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APA 7th Edition: Zotero Citation Manager

Zotero Citation Manager

Zotero is a free (with paid tier options) citation manager available via web browser or desktop. Zbib is Zotero's citation generator - also free. Both are open source and actively updated.

Why use a citation manager?

  • Organize your research throughout your degree.
  • Share found articles and notes for group projects.
  • Easy bibliography builder.
  • Export your citation to other platforms.
  • Browser plug-in for grabbing web resources.
  • Sync across devices.

Documentation and Support - Instructions for getting started and learning all the Zotero functions. START HERE.

Zotero Downloads - Desktop, browser, and plugins

How to Use Zotero

From Your Browser

When you install the Zotero browser plug-in, you can add articles, web documents, and even YouTube videos to your account. You can even add articles from EBSCO, ProQuest, PubMed, and more. You will need to add the Zotero plug-in for your browser. First, you need to install the browser plug-in.

Note: Zotero plug-in is not available on Methodist computers.

STEP ONE: When you find a source you want to keep or look at later, simply click on the icon in the upper right corner if your browser. It may look different depending on the source:

PDF from a web source

Article from EBSCO

Web document


STEP TWO: Once you click on the icon, the source title will appear in a drop down men. You can select what collection/folder to save the article, such as your paper's topic or the class number. You may choose to add tags to help you organize or find the article later. Then click Done.

Collections = Folders

Collections in Zotero are just folders like you create on your computer or Google drive. Subcollections = subfolders. However, items may belong in multiple collections. For instance, you can have an article doing this:

  • NRS350 - The class you originally used it in
  • CAPSTONE - Your big, multi-semester project
  • Evidence-based practice - Contains EBP articles

Creating a collection for your paper is handy. When you're ready to create your bibliography, you can simply right click on the folder and select Create Bibliography from Collection. EASY.

Naming, renaming, and deleting collections or items from the collection works similar to your computer folders. For more details, visit the Zotero instructions page.


Tags work the same as tags or hashtags in other web apps. Keywords for tags should lend detailed characterization of the item. This enables better search results. Criteria could be subject matter, methods used or study design, status (such as "to-read" or "appraisal-paper"). You can use as many tags as you need on any item. 

Colored Tags

You can use a colored tag/square system to further organize your articles. Perhaps all articles that have been read and annotated and deemed worthy of further use are green. Those waiting to be read are red or orange. 

Zotero can help you create in-text citations and also general your reference list/bibliography.

From Web Version

Creating a collection for each paper or assignment is the easiest way to generate a bibliography. When you're in a collection, simply click on the select all box (left box), then click on the Cite button (right, red circle). If you have not sorted your articles into collections, you can still select only the ones you need to cite.

A pop-up menu will ask you to select your citation style. Select APA 6th edition.

Your bibliography will generate in the pop up box. Copy and paste into your Word document. Although Zotero is generally accurate with its bibliographies, any errors in your metadata will carry over to your citations.

From the Desktop Version

Generating a bibliography from the desktop Zotero is easy. If you have a collection, simply right click on the folder. A menu will pop up. Click on Create Bibliography from Collection

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