University Library


Created by the Corporation for Digital Scholarship, the basic version of Zotero is a free and easy-to-use open-source tool for organizing your research. The program enables you to collect, organize, cite, and share research. Zotero also allows you to organize citations using tags and keep track of your notes and important quotations. There is also an expert community of users who can assist with questions. Word processor integration for several different programs also makes it easy to manage citations as you write. And with the help of the “Zotero Connector” browser plug-in, you can automatically save data from webpages to Zotero. You can use Zotero locally on your computer.

If you create an account, you will be able to use more features, such as the web version of Zotero and syncing your references via the Zotero cloud. You are also able to work on a reference database as a team. Larger data sets, like full texts and annotations, can also be saved in the tubCloud; however if you do so, team synchronization will no longer be possible.

Be sure to read the Recommendations for Use thoroughly. Registering for Zotero and setting up an account is done on a voluntary basis. We must draw your attention to the fact that Zotero is owned by the Corporation for Digital Scholarship, which is located in the United States of America. This company does not fully comply with its data protection obligations, including the information on processing under Article 13 of the GDPR, meaning that there are some uncertainties pertaining to data protection issues. The University has contacted the provider for clarification and is waiting for a response.

However, Zotero’s privacy policy leads us to believe that it takes data protection seriously:

“Zotero is an open-source project committed to providing the best tool for managing your research. Our philosophy is that what you put into Zotero is yours, and one of our founding principles is to make sure you remain in control of your data and can share it how you like — or choose not to share it at all. We are an independent, nonprofit organization and have no financial interest in your private information. We fund further development by offering additional online storage space to people who find the software useful, not by selling data.“

The privacy policy also describes the data that is transferred when using the desktop version of Zotero, and how users can deactivate it. Some of the online functions are useful and should be activated, for example the update check.

You can find more detailed information on the TU Privacy blog. (German only)


  • We recommend the desktop version for local use, including plugins for local word processing programs (Word, LibreOffice) and browser connectors (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge)
    More information 

You need to have a Zotero account for the actions listed below. As there are still outstanding issues under data protection law, we only recommend using the account to a limited extent (please see the Recommendations for Use):

  • Syncing a WebDAV server, such as tubCloud for members of TU Berlin
  • Using the web version; the first 300 MB is free of charge, more storage can be purchased
  • Syncing with Overleaf: Overleaf at TU Berlin


  • Easily import citations and full texts
  • Store an unlimited number of citations in your library
  • Create collections for individual projects
  • Organize your citations using tags
  • Choose from thousands of citation styles and bibliographies for your text document
    Search and add additional citation styles
  • Language: German and other languages; the language of your operating system is used by default.

The following features require you to have a Zotero account. As there are still outstanding issues under data protection law, we only recommend using the account to a limited extent (please see the Recommendations for Use):

  • Synchronizing with various end devices via WebDAV with a free Zotero account

System requirements

For the desktop version:

  • Operating system:
    • MacOS 10.11 or later
    • Windows 7 or later
    • Linux
  • For the Browser Connector: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge
  • For the word processing plugin: Microsoft Word 2008 or later (Mac) or 2010 (Windows) or Word 365, LibreOffice 5.2 or later
  • iPad or iPhone iOS 14.7 or later (not compatible with word processing plugin)

Zotero materials

Getting started/General

Manage citations using Zotero – TU Berlin UB presentation (PDF, 414KB)

Screencast tutorial

Zotero documentation

Tutorial exercises

Zotero tutorial exercises including solutions (PDF, 313KB)

Technical information

Quick Start Guide

Zotero Plugins

Zotero for mobile devices (apps)

Zotero Einstellungsempfehlungen für TU-Angehörige (PDF, 186KB, German version)


Possible program combinations

  • Zotero and Word/Libre Office
  • Zotero and LaTeX (local installation)
  • Zotero and Overleaf

Courses and advising for Zotero

© Philipp Arnoldt

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