-ins” window. Select “Tools” from
the dropdown menu at the top of your screen, pull down to “Templates and
Add-ins,” and make sure that the box for Zotero.dot is checked.
When you would like to cite something from your collection click the frst
button, “Zotero Insert Citation” (
). If this is the frst citation you have added
to the document the Document Preferences window will open. Chose the
bibliographic format you would like to use from the list and click OK.
Once you have chosen a format, the “Add Citation” window will pop up. Sort
through your collection in this window and select the item or items you would
like to cite. You can add the specifc page number in the text box at the bottom
of the window.
If you would like to preview the citation click on show editor the button. You
will then see the edit citation box at the bottom of the add citation window.
When you click “OK,” you should now see a properly formatted citation in your
To generate a bibliography from all the items you have referenced, click the
“Zotero Insert Bibliography” button (
The edit citation(
) and edit bibliography(
) buttons allow you to edit
citations and bibliographies you have already inserted into your documents.
Click inside a citation or bibliography and click either button to edit.
The ffth button, “Zotero Refresh” (
) updates your references with any
changes in your Zotero collection. (
) will open the Document Preferences
window again, allowing you to change the bibliographic style for the entire
document on the fy.
Zotero Frequently Asked Questions
How do I back up my Zotero library?
The best way to back up your Zotero library is to close Firefox and then copy
the 'zotero' folder within your Firefox profle directory to an external drive. The
Zotero folder holds your database and all the related fles (images, PDFs,
webpages, etc.). You can locate your Zotero data by going to the Zotero
preferences under the Actions (gear icon) menu and clicking “Show data
directory” in the Advanced pane.
By backing up this directory, you will back up your entire Zotero library. If
something drastic happens (hard drive melts, computer is stolen, etc.), you can
simply place your archived backup 'zotero' folder into your new Firefox profle
with Firefox closed. When you open Firefox, your Zotero library will be there
waiting for you (after you reinstall Zotero, if necessary). As with all important
data, it is a good idea to back up your Zotero data frequently.
How can I access my library from multiple computers? Can
I store my Zotero library and associated fles on an
You can conveniently transport your Zotero library from one machine to
another, accessing your data from any computer. The easiest way to use Zotero
on multiple computers is by running a copy of Firefox directly from a portable
drive, which gives you access to your Firefox settings, such as bookmarks and
history, in addition to your Zotero data. For more information see
If you use Zotero only on your own computers and don't need to keep your
Firefox profle in sync, there's no need to use Portable Firefox. Simply copy
your Zotero data directory to the portable drive and set Zotero on each
computer to use the same custom data directory on the drive. You can set a
custom data directory in the Advanced tab of the Zotero preferences. Zotero 1.5
will offer the ability to sync multiple Zotero libraries automatically via the
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