Accurate citations depend upon accurate data. Zotero, like any other citation manager, will produce citations based on the data has, and if there are errors or omissions in that data, the citations will be incomplete or inaccurate. Spending a few minutes checking over and editing references as you import them will make your experience much better in the long-term.
Common issues with citations include stray characters and capitalization issues. Most of those you have to manually edit, but there is one that Zotero will help you fix. You probably know which type of capitalization (Title Case vs. Sentence case) your most frequently used style prefers. To make that change quickly, select the item you want to modify in the center pane. In the right-hand pane, right-click the Title of the source and select Title Case or Sentence case to have the title reformatted. You can do the same with the Publication name if necessary.
Other browser extensions, whether you found them in the browser's extension store or on GitHub, can interfere with the Zotero Connector. If you are having trouble getting PDF files to download (the dreaded Red X error), try disabling all your other browser extensions, close your browser, then reopen it and test the Zotero Connector. If it works, you can reenable the other extensions one-by-one, testing the Zotero Connector after each one. That's the easiest way to locate the problem extension.
In most cases, you'll use the Zotero icon in your browser bar to add references to your library. When you're looking at something in your browser that you want to add, just click on the icon in your browser (and make sure the Zotero program is open).
The icon that displays will depend on the type of item on the page. For example, it may show up as page with bright colors for a magazine article...
or a page with lines for a journal article.
When there are multiple references, like on a page of search results, you'll most likely see a folder icon.
Click the icon to bring up a box that will let you select a single item or to select items from a list.
If you have folders in your library, a little pop up box near the icon will ask you where you want to save your item/s.
When saving web pages to your library, Zotero will save the citation as well as a snapshot of the page (unless you've turned this off in your preferences). If there's a PDF file on the page you're viewing, or you're currently viewing one in your browser, Zotero will import the PDF as well as the citation.
If you have PDF files on your computer you'd like to add to Zotero, you can drag and drop the files into your library.
Depending on where you want to put the file, you can do one of the following:
Regardless of which option you choose, Zotero will import the file and automatically create a citation for it in your library using the PDF's metadata.
If you already have the reference, but not the PDF, in your library, drag and drop the file on top of the reference to import and attach it.
Sometimes you'll export an RIS file of references from a database or other source.
In this example, you're exporting a folder of references from an EBSCO database. Choose the Export option on the right.
Then choose Direct Export in RIS Format in the export page.
In Zotero, go to the File menu (Gear menu on Mac) and choose Import.
Zotero assumes you want to import from a file. Click Next.
Select the text file with your citations in it.
Make sure "Place imported collections and items into new collection" is checked. Click Next.
Rename the new collection if desired (see the Organize & Find References for more details about Collections).
You can save items to your library directly from your mobile device. Follow the instructions in the link above to add the bookmarklet to your iOS or Android device. There are also instructions to add it to desktop and mobile versions of browsers incompatible with Zotero Connectors.
If you're an iOS user, the screenshots below show how to save items to Zotero in Safari on mobile.
If you are continually prompted to login to your account, but items still don't save, go to your Settings, find Safari, and turn off "Prevent Cross-Site Tracking." This isn't a guaranteed fix, but generally solves the problem.
If you use the Browzine mobile app, use the Share button and select Zotero to add the citation, and the PDF if available, to your library.
If you use the web version of BrowZine, use the graduation cap icon to add the citation to your library; you'll have to manually download and drag and drop the PDF to obtain it.
Within the Zotero client, there are a few ways to add items:
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