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Learn to use the free reference manager Zotero to save time while writing and citing.

PDF Reader

Perhaps one of the best features of the Zotero Desktop and iOS apps is the PDF read and annotate function! It is a new addition as of the version 6 release in March 2022, so be sure you've got the latest version! Learn more about the PDF reader here.


Within the PDF reader you can read documents and create annotations or notes.

In the above screenshot, we see the same three pane design as in the main Zotero library.

  • The left pane shows the annotations (highlights) from the document. Note that there is an option to make a selection for an annotation - this is great for highlighting figures within the reading!
  • The center pane shows the open PDF, with different highlight colors selected. Each time you highlight you can change the color.
  • The right pane shows a note created from the annotations, which automatically include the citation for that annotation. This is a great feature to use if you don't have the storage space within your library to store all of the PDFs! You can also make formatted notes that nest (called child notes) under the item within your library.

Duplicate Detection

Within your Zotero library, there is a folder in the left pane that says "Duplicate Items." If Zotero has identified a duplicate based on title, DOI, or ISBN. This only works within the library that is selected, so the feature cannot be used across a personal and group library simultaneously.

You should always consolidate your duplicates to help avoid re-work.




Merging Duplicates

Merge your duplicates instead of deleting one to allow you to retain the information within both records. Merged items will also be recognized as the same citation within your word processor add-ins. If the duplicated items metadata do not match completely, select the most complete record from the list to be the main record and add in other pieces of the record using the drop-downs to the right of each field. Then select the "Merge X items" at the top of the right pane and voila! You've done it!


Overleaf Integration

Did you know that Dartmouth has access to Overleaf if you are interested in working in LaTeX? Did you also know that there is an Overleaf integration for Zotero so you can use our recommended reference manager while writing in LaTeX? Instructions linked below.


Timelines allow you to visualize your library. You can create a timeline by navigating to the menu bar and selecting Tools Create Timeline.

Learn more about timelines and when to use them here.