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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

The VERY Basics

These 8 points are the minimum you need to know to dive right in.  If you are happiest exploring a new tool on your own, go for it!  If you would like more detail before you start, go to the "Basics of Zotero: In Detail" box below for the Getting Started With Zotero: The Basics detailed handout.


1. Download Zotero 6.0 for Windows or Mac AND the browser connector, and register for a free online account.

2. Open Zotero desktop.  In your browser, search for an article.

3. Click the Zotero icon at the top of your browser to save a citation from that page.  It will look different   depending on how many articles there are in your list. A pop-up window will appear on the upper right of the screen and will indicate where your citations are being save in your Zotero library

4. To manually add a citation, highlight the folder you plan to use. Click the new item button  and choose the type of item you would like to add.  Type in each field necessary for your citation.

5. Edit citations by clicking on a field.

6. Create and edit folders to organize your work. To move an item to Trash, right click, and choose "Move Item to Trash."  Items stay in the "Trash" folder until you empty it.

7. Zotero makes it easy to view the article for a citation that you have saved in your Zotero collection, but there is a setting that you can adjust to make it more reliable from off campus.  To set the UMass Libraries as your favorite library, click on "Edit," "Preferences," then in "Advanced," enter "" as resolver, version 1.0.


8. Writing your paper, use the Zotero tab in Word  



or Libra Office      



or Google Docs       to insert citations and a bibliography.


Zotero support:

Basics of Zotero: In Detail

This thorough guide contains expanded step-by-step instructions with screenshots, and detail on additional topics:


Created by BMB students Nora Haggerty '22, Ethan Goulart '22, and Saoirse Hanbury '23.

Video Tutorials

If all you want are short video tutorials on how to do specific things, you have come to the right place.  These video tutorials are also listed, with more context, in the Getting Started with Zotero: The Basics guide, above. The videos are borrowed from other libraries so please contact Melanie if you have questions.  

The first video shows how to download Zotero and the Zotero Connector for your browser.


This video shows how to create an online Zotero account, then how to link it to your desktop Zotero and synch them.


This video shows how to save references to your Zotero library. 


This video shows how to create citations and reference lists in Zotero, and how to cite things while you are writing.

And this video shows how to set up shared group libraries in Zotero.