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Zotero: A Beginner's Guide: Zotero Tricks

Zotero + EndNote

It's easy to use EndNote and Zotero together and take advantage of the best features of each, or to share Zotero libraries with colleagues using EndNote or vice versa. Both programs can read and write a standard citation file format called RIS, which means references can be converted back and forth with a few clicks.

PDFs and other attachments do not export between programs, however; only citation information.

Zotero to EndNote

To save your Zotero library for importing into EndNote, click the Zotero button that looks like a gear and choose "Export Library." Choose RIS as the file type and pick a filename.

In EndNote, click "File" and then "Import." Click the "Choose File" button and select the file you just exported from Zotero. Set Import Option to "Reference Manager (RIS)" and click Import.

EndNote to Zotero

To export your EndNote library for use in Zotero, click "File" and then "Export." Set the output style to "RefMan (RIS) Export" and save it as a text file.

In Zotero, click the button that looks like a gear and choose "Import." Just double-click the file you exported from EndNote. The new references will be added to a collection named "Imported" followed by the date and time.

Indexing PDFs

(This feature requires Zotero version 2.0)

It's easy to add PDFs to your Zotero library and automatically import their citation info.

First, enable PDF indexing on the Search tab of Zotero's preferences.  Zotero will download and install a small plugin.

Next, just drag your PDF files into the Zotero pane.

Right-click the PDFs and choose "Retrieve Metadata for PDFs."  Zotero will retrieve their citation data from Google Scholar and turn them into citeable items with PDF attachments.

If Zotero can't find a match on Google Scholar, don't worry -- you can still save the citation from another catalog or article database, then drag the PDF onto the citation to make it an attachment.

Adding items by ISBN

(This feature requires Zotero version 2.0)

Have the book in front of you and want to add it to your Zotero library without having to search for a citation?

If you have a book's ISBN, an online article's DOI or PMID number, just click the magic wand button: "Add item by identifier." Type in the book or article's number, and Zotero will automatically download its information and save it to your library.

MS Word, APA, and Subtitles

While Zotero's MS Word plug-in expedites the creation of in-text citations and bibliographies, it has a little bit of trouble with subtitles. When generating APA style citations with subtitles Zotero cannot automatically capitalize the first letter after the colon. You can use the tabs at the top of this box to see 2 ways to correct this problem.  

One way to stay on top of subtitles is to edit them individually in your Zotero library.  With your library open, right click on the 'Title' area of the 'Info' section to reveal a menu labeled 'transform text':

Hover over 'Transform Text' to reveal an additional menu which offers the option to choose either 'Title Case' or 'Sentence Case'.  Select 'Sentence Case' and it will alter the title text so that only the first letter of the first word is capitalized:

Lastly, double click on the article's title and then you will be able to manually capitalize the first letter of the first word after the colon:

Although Zotero has not yet created an automatic fix to the capitalization problem, a 3rd party has created a plug-in which is intended to automatically correct the issue.  Click here to open the list of Zotero's Word Processor plug-ins in a new window.

From that list, select the one labeled 'Zotero Uppercase Subtitles' as shown here:

Following that link will take you to the developer's site.  On this new page, select 'Propachi Upper' and follow the instructions to download/enable the plug-in for Zotero:

Important Information:

In order for this plug-in to work properly, the 'Title' field AND the 'Short Title' field located in the 'Info' section of your Zotero library must contain information.  The 'Title' field should contain the complete title of the work including the subtitle.  The 'Short Title' field should contain the section of the title which appears before the colon:

Remember, this plug-in is for your word processor.  While you will not see automatic changes take effect to the record within your Zotero library, when you use Zotero to generate a citation for the work in Word it will be formatted properly:

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