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Research Guides

Using Zotero

Setting your preferences in the desktop app

  1. Open the Zotero application and navigate to the Preferences menu. On a PC, go to Edit > Preferences. On a Mac, go to Zotero > Preferences.
  2. On the Sync tab, enter the username and password you used when you created your account and click Set Up Syncing.

  3. On the General tab, uncheck the option that says, “Automatically tag items with keywords and subject headings”

  4. On the Cite tab, select the Word Processors tab and check that the MS Word add-in is installed.


Now we're ready to get the Zotero connector set up.

Customizing the Zotero connector in your browser

After installing the Zotero connector in your web browser, you'll need to connect it with your Zotero desktop application. This will allow the information you save while browsing to automatically appear in the Zotero app on your computer. You can also choose to allow the browser to save items to if you need to work without access to the full Zotero application.

  1. Right-click (in Safari, click-and-hold) on the Zotero icon in your browser toolbar and select Preferences.
  2. On the General tab, look for Zotero status. If the desktop app is open, it should say connected. If not, it will say "Zotero is unavailable."
  3. Under Save to, click Reauthorize to log into your Zotero account. This will open a new browser tab asking you to allow access. Click on Accept Defaults. If you are not already logged in, you will need to input your Zotero username and password.



Sync your library across devices

Syncing your library is useful if you work on more than one device. Let's look at an example:

You're doing research on a library computer, and you've added the Zotero connector to the browser and set it to save citations without using the desktop app. As you work, you save items by clicking the icon in the browser. Since you're not using the desktop app, all of the items you save are actually saving to the servers.

Later, at home, you open up the Zotero application on your personal computer. How will all of the citations you added at the library get to your computer? By syncing your library.

In the Zotero preferences, the default is to automatically sync your local library with the information on the servers. This way, when you get home and open up the Zotero app it will automatically download the new items that you saved on the other computer at the library. (You'll know this is happening because the sync icon will be spinning.) 

If you choose not to automatically sync, you will have to remember to manually sync your library.