Accessibility statement


Zotero is a reference management tool that can be used for storing bibliographic information and adding citations. Click on the tabs below for information about Zotero.

About Zotero

Zotero is a free, open-source reference management tool that comes in three components: Zotero Web library, Zotero Desktop (installed onto a Mac or Windows computer) and Zotero Connector. Zotero Desktop is used for advanced management options and for citing. The Zotero Connector is a browser extenstion that can be used to collect some references directly from a website.  All are free to use, and Zotero Desktop is available on all University managed computers as well as personal computers. 

Zotero allows you to:

  • Collect and organise references retrieved when searching online resources
  • Generate bibliographic lists
  • Insert and format in-text citations and reference lists in Microsoft Word, Google Docs or LibreOffice
  • Sync your library with Zotero Web Library, so it can be accessed anywhere
  • Zoom Connector can automatically import information and some PDFs while viewing them in your browser
  • Create a ‘group library’ and share with other Zotero users

For more information on the features of Zotero and to see a comparison of other reference management tools, see our Reference Management practical guide.

Obtaining the software

Once you have registered to use Zotero, you can access your Zotero Web Library from anywhere with a computer connected to the Internet. To use most functionality, including adding citations, you should also install Zotero Desktop and the Zotero Connector.

All University of York classroom PCs include Zotero Desktop, and include installation of the Zotero plugin for Microsoft Word.


A Zotero account is not managed by the University, so you cannot simply log on using your University username and password. You can register using any email address. However, to make use of the collaborative tools it may help other users if you register using your UoY address.

For security reasons, do not use your UoY password when you register.

  1. Visit and click on Log in.
  2. Select Register for a free account from the top of the page. 
  3. Enter a username, your email address and other details to complete the registration process. Do not forget to set a good and safe password that is different to your UoY password.
  4. You will then be sent a verification email from Zotero. Open your emails and click the link to verify your account. 
  5. Back on the Zotero website, select Log in and sign in using the details you entered.

Zotero Desktop

Managed PCs

To install Zotero Desktop on office PCs managed by IT Services, follow these steps:

  1. From the Start Menu search for and open Software Center.
  2. Locate the software under the Available Software tab.
  3. Click on the Install button in the lower right.

Once installed, it appears under Start.

Unmanaged PCs and home use

To install Zotero Desktop on an unmanaged or personal computer, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to the Zotero website.
  2. Select Download from the top of the page, or go to the Zotero Downloads page. Select download under Zotero for Windows/Mac.
  3. If open on your computer, first close and exit Microsoft Word or LibreOffice.
  4. Once downloaded, open the file to run the installer. Follow the on-screen instructions. 

Sync your library

Once Zotero Desktop is installed, you should enter your account details into the ‘Sync’ settings to backup and sync your library with your Zotero Web account. This will ensure you can see your library on the Zotero Web library, and sync it with other devices.

Go to Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Zotero > Preferences (Mac) and select Sync. Enter your Zotero account username and password and select Set up syncing. 

Zotero Connector web importer

The Zotero Connector extension is available for most internet browsers including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Firefox. The button in your browser allows you to directly import some PDFs, web pages and bibliographic information directly into your reference library when viewing search engines and academic databases. You will be prompted to install it when opening Zotero Desktop for the first time or can install the Zotero Connector for your browser from the Zotero Downloads page. See our Reference Management guide on collecting references for more information. 

Installing this browser extension will also allow you to cite from your Zotero library into Google Docs. A 'Zotero' menu will appear when opening an document in Google Docs in the web browser.

Citation Plugin

When installing Zotero Desktop, it will automatically install a citation plugin for Microsoft Word or LibreOffice. In Microsoft Word, you should see a new tab called ‘Zotero’ to be able to insert citations in your selected referencing style. See our Reference Management Practical guide for more information on Citing with Zotero.

Documentation, training and support


  • Our Reference Management Practical Guide has guidance on using the features of Zotero and the other three supported reference management applications, as well as the general principles of reference management and how to choose the right tool for you
  • Zotero's own help guides