Skip to Main Content

Law research and writing skills: Zotero


Zotero is a free database tool that can be used as an alternative to Endnote. It "automatically senses content in your web browser, allowing you to add it to your personal library with a single click." 

Note that while the University does not provide technical support for this program, you can refer to our detailed Zotero guide for further information.


This guide is intended to provide a basic introduction to using Zotero. For more detailed information please refer to the resources provided below.

Installing Zotero

You can download Zotero on the Zotero download page.

Be sure to also install a Zotero Connector for your browser. Zotero is used as a plugin within your web browser and it can be used with Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. Everything you need to know can be found on the Zotero quick start guide.

You can also use Zotero bookmarklet without downloading any software, this is useful for tablets and mobile devices. If you make an online Zotero account, you can then sync your library from bookmarklet to your computer, as well as sync your library across multiple computers. Signing up for an online account also enables you to use the 'groups' feature for sharing your library and collaborating with other users.


Adding AGLC style to Zotero

Once you have downloaded Zotero and the connector for your  browser, you will need to install the AGLC style into the program. If you are using Windows, in the menu bar click on 'Edit' and then 'Preferences' (The icon should look like a gear).

In the pop-up window, click on 'Cite', then 'Styles' and then 'Get additional styles...' as shown below.

zotero styles

This will open their styles repository in your web browser. Search for 'Australian Guide to Legal Citation' and click on the link.

This will automatically download the AGLC to Zotero. Now, under the 'Export' tab, change the default output format to AGLC. Click 'OK' to close the preferences window and return to Zotero.

The new style for AGLC4 was released on 16/4/2019. A library of sample AGLC4 references is available. 

Adding Zotero to Microsoft Word

You can use Zotero directly in Word, just as you would with Endnote. If you're running Zotero 5.0 or Zotero Standalone 4.0, the word processor plugins are bundled with Zotero and should be installed automatically for each supported word processor on your computer when you first start Zotero. 

In Word, simply select Zotero from the menu, then choose to 'add/edit citation'. You can also add a Bibliography and refresh your citations to incorporate any changes you've made in the library. Make sure to set the document preferences to AGLC style.

Using Zotero

Using Zotero, you can import an individual reference, or a list of search results straight from your web browser. Once you have located an online resource, just click the Zotero icon  in the browser menu bar to import. You can also import a snapshot of a webpage or drag and drop a pdf file from your computer. 

This 'one click' function is compatible with Monash Library Search, HeinOnline, LegalTrac, Google Scholar, SSRN, JSTOR, and more

However, Zotero is not automatically compatible with LexisNexis or Westlaw. It also has some trouble with UN documents and treaties. In these situations you can:

  • Download the pdf of the document and drag it into your Zotero library. Right click on the document and select 'retrieve metadata for pdf' (this will not always find a full citation).
  • Search for the same resource in Library Search, HeinOnline, Google Scholar or another supported database and import the citation from there.
  • Add the citation manually (see tutorial video in left panel). In Zotero click the  button, select the type of resource and then fill in the appropriate information e.g. author, title, year etc.

Zotero Groups

Zotero's Groups feature allows you to share references with other Zotero users online. It's a great way to work on collaborative research projects.
See more on how to set this up at the Georgia State University Zotero research guide.

Zotero hints and tips

Zotero is good for organisation and storage, as well as citation. 

You can make folders to organise items within your library, and add files and notes to your resources.

Here's a few other useful tips:

  • Always double check the citations imported by Zotero don’t have any mistakes in the title, author's names etc.
  • Zotero will automatically add 'ibid' and 'n'.
  • When entering manual citations you only need to fill in the fields used in the citation and you can leave the rest blank.
  • When manually entering reported cases, use the following fields: item type, case name, date decided, reporter, reporter volume and first page.When a law report is organised by year and there is no volume number, enter the year with  a square bracket in the reporter volume field. When a law report is organised by year and there is a volume number, enter both the year with a square bracket and volume number in the reporter volume field. 
  • When manually entering a Statute: put the jurisdiction under ‘code’, you do not need to include the brackets.
  • You can add pinpoint pages in a popup window when adding the citation to Word.
  • Always remember to backup your library, this is not the same as syncing it online.
  • Once you have added a Bibliography, you will need to copy/paste the references into the right categories/order according to the AGLC rules. 


If you have any additional hints, tips or information suggestions for inclusion on this page please email the Law Library Team.