Quick Zotero guidance to start collaborating on a paper

Zotero is a great open-source software for managing your references. Zotero allows the creation of a repository of articles (Zotero group). This allows group members to add references to the same library, a great feature when collaborating on an article. Everyone can store their articles in that group, and all articles are then synced to all other group members.

It is easy to create a group. Here are a few tips you can share with your co-authors to get them started after creating the Zotero group for all your team members.


After the group is created, the group owner can invite group members. Send your Zotero username to the group owner so that you can be added to the group. You will receive an email when this has happened.

Once you have been added to the group and your Zotero app is synced, you should see the new group library in Zotero.

Word processor integration

Installing Zotero should also automatically install the Zotero integration for Word for you. See here for more info: https://www.zotero.org/support/word_processor_integration

In the Word app (for the Web version of Word, there is currently no plugin available, so I recommend opening the document in the Word app), you will see a new top-level menu called Zotero. This is where you can add in-text citations and also bibliographies. The in-text citation or bibliography will appear where your current insertion point is in your document.

Ensure that the citation you want to add to your document comes from the shared group, not from your other Zotero libraries.

A good introduction to all the features is here: https://www.zotero.org/support/word_processor_plugin_usage.

Zotero will not automatically convert citations you wrote without using Zotero, so you must replace them with Zotero-generated in-text citations. The benefit is that Zotero can then automatically generate the article’s bibliography.

When you work on a new Word document, you will be asked which citation style to use, e.g. APA. If this format is not yet available in your Zotero app, you can install it from the Zotero style repository: https://www.zotero.org/styles
The Zotero menu also has a button for changing the current style to a new one, so you can quickly convert your document from one citation style to another.

You can also integrate Zotero into Google Docs and others (see the Zotero website).

Web browser integration

I recommend installing the Zotero Connector plugin to save articles/websites from your Browser to Zotero (https://www.zotero.org/download/). When you visit a website with an article, click the Zotero import button (save to Zotero). It will download the article and all the metadata into Zotero (the collection folder you opened last).