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Zotero & Mendeley Guide

An instructional guide on how to use citation managers Zotero and Mendeley.

Get Started with Zotero

What is Zotero? / Download Zotero / Zotero Desktop Tour 

What is Zotero?

Zotero is a citation manager that links 4 important tools to let you save, organize, cite, and share your references.

  • Zotero desktop application, a computer program that saves and organizes your references and documents in a Zotero library
  • Zotero Connector, which sits atop your browser toolbar and lets you easily add reference to your Zotero library with one click
  • Zotero add-on for MS Word and Google Docs allows you to easily cite sources as you write and create the reference lists
  • Zotero online lets you share your references with groups and use them on multiple devises

Download the Zotero Desktop application and Zotero Connector

  • If you are using your own computer, go to Zotero ( and select the download for the platform you're running. Zotero is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. Also install the Zotero Connector for the browser you're using (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari).
    • Reboot your computer after installation.
  • If you have a St. Kate's issued computer or laptop, download Zotero from KACE ( This will allow you to download the software without being blocked by IT. 
    • Go to and log in using your University login and password.
    • Go to Downloads and navigate to Zotero in the list. Click it and install it, clicking OK as prompted. 
    • A Zotero shortcut will be installed on your desktop (look for the big Z). Open the software and install the Zotero Connector for Firefox, Chrome, or Safari, as prompted. If not prompted, go to and download the Zotero Connector for your preferred browser. 
    • Reboot your computer after installation.

Register for your Zotero online account

  • If you didn't register when you downloaded the software, go to and click the Register link to set up an account.
  • If you want to access your Zotero library after you leave St. Kate's, create your account with a personal email.
  • Creating an online account is necessary for working with groups and for working on multiple devises.
Zotero Desktop Quick Tour

The Zotero Desktop has a Toolbar at the top and three panels. 

On the left is the the Collection panel. In the center is the Collection Contents panel. On the right, is the Item View and Edit panel.

Save Items to Zotero


Add with Zotero Browser Button / Add with Drag and Drop PDF / Manually Add / Export and Import

  Use the Zotero browser toolbar button to add citations 

With the Zotero desktop application running, click the browser button to put the citation and pdf (if available) in your Zotero library. The Zotero button may look like an page, book, or other type icon, depending on what is displayed in your browser window. 

Don't see the Zotero Connector button? See our Zotero Help page.

Add multiple items to Zotero at one time

In any database where you have a search result list of items appearing, you can import more than one item at a time from the list. 

Select the Zotero Connector button [icon looks like a folder] and chose the items you wish to save from Zotero Item Selector.


Drag and drop a pdf in your Zotero library

Drag a saved pdf document into Zotero. The metadata (title, author, journal name, etc.) will be read by Zotero and your pdf document will be saved. You may need to review and edit this data to make sure it is accurate. 

Manually Add Items to Zotero

You can manually add an item to your Zotero library. In Zotero, click the New Item icon. Select the item type and fill in all the content required by your preferred citation style.

Export and Import Items to Zotero

Use these export/import processes for working with large numbers of items and entire search results. These processes do not import pdf attachments. 

Export from Ebsco Databases / Export from PubMed / Export from ProQuest Databases


Export items from EBSCO Databases (CINAHL, Academic Search Premier, ERIC, etc.)
  1. Do the search in an Ebsco database. 
  2. Select Share to the right above the results
  3. Select: "Email a link to download exported results"
  4. Enter your e-mail
  5. Select RIS-Format (e.g. CITAVI, EasyBib, EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero)
  6. Select Send
  7. You will receive an email with a link to a compressed file containing the search results. It can take some time for the email to arrive.
  8. Save the compressed file on your computer

Import items into Zotero 

Click OK if Zotero asks if you want to import the file. If this option does not appear follow the steps below.

  1. Open Zotero
  2. Select File for PC and Zotero for MAC
  3. Select Import
  4. Click Next
  5. Find your saved zip-file
  6. Right click on the zip-file
  7. Select Open
  8. Select the file again and select Open again
  9. Click OK when Zotero asks if you want to import the file
  10. You want to import the items to a new collection.
  11. Make sure that the imported number of items is correct.
Export Items from PubMed
  1. Do the search in PubMed
  2. Select Send to just above the search results
  3. Select Citation manager
  4. Select All results under Selection
  5. Click Create file
  6. PubMed will download the file to your computer

Import items into Zotero

Click OK if Zotero asks if you want to import the file. If this option does not appear follow the steps below.

  1. Open Zotero
  2. Select File for PC and Zotero for MAC
  3. Select Import
  4. Select Next
  5. Find the file
  6. Select Next
  7. Make sure that the imported number of items is correct.
  8. Select Finish
Export Items from ProQuest Databases (PsycInfo, Education Database, etc.)

ProQuest does not currently have a large batch export process. You can, however, save up to 5 pages of 100 results each page to a folder and export the folder contents. 

