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Loyola University Chicago Libraries


Locate core research resources in history

What is Zotero?

Zotero is a free reference management tool (software) that works on Windows, Apple, and Linux. It allows you to...

  • Collect bibliographic information (extracts metadata) on books, journal articles, videos and other resources from library resources, databases, & free sites.
  • Collect PDF's file, images, screenshots, and other files for each citation/reference in your library.
  • Create a bibliography and in-text citations in a variety of reference styles in a Word or OpenOffice document.
  • Enter notes & tags that can be searched to build connections in many styles.
  • Sync citations and files across multiple devices.
  • Create Groups to share citations, collection, notes, and tags with colleagues.

I use Zotero to keep track of everything I look at while I'm researching. This includes books from the library catalog, articles in databases, and websites. It also helps me figure out how to present my citations. 

While Zotero can do a lot of the work for you, you'll always have to double-check that all the information is there and in the right format. You can find guidance on citations here: Purdue OWL.


A quick overview of the set-up steps you should take:

  1. Create a free account.
  2. Install Zotero
  3. Link your account to your Zotero instance
  4. Get started!
  5. Don't forget about Zotero's collaboration and group collection features.

It is ideal to use the computer/laptop and browser you plan to use for literature research.


  1. Use Google Chrome or Firefox browser
  2. Go to the Zotero Download page
    • The site will automatically detect your operating system (Win, Mac, Linux*) and browser.
    • Zotero DOES NOT work with Chromebooks or Office 365
  3. Download Zotero 5.0 and browser Connector

Installation of Zotero

  1. Close any Microsoft Office programs (e.g. Word)
  2. Open the downloaded Zotero file (.exe or .dmg).
  3. Follow the installation directions
    • Zotero and an MS Word add-in will be installed
  4. Open the Zotero program
  5. Open MS Word
    •   Notice the word Zotero on your toolbar.

Installation of Browser Connector (Add-on/extension)

  1. Install the Zotero Connector for your browser (best with Chrome or Firefox)
    • Browser may restart after installation
    • You'll notice a Zotero icon (a "Z" or a small rectangle) on the right side of your browser toolbar


It is a good idea to look through the preferences after downloading Zotero to get a better idea of how you can customize the application to better fit your needs. In order to view the preferences, click the gear icon on the top left of the Zotero panel.

Once you open preferences, browse through the different tabs to familiarize yourself with the options available. There are a few important things you need to change in order to get the most out of Zotero. Each important feature is shown below.

Select Preferences under the Edit tab

I. General

Check the box “Automatically attach associated PDFs.” This will store all available PDFs so you can access them at any time through Zotero.

II. Sync 

Create a Zotero account if you haven't already created one when you initially downloaded Zotero. Also make sure the box "Sync automatically" is checked. This will ensure that your library will sync up with your online account so you can access your citations from any computer, even if the computer doesn't have Zotero downloaded! Just go to and log in with your account information.

III. Advanced

Add the following line into the "Resolver" box as shown in the screenshot below:

You can also simply click "Choose Resolver" > North America > Loyola University Chicago. This will ensure that Zotero recognizes you as a student at LUC and allows you to access library items paid for by your tuition!

This tool is separate from the Zotero software. ZoteroBib helps you build a bibliography instantly from any computer or device, without creating an account or installing any software. It’s brought to you by the team behind Zotero, the powerful open-source research tool recommended by thousands of universities worldwide, so you can trust it to help you seamlessly add sources and produce perfect bibliographies. If you need to reuse sources across multiple projects or build a shared research library, we recommend using Zotero instead.

The Library has featured Zotero because users have found it easy to use, well-supported, and costs nothing (except the time to learn it).  But not everyone likes Zotero –tastes and needs vary.  Here are three alternative resources that may better meet your research needs: