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Zotero Citation Management: Synchronize Your Library

Syncing Your Zotero Library

‚ÄčIf you're regularly using more than one computer in your research, Zotero's sync feature can keep your library up to date on all of them.  Zotero can store a copy of your library on the Zotero.org server and check it for updates whenever you open your library on a different computer.  All your computers must be running the same version of Zotero for synchronization to work properly.

Step 1: Enter Zotero Account Information in Preferences

First, set up a (free, of course) Zotero.org user account. Then:

  1. Open Zotero preferences (via the gear menu, or under the "Edit" section of the menu options) and select the Sync tab. 
  2. Enter your Zotero user name and password. 
  3. Check the "sync automatically" box.
  4. Check both boxes under File Syncing and choose Zotero storage for My Library. This will sync your PDF attachments as well as citations (more info).
  5. Click the green circular arrow button at the top right corner of the Zotero window.
  6. Zotero will upload your library to the server.

Repeat this configuration on each of your computers.  Any updates you make on one of your computers will be reflected on the others.  This even works to synchronize your library among Windows, Mac and Linux computers.


Step 2: Sync Your Library
Once you have your Zotero account information inputted in the preferences area of the Zotero application, click the green arrow to begin the sync process.

Portably Export Your Library

As an alternative to manually syncing across computers, you can export your Zotero library and transport it portably with a flash drive. 

  1. On your computer, click the Zotero gear menu (or the "File" menu option), and choose "Export Library" to save the file to your USB drive.
  2.  On a networked Manchester Computer, download Zotero's computer application and connectors as outlined on the "Installing Zotero" tab of this guide. Click the gear menu in the Zotero application (or the "File" menu option), and choose "Import." Locate the file to import it.
  3. When you're finished, make sure to export any changes once more to your flash drive so you don't lose any work. NOTE: Library computers may erase your data when you log off.