Zotero is, at the most basic level, a reference manager. It is designed to store, manage, and cite bibliographic references, such as books and articles. In Zotero, each of these references constitutes an item. More broadly, Zotero is a powerful tool for collecting and organizing research information and sources.

Getting started

How do I install Zotero

How do I open Zotero

Zotero can be opened from your operating system's dock or file manager like any other program

How do I join a group in Zotero

During the development of an assessment, private groups will be created at the assessment or chapter level depending on the needs of the assessment. Private groups means that only experts who are invited to the group will be able to see the group’s page. The private groups are completely hidden from group searches. They are not shown on members’ public profile pages and will not appear in search engine results. File sharing will be made available to allow group members to access and share files in addition to references. Invitations to the groups are managed by the assessment technical support unit.

Adding bibliography to library

Zotero can add items automatically using their an ISBN number, Digital Object Identifier (DOI), or PubMed ID. This is done by clicking the Add Item by Identifier button (
) in the Zotero toolbar, typing in the ID number, and clicking OK. You can even paste or enter (press Shift+Enter for a larger box) a list of such identifiers at once

Add item manually

Items can be added manually by clicking the green New Item (
) button in the Zotero toolbar, then selecting the appropriate item type. Metadata can then be added by hand in the right-hand pane. Apart from the versatility this provides, it is important for adding primary documents.


Zotero uses Citation Style Language (CSL) to properly format citations in many different bibliographic styles. IPBES has adopted a style which can be downloaded here. To use this style
  1. 2.
    Unzip the package
  2. 3.
    In the Zotero Style Manager, click the '+' button, then find the “IPBES citation style.csl” style file on your computer.

Reporting style errors

If the IPBES citation style.csl style doesn’t give the expected output, first make sure that you are running the latest (stable) version of Zotero, and have the most recent version of the style installed from the IPBES Bibliography Style Repository. Once you have made sure that the style deviates from the style guide, instructions for authors, or published examples, report the error by raising a ticket

Moving Documents with Zotero Citations Between Word Processors

It is important to retain citation links in the final versions of documents.
Authors have different preferences for their choice in word processors. Many experts prefer to use Google Docs because it facilitates online collaboration and it is easy to use. The drafts and and final documents are however, reviewed in MS Word so it is important to convert documents between different processors carefully to retain citation links.
If you use the Zotero word processor plugin to add citations to your document and then open the document in another word processor, the Zotero citation links will be lost. To retain active Zotero citations when moving between programs, you can use the plugin to convert the document to a temporary format that can be safely transferred and then restore it in another supported word processor.

Word to Google Docs

  1. 1.
    In Word, use File → Save As… to create a copy of the document as a .docx with a new filename (e.g., “My Document - Transfer.docx”).
  2. 2.
    Click Document Preferences in the Zotero plugin and select “Switch to a Different Word Processor…”.
  3. 3.
    After the document has been converted, save the changes (File → Save).
  4. 4.
    Use File → Open… from within a Google Doc to upload the file.
  5. 5.
    Select Refresh from the Zotero menu in the opened Google Doc to continue using the document.

Google Docs to Word

  1. 1.
    In the Google Doc, use File → Make a Copy… to create a copy of the document.
  2. 2.
    In the new document, select “Switch word processors…” from the Zotero menu.
  3. 3.
    Select File → Download as → Microsoft Word (.docx) and save the converted file.
  4. 4.
    Open the downloaded file in Word and click Refresh in the Zotero plugin to continue using the document.

Reference workflow

Reference workflow
  1. 1.
    The technical support units will be required to clean references stored in Zotero periodically. Experts will only have read only access when this is taking place
  2. 2.
    Experts are strongly encouraged to import references into Zotero using the Zotero web tool or by importing .ris and .bib files. Dragging of PDF files is discourgaged
  3. 3.
    File sharing through Zotero is possible. Preference should be on grey literature. DOI of other files will suffice.


Please contact the assessment technical support unit if you have questions regarding getting files into the assessment/chapter library, organizing the assessment/chapter Library and taking notes, generating bibliographies,citations, and reports.
Last modified 28d ago