Help Guides » Zotero Basics

Zotero Basics

Zotero Set up

What is Zotero?

Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use software program to help you collect, manage, and cite your sources. It integrates with your web browser.


  • Keep track of resources, notes, and pdfs of articles
  • Create citations
  • Create bibliographies in Word or Google Docs

Install Zotero

Set up for use on one computer

1. Download  and Install desktop application on your computer.

A MS Word Plugin should install automatically if you have MS Word.

2. Download and Install the “Connector” for your web browser(s).

Browser Options:

  • Google Chrome
  • Mozilla Fox
  • Safari

Sync Zotero on multiple devices

  1. Register for a free Zotero account online. 
  2.  Login to your Zotero account via the Edit menu inside the software application on your computer. Click Preferences, then Sync to sync your account.
  3. When you are away from your computer you may access your library on the Zotero login online.

    For more information about syncing: Zotero Website.


Add Single Resources via Browser

zotero book browser icon
Click Broswer itcon so save citation for item

Click the Browser icon to add the item to Zotero.

Note: Icon images will vary by browser. 

Zotero help page: Adding Items to Zotero

Zotero “watches” the web pages you view looking for books, articles or other sources.

If Zotero detects that you’re looking at a book or article in Primo, a database, or a site like the New York Times, you’ll see a book or article icon appear in the browser address bar.

Webpage Article: article browser icon

☑: item information added to Zotero

Library item record:  book browser icon

☑: item information added to Zotero

Other Website: Website browser icon

❌: item information not saved. A picture of the webpage will be added to Zotero. 


Add Multiple Resources via Browser

Click the folder to save multiple items from a search results

If you’re on a page of search results in Primo or a Database with many items, you’ll see a folder icon instead.

  1. Click the icon to get a list of all the items.
  2. Check the box for the ones you want to save
  3. Click OK

Add Items Inside Zotero

There are 3 ways to add items to your library from within the Zotero Program.

1. Add Item by Identifier – search for a know item by clicking on the wand icon.

Search for items inside Zotero

2. Manually Add items. Click the Plus sign in the menu to add new items.


Choose the source type from the menu


3. Primo Favorites IMPORT. Open your favorites to the Saved Records Tab in your Primo Library Account. Select all the items. Click the ellipses button (…) for more options, then select Export RIS.

Primo my favorites menu export RIS selected


In Zotero, Open the file menu and select “Import…”.

File menu with Import selected

 Find a file called Primo_RIS_Export in your downloads folder.

Downloads folder with RIS file type selected


Importing from Primo Favorites (3 min)

This video was created for another campus, but the steps in CUW’s Primo are the same.

Add items from Primo

1. Browzine. For some articles you can click “View Issue Contents”.

Search results item with arrow to

2. Click the Export Citation icon

Browzine record with export citation link clicked

3. Click Zotero from the menu.

Chose Zotero in the Export Citation menu in Browzine