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How to use LaTeX with BibTeX for bibliography management

Here is how to use Zotero to organize references and to create .bib files.


Zotero is a free bibliographic management multi-platform tool for Mac OS, Windows, and Linux. There are Zotero apps for Android, iPhone, and iPad.
Install the software and the connector for your browser:

Every user is given 300 MB of free storage on the website.

The data and files in the Zotero library are synchronized and the user always works with the same library, even on multiple computers. Via the Zotero server, libraries can be shared among several users.

Zotero is very effective for capturing web pages and for retrieving PDF metadata.

Zotero is supported by a very large and active community (see the Zotero Forums and the frequently asked questions).


Display menus in other languages: Edit → Preferences → Advanced → General → Language: ...

Change font size: Edit → Preferences → General → User Interface → Font size: Medium

Set up Zotero to access electronic resources @ Poly: Edit → Preferences → Advanced → OpenURL → Resolver → Enter

Add the BibTeX style: Edit → Preferences → Cite → Style Manager → Check if BibTeX generic citation style is in the list → If not, click Get additional styles... → Choose BibTeX generic citation style

Display other fields:

Types of documents

**Enter the DOI in the Extra field for documents other than Journal Articles (ex.: DOI: 0.1049/iet-cds.2018.5110).
**If possible, use a more specific type than Web Page (ex.: Report, Magazine Article).
**Avoid using the generic type Document.

For a(n)...

Use the Zotero document type...

Printed book or e-book Book
Book or e-book chapter Book Section
Journal article Journal Article
Conference paper Conference Paper
Entry in a dictionary Dictionary Entry
Entry in an encyclopedia Encyclopedia Article
Magazine article Magazine Article
Personal communication, email, or text message Email or Instant Message
Newspaper article Newspaper Article
Patent Patent
Report Report
Master's thesis or PhD dissertation Thesis
Standard Report (change it in @standard after exporting it in .bib format)
Web page Web Page

Other types

Create Collections

References can be organized by creating collections and subcollections (hierarchical organization on several levels) and by adding tags (keywords based on topic, method, status, etc.).

A reference can be included in several collections and subcollections without creating duplicates.

Create a new collection: File → New Collection... → Enter a name for this collection → OK

Create a new subcollection: Select the (sub)collection → Right-click → New Subcollection... → Enter a name for this subcollection → OK

Rename or delete a (sub)collection: Select the (sub)collection → Right-click → Choose the option

Add tags: Select the reference → Click on Tags in the right-hand pane → Add. It is possible to assign colors to tags.
Delete tags with the - button.


To format citations and bibliographies, Zotero uses the Citation Style Language (CSL), an XML-based language. Find styles in the Zotero Style Repository.

IMPORTANT: The Library does not develop French versions of the APA style for Zotero.

Export from Zotero in .bib format

Export a few references: Select the references (with CTRL+click and/or SHIFT+click) → Right-Click → Export items... → Format: BibTeX → OK

Export the whole Zotero library: File → Export Library... → Format: BibTeX → OK

Attention! Do not forget to correct the .bib file!

Add references to a .bib file: Select the reference(s) → Edit → Copy as BibTeX → Paste.

New items in a Zotero library

Attention! Do not forget to correct the new references and to remove the duplicates!

Import PDF(s) already downloaded on your computer: Drag the PDF(s) in the Zotero Library → Zotero will create the reference(s) by finding the PDF metadata, attach the file and change its name.

Import journal articles & conference papers available on the Web: Click on the Zotero connector. The icon will be in Firefox.

Import a document having an identifier (DOI, ISBN, PubMed ID):

Import journal articles & conference papers from databases: See the following box.

Import references from other bibliographic formats: File → Import... → A file (BibTeX, RIS, Zotero RDF, etc.) → Choose the file

Create references for web pages with an attached snapshot or link to the page: Click on the Zotero connector. The icon will be in Firefox.

Import e-books with the Zotero connector:

● Zotero can import search results. The connector icon will be.

Add references manually: Click the New Item button → Choose the document type (or click on More for other types) → Enter bibliographic information in the right-hand pane

       **Note: The type Web Page does not appear in this list, so you can choose Book and change it to Web Page in the right-hand pane. A web page can also be saved by clicking on the Zotero connector in the browser toolbar.

Import references from databases

It is possible to export selected references in .bib or .ris format from many databases.

Important! Do not try to save many individual documents with the Zotero connector while browsing the same database - your access may be blocked! It is better to perform a search in that database, to export these references in .bib or .ris format and to import this file into Zotero.

Follow the first steps in the Importing from databases procedures for EndNote and continue in Zotero with: File → Import... → A file (BibTeX, RIS, Zotero RDF, etc.) → Choose the file

Do not forget to correct imported references and to eliminate duplicates!

Eliminate duplicates

Zotero detects duplicates (first considering the title, the DOI, and the ISBN and then the year of publication and the authors) and puts them in the Duplicate Items collection, under My Library.

It is recommended to merge the duplicates (see the option in the right-hand pane when the Duplicate Items collection is selected) instead of eliminating them.

Attach files to references

Select the reference → Right-Click → Add Attachment.

By default, the attachments are stored in the Zotero Data Directory:
● C:\Users\<User Name>\Zotero (for Windows 7+);
● /Users/<username>/Zotero (for Mac).

Back up the Zotero library

It is strongly recommended to create copies of your library. See the steps here.

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