Instructions on how to download, install, and use Zotero, a free open source bibliographic management program

Other Browsers

Zotero in Internet Explorer

If you're using Internet Explorer or a mobile browser, you can still save items to your Zotero library. A free Zotero account is required.

The Zotero Bookmarklet works with all desktop browsers and most mobile browsers (including Safari for iPad and the Android browser). Visit the Zotero Bookmarklet page for installation instructions for your particular browser or device. You won't have to install any software -- just the bookmarklet!

Using a Custom Directory

With newer operating systems, it is difficult to locate the default Zotero directory. Zotero allows you to create a custom directory. First, click on the gear in your library and then select Preferences. Within your preferences, select Advanced and then click on the Files and Folders tab. Where it says Data Directory Location click the radio button next to Custom and navigate to a location on your computer that easily accessible. It may help to create a folder called Zotero. Items saved previously will not transfer over to the new directory until restarting Firefox.

creating a custom directory

Annotating PDFs

1. The easiest way to highlight and annotate PDFs you have saved in your Zotero library is to use the free Adobe Reader commenting tools. To access these tools, first make sure your browser is set up to open PDFs in Adobe. To do this, check your browser Application Options. The examples shown demonstrate how this works in Firefox. Click the hamburger menu and then select Options.

how to access options in Firefox 47


2. Choose the Applications tab, then make sure your Adobe Acrobat Documents are set to open using Adobe Reader. (For more instructions on setting this up, see this Mozilla Support page). 

selecting the applications tab in the options screen



3. Now open up your PDF from your Zotero library (either double click on the item entry in the middle pane or the PDF icon below the item in the middle pane).

opening a PDF from your zotero library



4. The Adobe Reader tools should now be available within your PDF. Choose the Comment tab to find the annotating and highlighting tools or the highlighter tool to just highlight text.

selecting the comment tab and using adobe tools

commenting tools



5. Once you are finished reading, annotating and highlighting your PDF, click the Save icon. You may have to select the file location from Save in Recent Folder. You will be asked if you want to replace the existing file. Choose Yes to save your newly annotated file. The file will then be saved to your Zotero storage area.

choosing save as when saving your annotated pdf

select yes when asking if you want to replace the pdf that already exists



6. Re-open your PDF any time from within your Zotero library to access your PDF and your highlights and annotations again.

Created by Hannah Gascho Rempel, Oregon State University and Tina Reid of UTSA

Adding Items by ISBN

adding images by identifiers, or ISBN

Have 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.