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Zotero - Free Citation Management System!

Cite in APA, AMA, MLA, Chicago, and so many more citation styles!

Zotero Preferences

Below are instructions for setting up the Zotero app downloaded to your computer. You may need to Search programs and files to open your computer-based Zotero program.

Setting up Preferences is a first step after downloading Zotero. See the Recommended Changes to Default Preferences box below.

  1. Go to the top left-hand Zotero navigation and select Edit > Preferences

screenshot of Zotero navigation showing Edit menu open with Preferences selected

Recommended Changes to Default Preferences

Changes are recommended in the following areas


  1. Remove the check mark in the Miscellaneous area that says Automatically tag items with keywords and subject headings. Your own tags will be more useful than database tags.

General Zotero Preferences


  1. Enter your username and password to log in to your Zotero account so your Zotero library can be synchronized between devices, and on Zotero's cloud server. This way, if your computer crashes, you'll still have your Zotero collections saved in Zotero's cloud.
  2. If you have not yet created your Zotero account, select Create Account.



  1. No recommended changes.


  1. Select your desired citation style output for copying and pasting/dragging and dropping citations.  If your desired citation style is not on the list, no worries, see the next step under Cite.

Desired Citation Style

Cite: There are several potential changes you may wish to make:

Cite: Styles Tab:

  1. If you need a style not listed by default, select Get additional styles to add one of the many citation styles available through Zotero.
  2. If you are using a citation style that indicates [online] in the references, select the button next to Include URLs of paper articles in references (Note: you may have to update this preference anytime you switch citation styles).

Screenshot of Cite under Zotero Preferences showing the Styles tab and indicating: Add different citation styles as needed; If you're using a citation style that indicates [online] in the references list, check Include URLs of paper articles

Cite: Word Processors Tab:

  1. If not installed, install Word Add-in
  2. Check the box next to Use classic Add Citation dialog

Screenshot of the Word Processors tab under Cite that indicates: Make sure Word Add-in is installed; Select box next to Use classic Add Citation dialog

You should be ready to go!