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Citation Managers: Zotero and Mendeley

  Zotero is free reference management software with desktop and online components. It was designed to run on any computer that runs on Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.

​♦ Download and install ZoteroThe Zotero application stores and organizes your personal database of references.


 Zotero has a great, quick reference guide on their website

Install the Zotero Connectors, which allow your web browsers to easily save citations to your Zotero library. The Zotero Connectors will automatically detect what browser you're using and add a link in your browser toolbar. Each browser has its own version of the Zotero connector, so if you use Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, you'll need to install the connector on all three. 

NB: The Zotero Connector for Chrome cannot be downloaded and installed via the Chrome Web Store when logged in using a student Redeemer University account. This does not impact Firefox, Edge, and Safari.  

♦ Installing the application will also install the citation toolbar into Word, Google Docs, and/or LibreOffice. This allows you to easily insert citations in your document as well as create a bibliography. For more information, see the Zotero website.

 You can access and edit your Zotero library on your tablet or mobile phone. While there are no official Zotero apps for mobile devices, there are several third party solutions

Organize your Library

♦ In the Zotero library on your lap/desktop, you will see three columns.

  • The left column is My Library, an overview of your collected citations, where you organize your references into folders (collections) for your projects and papers.
  • The middle column displays the items you add to each folder. 
  • Select an item and the title details appear in the right column.


♦ Zotero will also add citation information when you enter an ISBN number, Digital Object Identifier (DOI), or a PubMed ID. Select the Add Item by Identifier button in the Zotero toolbar, type in the ID number and select OK.

♦ You may also add items manually by selecting the New Item button in the Zotero toolbar, and selecting the appropriate item type. Citation information can then be added by hand in the right column.

Attach Files

Zotero automatically saves PDFs along with citations when possible (you can change this in the preferences menu if you wish.) Remember that attachments take up space in your Zotero account -- you get 300 MB free and can buy more space if needed.

You can also attach files manually by dragging a PDF (or other file) into your Zotero pane. Dropping a file onto a collection, will copy it into your library as a standalone item. Dropping it onto an existing item will attach it to that item. This is the easiest way to attach a copy of an article to its entry in your library.

Collect Citations While Searching

Open Zotero on your device. 

Zotero will save your imported citations to the folder in your library that is currently open, so select the appropriate folder for your current research.

All corrections should be done in the Zotero Library, not in the document you are creating. If you correct in your document, your changes will be undone when you refresh.

♦ As you search databases or the web, Zotero will search a page and then try to collect citation information you may want. Select the Zotero icon present to import the citation into your library. The Zotero icons will change as you browse. They will also look slightly different in each browser. 

♦ Find an article, a group of articles, a webpage, or book references you would like to import into Zotero. 

Go to your browser toolbar and select the Zotero icon to the right of your search bar. In Chrome you will see:

    A webpage icon to import webpage metadata or a snapshot of the page.

 A folder icon (multiple references). Select the icon and then check the references you would like to import. 

  A book icon to import a book reference.

  An article icon to import an article reference (and the PDF if available).

PLEASE NOTE: On some web pages, Zotero can't automatically capture citation information, but you can still add the info to your Zotero library:

  • Right-click in your browser.
    • Choose Save to Zotero from the menu. This will save a new web page item to your library. You can then add manually information about the author, etc.
  • You may also attach a snapshot of the page to the citation. Taking a snapshot saves a copy of the page to your computer. It includes the page's text and images, so if the page is removed later, or if you're offline, you'll still be able to view your copy.

If these options don't work for you:

Look for the Export Citations option that most databases offer.                

For example, when importing a citation from Redeemer library's catalogue, select the available Cite feature.                

 Select the citation style required for your research, then select Export to RIS, and import into Zotero. (RIS Research Information Systems, and is a standardized format that enables citation management programs to exchange documents).

  Here is an example from our library catalogue:

For instructions on importing citations into Zotero from various databases, please go to the Import from Databases tab in this guide.


To add a reference manually, choose the plus sign from the top bar in your Zotero library.


Create a free online Zotero account

♦ You can sync all the data you collect for your research, and then access your account on multiple devices.

♦ Zotero stores a copy of your library on the server, and will check for updates whenever you open your library on a different computer. (All your devices must be running on the same version of Zotero).


♦ Be sure to set up this syncing option by entering your user name and password in Zotero under the Edit tab, the Preferences tab and finally the Sync tab. 


♦ Check both boxes under File Syncing and choose Zotero storage for My Library. This will sync your PDF attachments as well as citations. 

♦ Select the circular arrow button at the top right corner of the Zotero window to sync.

♦ Zotero will upload your library to the server. 

♦ Repeat this configuration on each of your computers.  Any updates you make on one of your computers will be reflected on the others. 

Create a Bibliography from your Zotero library. 

♦ Select the references or collections you want to include.

♦ Hold the control key to select multiple items.

♦ Right-click one of the selected items and select Create Bibliography.

♦ Choose the bibliographic style you want, select Copy to Clipboard, then OK, and paste into your word processor.


 Install Zotero's plugin for Microsoft Word or LibreOffice. 

♦ The plugin adds a Zotero toolbar to your word processor, allowing you to add citations to your document while you write.

♦ To add a citation, select the Add/Edit Citation button on the toolbar. Search for the reference you want to cite and press Enter. Zotero will add the citation at your cursor.

♦ At the end of your paper, select the Add/Edit Bibliography button. Your bibliography will appear, and new citations will be added automatically.

♦ Change bibliographic styles with the Document Preferences button.

♦ The toolbar looks different on different operating systems and versions of Word. Mousing over the toolbar will pop up each button's function if they're not clearly labeled.

Information on Zotero and Google Docs

Zotero has a Groups component which allows you to connect and collaborate with other Zotero users. You are able to join and create groups. For private groups, the page offers a way for group members to interact with the group’s collections from anywhere. You may also create public groups that anyone can search and join. To join an existing Zotero library, search for it at or be invited by the group’s owner.

You can create your groups in two ways: 

1. Select New Library > New Group icon in the top left corner of your Zotero library screen.                                          



2.  Login into your online Zotero account and select Groups from your Zotero toolbar 



 Interact With Groups Through Your Zotero Client

If you have enabled data syncing, and are a member of a group with an enabled library, the group library will appear in Zotero's left column. Items can be dragged into it from My Library and viewed or edited by other group members, if their permissions allow it.

For more details and help troubleshooting sync problems, go to the Zotero Website


Peter Turkstra Library,  Redeemer University , 777 Garner Road East, Ancaster, ON, L9K 1J4, Canada
Circulation Desk Telephone: 905.648.2139 ext. 4266, Email: