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Library Research Guides


Zotero is a free citation management tool to help you save and organize citations and automatically create formatted bibliographies.

Sync Your Zotero Library

By default, Zotero saves information to your computer, not to the Web. But through its Sync feature Zotero 2.0 allows you to synchronize your citations across multiple workstations. You can also access your library through the website, from anywhere you can access the Web.

To sync your library you'll need to create a Zotero account, if you don't already have one.

To sync your Zotero library:

1. Go to the Middle Panel of the Zotero pane and click the Actions menu icon and select Preferences.

2. In the Sync tab, enter your Zotero Forums username and password.

3. Notice that the Sync Automatically option is checked by default. This will ensure that your library is synced whenever changes are made. You may disable automatic syncing by deselecting the box. To perform a manual sync, click the sync button () near the far right side of the Zotero pane.

    Zotero handles citation data syncing and attached file syncing separately. The Zotero website provides more information about file syncing options.

    Access Your Library Online

    While Zotero 2.0 still requires Firefox, it also gives you the ability to access your library with any web browser using the Zotero website. To use this feature you'll first need to sign up for a Zotero account and sync your library as described above. When you're ready to access your library, sign in to the Zotero website using the account credentials you've created and click the My Library tab at the far left. You'll see a list of all the items in your library, with any collections you've created displayed at the left side of the screen.

    Clicking on an item in your library will display the item details:

    You can access the Zotero website from a mobile device – a handy feature when looking up references in the library stacks. If you have enabled file sync for your account, a link to each attached file will be displayed with the item details. You can use this link to access PDFs or other files you have attached to your saved Zotero items.

    The Zotero website also contains a number of "social" features. You can create a profile for yourself, discover people doing research in similar areas, upload your C.V. and follow the libraries of other researchers. Be sure to explore the Profile, Settings and People tabs, and see the Create and Manage Groups section of this guide for instructions on setting up shared group libraries.

    Export to Other Citation Programs

    To use the citations in your Zotero library in a program such as EndNote or to create a back-up copy of your Zotero library:

    1. Click on the Actions menu icon () and select Export.

    2. A dialog box will appear prompting you to choose the format of your exported document. Click on the Format pulldown list to select a format.

    3. If you plan to create a back-up copy of your Zotero library,  choose Zotero RDF. If you would like to export your library to another citation program such as Endnote or RefWorks, choose RIS.

    4. Click OK to save the file. You can now import the file into another citation program.

    Export window

    Troubleshooting Sync

    Synchronizing files from multiple computers is a complex task, and at some point your library may get into an inconsistent state. The Reset section of the Sync tab under Actions > Preferences contains options for reconciling your local database copy with the version that's stored on the Zotero servers.

    Sync troubleshooting is a complex topic. For more information, please read the Zotero documentation:

    Before attempting to fix any problem with sync, you should make sure you have a recent backup of your Zotero library.