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Learn how to use the reference management software Zotero.

Citation styles

Choose a citation style for exporting

  • Open your Zotero desktop, click Edit > Preferences > Export
  • In the Default Output Format box, select a citation style you want to use for exporting references e,g, American Psychological Association 7th edition, click OK

Citation style preview 

  • Open your Zotero desktop, click Edit > Preferences > Cite
  • Click the Style Preview button to preview selected references in a style you used

Edit a citation style

Zotero allows users editing citation style using CSL Visual Editor. A step by step guide is available on its website.

Collections and subcollections

  • You can organise your Zotero library by adding more collections. All references are stored in My Library.
  • Right click on My Library and select New Collection, enter a name for this collection.
  • To add an item to a collection, simply drag it from the My Library collection to the collection you want it to be in.  


  • You can also create subcollections within each collection, to further subdivide your library. Right click a collection and select New Subcollection

Note: all items will remain in the My Library collection, as well as the collection you have moved it to. 

Use Tags / Notes / Related

Each item in your library can be tagged with keywords, annotated and linked to other related articles in your Zotero Library. These functions appear next to the item info tab in the right hand corner of your library: 



Tags: This tab allows you to create your own keyword tags for items in your Zotero library. These can be any words you choose, but maintaining consistency in the words you use is important. This function allows you to search your library for that keyword, to get a list of items that you have tagged. You will also notice that many items that you save in your library will already have tags. These tags are an automatic part of the import process and can be used or deleted as you please. The tags also appear at the bottom of the Collections column (bottom left hand of your library). 

Notes: Zotero allows you to annotate your records with child notes. A note might, for example, be a brief explanation to yourself about why the article is useful to your study, or how it is related to another article. You could also create a standalone note that does not directly link to any item in your library. Find more details on Zotero's online guide.  

Related: This tab allows you to build up a list of other items in your library that are related to that particular item.