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We're in the process of updating the documentation for Zotero 5.0. Some documentation may be outdated in the meantime. Thanks for your understanding.

Zotero offers various options for storing bibliographic information, for example from books, magazine articles or websites. Objects such as PDFs or images can be saved for these entries.

For friends of the English language:

Automatic transfer from websites

Requirement: Zotero for Firefox or Zotero Standalone with the connectors for Chrome, Safari or Opera (see installation).

Zotero automatically recognizes bibliographic information on many websites. For example, if you look at the entry for a book in a library catalog, the Zotero memory icon in the address bar of your browser often turns into a small book:

If you click on this symbol, Zotero automatically saves the bibliographic information for the displayed book title as a new book entry.

With some websites, such as Google Scholar, you can already transfer data to Zotero from the result lists. In this case, Zotero will show a folder icon behind the URL. If you click on the folder symbol, you will get a list of the displayed titles that you can select for transfer to Zotero:

By the way, if you have selected a collection instead of “My Library” before researching in Zotero, then newly transferred data will automatically be assigned to this collection.

Whether Zotero can recognize data for transfer to its own library depends on the respective provider. Some websites are based on standards (via embedded metadata), others require specific “web translators”. The Zotero takeover works for many library catalogs, but also for popular providers such as Amazon or Flickr and for many providers of scientific databases. In case of doubt, the address bar shows whether a data transfer is possible. For more information, see the list of compatible websites.

Add entries via identifier

Zotero entries can be created particularly quickly using the unique identifiers ISBN, DOI (Digital Object Identifier) ​​or PubMed ID. The menu item “Add entry via identifier” is available for input. available in the Zotero menu bar.

Zotero uses the following databases to research the bibliographic data: WorldCat for ISBNs, CrossRef for DOIs, and NCBI PubMed for PubMed IDs.

Record web pages

When using Zotero as a Firefox plugin you can add any website as an entry by clicking on the button in the Firefox toolbar. If the page is not recognized by a translator, a gray symbol appears for a page:

If “Automatically take a snapshot as soon as an entry is created from a website” is checked in the settings, then a copy or a snapshot of a website is automatically saved on your computer to the bibliographic data.

When using the Standalone version of Zotero you can take a snapshot of the current page by right-clicking in the background of the page and selecting “Create new entry from current website”.

Import from other applications

You can also use Zotero if you have previously used other literature management software. To do this, you must first export your data from the previous software. You can transfer the exported data to Zotero under the menu item “Actions” with “Import…”.

It is also possible to import from Endnote and from Citavi!

Zotero supports the import of the following formats:

  • MODS (Metadata Object Description Schema)
  • Unqualified Dublin Core RDF

Please note that the import and export functions are not intended for transferring Zotero libraries between different Zotero libraries, as there is always a loss during export and import. This becomes even more important when there are already links to the word processor. Instead, you should use Zotero synchronization or manual copying of the Zotero data.

Add PDF and other files

To add PDFs or other files from your computer to Zotero, you can drag and drop them into Zotero. The file can either be appended to an existing entry or saved between the entries as a separate entry.

Alternatively, you can also use the options “Save a copy of a file…” in the “New Entry” menu (green plus) or “Attach a saved copy of the file…” in the “Add attachment” menu (paper clip).

In the case of PDF files that have been added as separate entries, you can try to call up the metadata for PDF files by selecting the option from the context menu (right-click) for the relevant PDF file.

Add and edit entries by hand

New entries

Via the green "New Entry" icon Above the middle column Title overview a selection menu with the last used entry types is called up. All possible entry types (except website) are offered to you via “More”. If you have selected an entry type, a new, empty entry is created. In the right column you can add the bibliographic data.

Note: If you want to create a new entry for a website, it is usually easier to call up the website and then save it in Zotero (see Adding websites). For this reason, the entry type “Website” is not offered in the menu for new entries. If you still want to manually create an entry for a website, you should first create any entry and then assign it the entry type “Website”.

Edit entries

If you select an entry in the middle column, the bibliographic data are displayed in the right column in the info tab. Most fields can be edited. To do this, click in the appropriate field and then enter your change. The data is saved automatically.

Some of these fields have special processing characteristics:


Each entry can be linked to several people, e.g. as an author or editor. The participation of the person can be selected by clicking on the field name (e.g. author). A person can be deleted using the minus symbol to the right of it. Additional persons can be added using the plus symbol. People can be re-sorted using the menu behind the field name (Move up / Move down).

The small switch next to the name can be used to switch between the display with two fields and the display with one field. Two fields are useful if personal names (last name, first name) are entered. In the case of institutions, the representation should be changed to the individual field.

Journal Abbreviation

Journal articles are often cited with abbreviated journal titles. Zotero stores the title and abbreviation in different fields: publication and journal abbreviation. The abbreviation is required for many citation styles. Even if some citation styles have different requirements, the biggest difference is usually whether or not periods have to be used (e.g. “PLoS Biol” or “PLoS Biol.”). Since points are better removed than added automatically, abbreviations should be saved with points. Zotero will then automatically remove the dots if a citation style requires it.


In English, titles are usually capitalized or capitalized in sentences (see also style.html). Depending on the citation style, different rules apply to upper and lower case letters. Since an automatic conversion from sentence capitalization to title capitalization is easier than the other way around, sentence capitalization should always be used. Zotero then adapts the upper and lower case in bibliographies to the selected citation style.

Changes to the upper and lower case in title fields (such as title, publication or title of the series) can be made using "Transform text". This is called up in the title field with the right mouse button. The changes should then always be checked for incorrect upper or lower case letters.


Links in the fields URL (“URL:”) and DOI (“DOI:”) can be opened by clicking the field name in the browser (DOI-resolved).