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BIOL 211 : Ecology : Installing & Using Zotero

Use this guide as a starting point for your literature research in ecology and related fields.

Installing Zotero

Spring 2022: Your pre-lab assignment before week 1 (January 18th or 19th) will be to install Zotero as described in Step 1 below. 

If you run into any trouble or have any questions, you can email me or make an appointment with me to get 1:1 help. 

When we meet in person, I will show you how to get the most out of Zotero, including how to do steps 2 & 3 below, in order to:

  • Keep track of your research using Zotero to import, store, and organize the articles that you find;
  • Add additional citation styles to be able to create a bibliography for any occasion;
  • Use the Microsoft Word plug-in feature of Zotero to create a bibliography as you type. 

Step 1: Download Zotero (optional: also create a free account)

 Your first step to making your life easier is to get yourself set up with Zotero, which will allow you to manage the articles that you find, collect them into folders, export them into bibliographies.

Go to to get started.

Note that it is a TWO STEP process to download Zotero. You must first download the app (1), and then download the browser extension for the browser you want to use (2). 

Screenshot of, indicating the two steps that must be taken to fully download Zotero.

You will be prompted as part of this process to go to and register for a free account. You are not required to register for an account, but I recommend it. 


Once you have created your username and password, you can go to the 'edit' menu in your Zotero app (NOTE- may appear in the 'Zotero' menu for Mac users), go into the Preferences menu, select the 'Sync' menu, and ensure that your username and password are filled in so that your library will automatically back up to the server, and sync across multiple computers.  


Step 2: Verify MS Word Plug-In

Once you have Zotero loaded, open up Microsoft Word and verify that the Zotero add-in is available. You will likely need to restart Word if you already had it open while you were downloading the plug-ins. Note that the add-in may look different or be in a different menu depending on which version of MS Word you are running and whether you are on a Mac or PC. Poke around if you can't find it! Look under 'tools' or for Mac users, check the little 'scroll' icon. See below for a screenshot of what it might look like in MS Word. 

Step 3: Practice Importing Articles

Click the link below to access the latest volumes of the journal Ecology, published by the Ecological Society of America (you will be prompted to log in with your Puget Sound username and password).

Click 'browse' and 'all issues' and browse through some issues from the past few years (our full text access goes back to 1997). Select an article which appeals to you, and click on the title to read the abstract. 

Then, import the article into your Zotero library by clicking the ‘import into Zotero’ icon in the upper right corner of your browser. See screenshot below.

Import at least 3 or 4 article into your library.