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Michigan State University

Introduction to Zotero: An Online Tutorial

Getting started with the basics for the citation management program.

Zotero Online

Some additional features of Zotero are only available online through This includes syncing, groups, posting in the support forums, and sharing your library online. You can also create a profile, check your storage or purchase additional storage, and locate more support documentation especially for advanced features.


Share and collaborate using Groups. Sync must be set up for Groups to work. Groups can be set as either public or private. Start a new group by logging on to, clicking the Groups tab and then choosing the Create A New Group button. You can also use the New Group icon in the left panel of the Zotero pane.

Public groups are assigned a URL and must choose an available unique name. Private group members must be invited to join. Group members can have the status of owner (full control), admin (co-manage with the owner), or member (regular participants). Management options such as inviting new members and changing settings is done on in the Groups tab.

After joining a group, you will have to sync your library (by clicking the rotating green arrow icon) in order for it to appear in your Zotero pane. Now you can work with it just like any of your other library collections.


Because Zotero is an open-source community tool, it is not supported like traditional software programs with a 1-800 help line.  There is however, a robust community of users and volunteers that you can contact on the Zotero forums. The recommended troubleshooting steps are available at and summarized here:

1. Make sure that you have the most up-to-date version of Zotero.
2. Check the online Zotero documentation pages.
3. Search through the documentation pages.
4. Search through the forums. These are message boards where people post and respond to questions.
5. Post a message on the forums.

Michigan State University