  1. Do your search.
  2. At your final results page, select "Advanced Search" to edit the results page option and change number of results per page to 100.
  3. Check the [Select 1-100] box (select all). The references will collect in your folder (top right) as you do this. Continue, clicking the Next page [at bottom], and selecting pages of 100 results until all items have been selected. 

4.Click on the saved references Folder (top right). 

5. Select the ... All save options button

6. Select RIS as the output option. Click Continue. The file will download.








Import items into Zotero 

Click OK if Zotero asks if you want to import the file. If this option does not appear follow the steps below.

  1. Open Zotero
  2. Select File for PC and Zotero for MAC
  3. Select Import
  4. Click Next
  5. Find your saved download file.
  6. Right click on the file.
  7. Select Open
  8. Select the file again and select Open again
  9. Click OK when Zotero asks if you want to import the file
  10. You want to import the items to a new collection.
  11. Make sure that the imported number of items is correct.


Organize Items

Collections and Subcollections / Adding Notes / Adding Tags / Remove Duplicates

Collections and SubCollections

Create collections of items for papers or projects. Create sub-collections for grouping like items or to organize you work-flow, (for example Items to Read or Items to Request via Interlibrary Loan, etc.)

Drag and drop items from one collection to another.

Add important organizing information (like date and item type) to the Collection View area in order to work with items efficiently.


Add Notes to items to organize and search your reading notes, important quotes, facts, and information. 

There are two types of notes: Child Notes and Standalone Notes. Child notes attach to individual items (like reading notes for an article). Standalone notes are for an entire collection (like a list of terms or tags for a project.) 


Use tags to organize items by topic or theme. You may wish to create a Standalone note with a list of all your tags. Tags, like notes, are searchable in Zotero. 

Keep your tags organized for quick reference with a Standalone Note

Remove Duplicates 
  1. Open Zotero and select Duplicate Items
  2. Select the items and then choose which item you want to keep
  3. Select Merge the items. 

Generate Citations and Bibliographies

You can drag and drop references from Zotero into a document. This works with anywhere you can paste text, like in a Word or Google document, a discussion board, or an email. 

Select your citation style

  • In Zotero desktop, go to: 
  • Edit >Preferences >Export >Default Format
  • Choose your preferred citation style and click OK.


Drag and drop a citation

  • Select an item in a Zotero collection.
  • To drop a complete reference list citation, drag and drop.
  • To drop an in-text citation, hold the SHIFT key and drag it to a document. 


Create a bibliography from a collection of citations 

  • Right click on a Zotero collection folder.
  • From the drop down, select Create Bibliography from Collection.
  • Select the Citation Style.
  • Select Copy to Clipboard as the Output Method.
  • Open the document or other place you can type text. 
  • Paste the text from the Clipboard. 


Zotero for Word or Google Docs

The Zotero word processor plug-ins for MSWord and Google Docs that let you cite as you write. When you downloaded the Zotero software and browser connector, this plug-in should have automatically installed in your word processor program. If you do not see Zotero on your Word ribbon or in Google Docs (and you've re-booted your computer after installing), see the Zotero Word Integration help link.

MS Word

Make sure the Zotero desktop application running. The Zotero tab should appear on your ribbon. 

Google Docs

Make sure the Zotero desktop application running. The Zotero tab should appear on the ribbon. 

The Zotero search bar will pop up. Use it (as in the examples for MS Word above) to search for your citation or to navigate to Classic View for additional citing options.

Zotero Online for Group Libraries and Sharing

Creating Group Libraries to Share References

To use Group Libraries, you must have a Zotero online account.

  • Go to Register for a Zotero online account. You may be asked to verify your email and/or sync your Zotero desktop library.

  • Syncing your Zotero desktop with Zotero online will allow you to access your Zotero library on multiple devises or on shared computer lab devises. To sync, open the Zotero desktop, the EDIT>Preferences>Sync

  • Enter your Zotero username and password and Set Up Syncing


Create a New Group

You can create a group library and invite people to share it.

From the Zotero desktop, select the Group icon and New Group. You'll be routed to


Name the group and select the group type and Create Group. 

Select the reading and editing settings for group members. 

Invite member by clicking Member Settings and Send More Invitations. 

You now have two sections in your Zotero collections pane: My Library and Group Libraries.

Personal and group libraries are entirely separate, and changes made to items in one library do not affect the other. You can drag items back and forth libraries to copy items.

Add More Members to an Existing Group

  • Go to and log in.
  • Under Groups, select the group and click "Manage members."
  • At the bottom of the Manage Members page, click the "Send more invitations" link.

Zotero Help

Zotero Browser Connector Help / Zotero Word Processor Help / Other Zotero Help

Don't see the Zotero button in your browser? 

Make sure the desktop application is open and running.

Check your extensions [puzzle piece icon in Chrome/Firefox] and pin Zotero to your tool bar.

Zotero not listed there?






Not seeing Zotero in Word or Google Docs? See these links for troubleshooting word processing.

Other Zotero issues?

See Getting Help at

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