Skip to main content

Zotero: FAQ

This guide will help you use the free online citation and research management tool Zotero to organize citations from Library catalogs and databases.

Installation and Operation

1. Why doesn't the Zotero toolbar display in Word 2016 on my Mac?

First try reinstalling the toolbar under Zotero Preferences > Cite > Word Processors. Be sure that your Word application is completely shut down before doing so. After installing, open Word and check to see if it is there.  If it is not, it might be because your copy of Word 2016 is not up to date. In your Word Help menu, select "Check for Updates." You may need to do this more than once to ensure that all the updates are installed. 

Importing references

1. Why is the capitalization incorrect in my bibliography?

When you import a reference, Zotero saves it exactly as it appears in the online resource. You can change that to Title Case or Sentence case by right-cicking on the title and choosing an option under "Transform Text." You are advised to choose Sentence case because this can be easily converted by Zotero to Title Case if the style you choose requires this. But it is not as easy for Zotero to convert Title Case to Sentence case because some words might need to remain capitalized (such as proper nouns). 

screen shot of transform text menu

2. Why doesn't the Zotero translator (Zotero icon in the browser) correctly import the reference?

screen shot of save menuThere are some pages you will visit that won't have adequate metadata for Zotero to translate, in which case you will need to manually enter the data. However, if you are having this difficulty with a catalog or database, look for the option to select and/or save the item. Then choose the option to view the items (usually a folder or link near the top of the screen). If you are given the option to Export or Save, your options may include Export to Zotero. If not, choose either BibTeX or RIS.

In Zotero, choose File > Import and navigate to where the RIS or BibTeX file was saved. It will import the reference(s) into a new folder, where you can review them for accuracy. You can then drag them into a collection.



Editing Citations and Bibliographies

1. Why can't I edit my citations using my word processor instead of Zotero?

Zotero gives you options for adding notes before and after your citations, adding page numbers, and combining more than one reference into a single citation. If you use the Zotero options, when you change a citation style or correct item data in your Zotero library, Zotero will be able to automatically update the citation. If instead you manually edit the citation, Zotero can no longer automatically update the citation and will give you a pop-up warning. It will prompt you to either discard all your manual changes, or maintain the citation as is, which will prevent any future automatic updates of that citation. 

2. How can I remove references from a bibliography?

When creating a document in your word processor, there may be times when you want sources cited in your document but not in the bibliography. Use the Add/Edit Bibliography command and remove items from the right pane of the window using the left arrow.

Edit bibliography screen

Attempting to edit a deleted reference will prompt an error message, so this step should be done in the final stages of editing your document.

Copyright © 2014-2016 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved. Except where otherwise noted, this work is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License.