Zotero F.A.Q.

last modified 2016-04-28T16:30:13-04:00

If you don't see your question below, please ask us! We'll get back to you as soon as we can!



Why can't I see an icon to save an item?

There are several possible reasons:

        • Usually this is because the page you're on doesn't have the information tagged in a way that Zotero recognizes. Try right-clicking in a blank area of the page and saving a snapshot – just keep in mind you will need to add a lot of the information manually.
        • Make sure you're using an appropriate browser with Zotero and any necessary connectors installed.

Can I use Zotero with Internet Explorer?

No, not at this time. Developers at Zotero are working on a plug-in for Internet Explorer, but it is not expected to be out soon.

I just clicked on an item to save it, but it didn't show up in my library. What’s wrong?

There are several possible reasons this might happen:

        • Did you get an error message? Sometimes something does go wrong. If so, try going to the Zotero Forums for assistance.
        • If you're using Chrome or Safari, make sure you have Zotero Standalone open in the background.
        • If you're a member of any Zotero Groups, make sure you have an actual library or collection selected in Zotero. If you have "Group Libraries" selected, Zotero will save an item to your "My Library" section, because it doesn't know which group to put it in - even if you're only in one group!

I'm logged into the Zotero Website. Why don't I see the icon to save items?

Zotero has very limited functionality through the website for saving items. You must have Zotero installed to see the icon – the only way to add items through the website is by manual entry.

    I'm viewing a PDF online. Why don't I see an icon to save the item?

    Zotero is constantly scanning for citation information on webpages, but pages that display PDFs rarely have this information available in a form Zotero recognizes. If possible, try backing up a page in your browser to see if the icon is available. Alternatively, save a copy of the PDF, and add the item directly from the PDF (see directions below).

    • Download and save the PDF.
    • Drag and drop the PDF into your Zotero library (Do not drop it on a specific item, or it will be added as a file for that item)
    • Right-click on the PDF and choose "Retrieve Metadata for PDF."
    • Zotero will scan the PDF for the DOI and then download the citation information from a website like Google Scholar.
      • Note that not every PDF will work, particularly older articles and scanned images.
    • If Zotero is unable to retrieve the metadata, try going to a database and downloading the citation information for the article, then drag and drop the PDF file onto the Item in your Zotero Library. The PDF should appear as a file attached to that item.

      Zotero doesn't have the citation style I need. What do I do?

      Zotero automatically installs a small group of standard citation styles, but many more are available. Follow the directions below to download additional styles.

      • Open Zotero's Preferences menu, click on the "Cite" tab, then click "Styles"
      • Under the list of citation styles, click the link "Get additional styles…"
      • Browse by subject or search for the style you would like to use.
      • Usually Zotero will automatically install citation styles, but if it doesn't, click the "+" button under your list of citation styles to search for the downloaded file and install it.

        Zotero didn't format my citation correctly! What's wrong?

        There are several possible reasons for this to occur:

          • Usually this is due to an error in the data Zotero gathered from the website. It's always a good idea to skim through the item info after saving a new item, and make sure you have all of the information you need, and that it's accurate.
          • Some citation styles no longer require certain types of information (such as web address or DOI), but allow you to include it as an option. In these cases, Zotero defaults to including that information – you can easily delete it if you don't want to include it.
          • Citation styles can change frequently, so you need to be using the most recent version. Zotero automatically updates citation styles you have installed, but if you think it's wrong, you can do a manual update. Open the Zotero Preferences window and check styles under the Cite tab. Click "Get additional styles…" to see if the date the style was last updated corresponds to the most recent version available.

        In Word, the red search box disappeared but didn't insert the citation – I just see [citation] in my document.

        Minimize your windows and see if the search box appears. This usually occurs because you accidentally clicked somewhere outside the search box. After locating the item you want to cite, be sure to hit the "Enter" key to insert the citation.

          Can I add a Word document to Zotero?

          No, Zotero doesn't save Word documents in its library. The only way you could do this would be to save a copy of the file as a PDF and upload it to Zotero.

            The Zotero connector for Safari didn't install! How do I fix it?

            There are a variety of reasons this might happen. Please work through the steps below, and if you're still having trouble, we recommend contacting the experts by going to the Zotero Forums and posting your questions.

            Note: for all of the steps below, make sure you are on a page with a save-able item (click here for a good test page) to test the connector, and keep Zotero Standalone up and running.

                • First, try restarting Safari.
                • If that doesn't work, try to re-install the connector.
                • Try clearing your Safari cache for zotero.org. Safari preferences -> Privacy -> Cookies and other website data -> Details -> "zotero.org" -> click the search result and Remove. Then try downloading again.
                • Make sure you're using the most recent version of Safari. Zotero doesn't work with all older versions.
                • Make sure that the connector is enabled by opening Safari's Extensions menu and looking for the Zotero Connector in the list of extensions.

              Will Zotero add items from a bibliography in a PDF or Word document?

              No, Zotero is currently not capable of adding items from a list of citations. You will need to search for items yourself to add them into your Zotero library. (Not sure how to search for articles? Check out this tutorial.)

              Why can't I find the group I want to join on the Zotero Website?

              There are two possible reasons for this:

                  • Newly created groups can take a few days to show up in the search results on the website. Ask the group admin to send you a direct link to the group page.
                  • Private groups do not show up in the search results. You must receive an invitation from a group administrator.

              Can I use Zotero on my tablet/smartphone?

              Maybe. There is no official Zotero app, but there are some unofficial Zotero apps out there, such as Zotpad for Apple devices. Keep in mind that most of these apps do not offer the same functionality as Zotero. Search for Zotero in your app store.

              How can I tell if I've already saved an item to my Zotero library?

              Zotero doesn't automatically check for this. However, you can look for duplicates in your Zotero Library by clicking "Duplicate Items" under "My Library" in Zotero.

              How do I recover items I accidentally deleted?

              First make sure you actually deleted the item. If you hit the "Delete" key while viewing an item in a collection, Zotero will remove the item from that collection, but not your library (check by clicking on "Unfiled Items" to see if your item appears there). Next, check the Trash folder in your Zotero Library. Deleted items remain in this folder for about 1 month. If it's been longer than that since you deleted the item, you will be unable to recover it.

              How can I quickly find which items I've tagged?

              You can search your library by tag using the tag library in the lower left corner of the Zotero Window, or the search box just above your list of items. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to separate tagged and untagged items.

              If I can't install Zotero on a computer, can I still access my citations?

              Yes, but you will have limited functionality. You can log into the Zotero website anywhere you have internet access, and view your library, as well as manually add new items.

              How many computers can I sync to a single Zotero account?

              There is no limit on how many computers you can have linked to a single Zotero account. However, be aware that you cannot have multiple accounts synced from the same computed!