Skip to Main Content


This resource guide can help you get started using the research management tool Zotero.

Quick Search

Quick searches show items whose metadata, tags, or full-text content match the search terms and are performed from the Zotero toolbar. Clicking the spyglass icon to the left of the search box opens the Advanced Search window, allowing for more complex or narrow searches.

To begin searching, click inside the search box at the top-right of the center pane (or type Ctrl/Cmd-F) and start typing your search terms. As you type, only those items in the center column that match the search terms will remain. 

Quick search can be used in three different modes:

  • “Title, Year, Creator” - matches against these three fields, as well as publication titles

  • “All Fields & Tags” - matches against all fields, as well as tags and text in notes

  • “Everything” - matches against all fields, tags, text in notes, and indexed text in PDFs

Advanced Search

Advanced searches offer more and finer control than quick searches, and allow you to make saved searches

To open the Advanced Search window, click on the magnifying glass icon  at the top of the center pane. In this window, you can filter items by the content of specific fields or by other properties, like item type or the collection an item belongs to. Multiple filters can be set up by clicking the plus button.

  • Set the library to search in by using the “Search in library:” option at the top of the window. It is not currently possible to search in multiple libraries at one time.

  • By default, items only show up in the search results if they satisfy all search criteria. To change the search so that all items matching at least one criterion are returned, change the “Match” option to “any”.

  • You can filter items by the collections or saved searches they belong to by searching by “Collection”. To include items in subcollections of matching collections in the search results, check “Search subcollections”.

  • To hide non-matching parent items with child items that do match the search criteria, and to collapse matching parent items with matching child items, check “Show only top-level items”.

  • To match search criteria against both parent items and their children, check “Include parent and child items of matching items”. If this option is selected and “Match” is set to “all”, parent/child items will still show up if just part of the criteria is met by the parent item and the other part by a child item.

Saved Searches

Advanced searches can be saved in the left pane. They are similar to collections, but will update with new matching items automatically.

  • When you save an Advanced Search, it appears as a collection in your library (but with a Saved Search icon, instead of the regular collection icon). Saved Searches are continuously updated. For example, if you set up a Saved Search for “Date Added” “is in the last” “7” “days”, the saved search will always show the items that have been added in the last 7 days. Saved searches only store the search criteria, not the search results.
  • To save a search, click the “Save Search” button in the Advanced Search window and provide a name for the search. Saved searches can be edited or deleted by right-clicking the Saved Search and selecting “Edit Saved Search…” or “Delete Saved Search…”, respectively.
  • You can also create a saved search in a library by right-clicking on the library name and choosing “New Saved Search…”.
For questions or feedback contact the McQuade Library
Call us: 978-837-5177 | Text us:  978-228-2275 | Email us: