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Zotero: Portable Zotero

Information on using Firefox's citation-management add-on, Zotero.

Export your library

You can move your Zotero library between computers or programs using the export function.

On Computer A:

  1. Click the Zotero gear menu
  2. Choose Export Library
  3. Save the file to your USB drive.

On Computer B:

  1. Click the gear menu
  2. Choose Import
  3. Find your Zotero file to import it

Zotero Sync

 If 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.

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

  • Open Zotero preferences (via the gear menu) and select the Sync tab. 
  • Enter your Zotero user name and password. 
  • Check the "sync automatically" box.
  • 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).
  • 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.

For more details and help troubleshooting sync problems, check the Zotero site.

Portable Zotero

Photo by Your Zotero library is stored in your Firefox profile on your hard drive. How do you bring it with you to use the library's computers?

Install Firefox and Zotero on a USB drive and you can take your library with you to use on any computer.

  1. Download and install Portable Firefox for Windows or Mac on your USB drive. This is a special edition of Firefox designed to run entirely from a portable drive. It keeps its own settings, bookmarks and Zotero library separate from the settings installed on your computer.
  2. Use Zotero sync to import your library data for use from anywhere!
  3. Just take your USB drive to any lab with you, plug it into one of our computers, and run Portable Firefox.