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

Working with 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.

pedf indexing screen before installer is installed

popup to install pdf indexers

indexer has been installed

  • 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.

menu with metadata option citable information retrieved from metadata

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.