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Zotero citation manager: Tips
and Tricks

Simplify research with this free tool for organizing and citing your sources.

Indexing PDFs

PDF indexing will allow you to search the full text of many of your saved PDFs. To enable it, visit the Search tab of Zotero's preferences (gear menu).  Zotero will download and install a small plugin.

With this feature turned on, you’ll also be able to automatically import the citation info for any PDFs you add to your library. Just drag your PDF files into the Zotero pane. Right-click the PDFs and choose "Retrieve Metadata for PDFs."  Zotero will try to retrieve their citation data. If Zotero can't find the citation data, don't worry—you can still save the citation from another catalog or article database, or enter it manually, then drag the PDF onto the citation to make it an attachment.

Adding items by ISBN

Have the book in front of you and want to add it to your Zotero library without having to search for a citation?

If you have a book's ISBN, an online article's DOI or PMID number, just click the magic wand button: "Add item by identifier." Type in the book or article's number, and Zotero will automatically download its information and save it to your library.

Zotero + EndNote

It's easy to use EndNote and Zotero together and take advantage of the best features of each, or to share Zotero libraries with colleagues using EndNote or vice versa. Both programs can read and write a standard citation file format called RIS, which means references can be converted back and forth with a few clicks.

PDFs and other attachments do not export between programs, however; only citation information.

Zotero to EndNote

To save your Zotero library for importing into EndNote, click the Zotero button that looks like a gear and choose "Export Library." Choose RIS as the file type and pick a filename.

In EndNote, click "File" and then "Import." Click the "Choose File" button and select the file you just exported from Zotero. Set Import Option to "Reference Manager (RIS)" and click Import.

EndNote to Zotero

To export your EndNote library for use in Zotero, click "File" and then "Export." Set the output style to "RefMan (RIS) Export" and save it as a text file.

In Zotero, click the button that looks like a gear and choose "Import." Just double-click the file you exported from EndNote. The new references will be added to a collection named "Imported" followed by the date and time.

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Amelia Koford
Library Office 115


Many thanks to Jason Puckett for creating the Georgia State University Library's Zotero guide, which is the source of much of this guide's content!