Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Tuesday, June 5, 2018 at 23:22

This tutorial explains how to download and install Zotero Bibliography Tool on Ubuntu 18.04 with web browser Firefox "Quantum". The new Firefox "Quantum" (v57 and later) is the reason why Zotero changed to be stand-alone program with its own window outside of Firefox. You will download Zotero manually, extract and setup it on your desktop menu, and then integrating it with Firefox and LibreOffice Writer.

The whole steps are easy to follow for anyone. Finally, enjoy Zotero and happy researching!

Subscribe to UbuntuBuzz Telegram Channel to get article updates directly.


Go to and download the latest Zotero package for GNU/Linux (the page says "for Linux"). For the version 5.0, the size is +/-60MB.


Extract the file in your ~/Downloads folder.

Right-click > Extract Here

You will get a Zotero-blablabla folder inside Zotero-blablabla folder. In the inner folder, you will get Zotero program files and folders. The most important file is named zotero.desktop.

See address bar and see the zotero.desktop file

Double-click the zotero.desktop file and select Trust and Launch on the dialog showing.

Just trust and launch

Finally, Zotero runs saying "Welcome to Zotero!". It runs with an additional dialog. This second dialog is only optional and you can Cancel it safely.

Alright, Zotero installed successfully!

So basically, to run Zotero you should go to ~/Downloads, go to Zotero-blablabla, go to Zotero-blablabla inside it, and finally double-clicking the zotero.desktop file. To make this long steps instant, right from your menu, follow next instructions.


First, like usual, install Alacarte Menu Editor:
$ sudo apt-get install alacarte

Second, open up Alacarte and create a new item:
  • Name: Zotero
  • Comment: My Research Tool
  • Icon: [click and browse to the zotero folder: chrome/icons/default/blablabla.png]
  • Command: [click and browse the zotero folder for the file named zotero]

Adding Zotero to desktop menu

And when you close Alacarte, you find Zotero on your desktop menu, and you run it successfully:

Zotero added into desktop menu


To collect data from the internet, you use web browser. Same goes for collecting data for Zotero database, you need to connect between Zotero and your Mozilla Firefox, simply by installing a special addon called Zotero Connector for Firefox. You should follow this step because Ubuntu 18.04 uses Firefox Quantum, the next-generation Firefox starting from version 57.

Press Install button on the page


The aim of using Zotero is to create beautiful citations and bibliography in LibreOffice Writer document. So, not only you need to install addon for Firefox, you also need to install addon for LibreOffice.

Open up your Zotero > Edit > Preferences > Cite > Word Processors > press Install Addon button > follow the dialog appears > downloading some packages (this needs internet access) > done.

Press Install button

Successful installation will make LibreOffice Writer to show Zotero Toolbar like below. Buttons on this toolbar connect between Writer and Zotero, meaning you can insert citations and references from Zotero into the document.

Zotero Toolbar showing on Writer!


To use Zotero, you typically browse a website (reference data) with Firefox and press the Save to Zotero button and the website copied into Zotero program (the window). For another reference data, repeat that. To do that, you should have both Zotero program and Firefox running at the same time.

Saving Wikipedia page from browser to Zotero window

About Zotero

Zotero is a free software desktop research assistant to collect references, data and information, to be processed as bibliography and citations in LibreOffice Writer or Microsoft Word documents. Zotero is available for GNU/Linux, Windows, and macOS. Zotero can be considered as an alternative to the proprietary Mendeley and such research assistant programs.

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.