Answered By: Christy Cechman
Last Updated: Jul 03, 2017     Views: 2005

First, be sure that you have Zotero loaded on your system.  Open Mozilla Firefox browser and go to Zotero website ( (Zotero is not available for Internet Explorer. Zotero was originally designed to work as a Firefox extension so for best results use Zotero for FireFox (

  • Download Zotero and follow the instructions to install in Firefox browser (it may be necessary to allow the application to run in the security bar). 
  • After restarting your browser, click on the  Zotero icon Zotero icon  installed in the bottom right hand corner of your browser.  A window should open up in the bottom of your browser.

Your Firefox browser should have a ‘Z’ button and an item icon in the Firefox toolbar:


If you don’t see the ‘Z’ there, it may be hidden in the toolbar overflow panel. Check by clicking the double arrows to the right of the toolbar to expand the toolbar menu.

NOTE: Make sure your Zotero preferences are set to automatically attach associated PDFs and files.

To download an individual item along with the associated files (such as PDF):

  1. Be sure you are logged in to Zotero.
  2. From your results list, click the item you wish to download.

    Zotero click on article

  3. Click the icon next to the ‘Z’ which will show an individual record icon/symbol such as a journal article, book, or newspaper.

    Zotero icon

  4. You’ll know the items are being saved because there will be a notification window shown on your screen.
  5. To see your results, open Zotero –click on Z.

To download multiple items from library databases directly from your search results list:

  1. Click the folder icon next to the ‘Z’ button.
  2. Select the items you wish to download and click OK.

    Zotero multiple items list

  3. You’ll know the items are being saved because there will be a notification window.

    Zotero saving box

  4. To see your results, open Zotero. If you have selected multiple files, you may not see them immediately as it could take longer to download.


  • Zotero attempts to include PDFs and associated files when possible. When exporting from a list, Zotero will even include PDFs from certain databases, such as EBSCO and JSTOR.
  • Double-check your citations against your program style guide! Database publishers do the best they can to provide correct citation information, and the citations that they generate can save you a lot of typing by getting most of the pieces in place.  But because of the lack of standardization among electronic sources, some exported citations will contain errors.

For additional help, see the Zotero Support Page: