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Zotero: Citation Management

How to install and get started using Zotero

Adding attachments, notes, and tags to your references

Every item in your library contains different metadata.  This includes titles, authors, publishers, dates, and other information about the item.  You can also attach notes, files, tags, and links to the item.  

The menu with a list of your libraries and collection is located on the left pane.  The reference items will appear in the center pane. The metadata that Zotero was able to capture- citation info, attachments, notes, tags-  will appear in the pane on the right. 

Zotero dashboard

Attachments and Links

Zotero will automatically attach PDFs to references when possible.  You can also add PDFs from your own computer by clicking and dragging a pdf onto the center pane in Zotero, or by clicking the paperclip icon on the Zotero toolbar and selecting the PDF or link to a reference. 

If you want to add a pdf to an existing reference in your library, be sure to click on the reference first and then click on the paperclip icon. 


You can add notes to any of your references:

  1. Click on the reference you'd like to add notes to
  2. Click on the Notes tab in the metadata pane on the right
  3. Click Add

Zotero notes field


When you add a reference from online Zotero will automatically add any tags that it can find.  You can delete, edit, and add your own tags to each reference item.  This is a great way to keep track of terminology and controlled vocabulary related to the reference item specifically, and your research more broadly.   

All of the tags for a particular library will appear in the tag selector, a box on the bottom of the left pane.  You can also assign colors to tags by right-clicking the tag and selecting Assign color... 

To view tags assigned to individual reference items, click on a reference item and then click on the Tags tab on the pane on the right. This is also where you can add or remove tags. 


Zotero tag selector and tags field