Zotero helps researchers gather, manage, store, and generate citations and bibliographies. It is a free tool.

Zotero Sync

If you're regularly using more than one computer in your research, Zotero's sync feature can keep your library up to date on all of them.  Zotero can store a copy of your library on the Zotero.org server and check it for updates whenever you open your library on a different computer.  All your computers must be running the same version of Zotero.

First, set up a free Zotero.org user account. Then:

  • Open Zotero preferences (via the gear menu) and select the Sync tab. 

Screenshot of Zotero Sync Preferences box

  • Enter your Zotero user name and password. 
  • Check the "sync automatically" box.
  • Check both boxes under File Syncing and choose Zotero storage for My Library. This will sync your PDF attachments as well as citations (more info).
  • Click the green circular arrow button at the top right corner of the Zotero window.

Screenshot highlighting the round green sync arrow in upper right-hand corner of Zotero.

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. This even works to synchronize your library among Windows, Mac and Linux computers.

For more details and help troubleshooting sync problems, check the Zotero site.

Fair Use Logo This section adapted from Jason Puckett's guide through the Georgia State University Library.

Export Your Library

If you're working on a library computer, there's another easy option for taking your Zotero library with you.

On the File menu in Zotero, select "Export Library..." 

Zotero file menu is selected, drop-down menu is seen.


Zotero "Eport Library" Drop-down menu shows several choices of format to export to. Here the RDF format is selected.

Select one of the file formats you would like to export to. In this case we chose "Zotero RDF" as it is easily re-imported to Zotero at a later date. RDF is also the most versatile when importing to other citation managers. 

Zotero and Storage

Zotero is free to use and will store information up to 300MB. If you need more than 300mb, Zotero offers reasonably-priced plans. See the plans here.

Zotero storage setting shown in user's web-based Zotero account.

Trash is selected.You can monitor your storage in your Zotero account. Once you are logged on, select "Settings" at the top o the page, the "Storage." You can monitor your storage and purchase additional storage here.




Note: Like the recycling can in Windows or the trash can on Macs, whenever you "move item to trash" Zotero is just moving it into the trash can. These items remain in the trash (and count as part of your storage) until you empty it. 

Moving from Another Reference Manager to Zotero

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