Because Zotero is open source, many users have created tools, called plugins, to customize the software. There are many plugins, of which the ones highlighted below are only a few.
Each plugin provides instructions for installation on the page where you download it.
The first step is to read the installation instructions on the plugin page. Locate the link to access the current version of the plugin. Download the .xpi file, then go to Zotero. In the Tools menu, choose Add-ons.
In the Add-ons Manager, select the gear icon and choose Install Add-on From File. Then select the .xpi file. You can also just drag and drop the .xpi file into the Add-ons Manager.
Follow any prompts to install the plugin. Once it's installed, you can access options for that plugin via the Tools menu.
It's a good idea to restart Zotero after installing a plugin.
Digital Object Identifiers, or DOIs, are unique numbers applied to many sources, including articles and book chapters. They make it easier to locate sources and are required by some citation styles. Full DOIs may be expressed in two formats: standard (sometimes called long) DOIs, and URLs containing those DOIs. shortDOIs operate like URL shorteners, so they are not full DOIs.
Zotero DOI Manager automatically modifies references as you import them. It verifies DOIs for accuracy, can be set up to obtain long DOIs or shortDOIs to replace whatever DOI is imported, and adds tags to imported items if there are problems with DOIs (including if it can't find one).
Zutilo is a great plugin if you frequently use tags, relate items, or use keyboard shortcuts. For tags, it allows you to copy, paste, or remove sets of tags from items (rather than doing so one tag at a time). When relating items, you can select multiple items and relate them all at the simultaneously, again instead of doing the process one by one. Finally, it makes keyboard shortcuts much easier to find, and allows you to set your own shortcut key combinations.
By default, Zutilo makes some of its features available via right-click on a reference; a long list of additional functions for that menu can be found in Tools ⇒ Zutilo Preferences in Zotero. That's also where all the keyboard shortcuts can be enabled and modified.
ZotFile allows you to change where your files are saved, from the zotero.org cloud storage to the location of your choice. Since many people have existing free or paid cloud storage options (such as Dropbox, Google Drive, or UConn's OneDrive, this can be a good option to save on storage costs. With ZotFile, you also have more customized options for automatically renaming file attachments.
ZotFile used to be a great option if you wanted to work with files on your mobile device and extract annotations from PDF files. iOS support and annotation extraction are now available in Zotero automatically, but if you're an Android user, you might still want to consider it for that functionality.
CAVEAT: Changing your Zotero file storage location will make your attachments into linked files. Linked files cannot be accessed via your web library on zotero.org; you'll see attachments exist, but won't be able to open them. In addition, some features of the mobile app are disabled for linked files. Consider carefully if this is the right choice for you!
Adjusting naming conventions for files & renaming existing files
ZotFile can automatically rename digital files, like article PDFs, based on their metadata.
To set this up for new files:
To rename existing files in Zotero, select one or more and right-click. Choose Manage Attachments ⇒ Rename and Move. Move is only relevant if you've modified your Zotero and ZotFile preferences to change your file saving location.
Setting a new cloud location for digital files
This is a pretty complicated process, so be sure to read and follow all the steps below. When you've completed the process, your files will appear in Zotero as "linked files," with a tiny URL link superimposed over the PDF icon to the left of the attachment.
Remember, linked files can be accessed on your computer and in your new cloud storage location, but not on your zotero.org web library or on iOS.
Step 1: Before adjusting your preferences in Zotero and ZotFile
You need to have somewhere for the files to go. If you already have a cloud storage solution set up, create a folder where you'd like to send Zotero files. You can name it whatever you want, but Zotero is a good choice, for simplicity's sake.
If you'd like to use your UConn OneDrive space for cloud storage, and haven't set it up on your computer yet, follow the instructions below before adjusting any preferences in Zotero or ZotFile.
Using OneDrive for free cloud storage
As a UConn user, you have access to OneDrive, a Microsoft Office 365 app that gives you 5TB of cloud storage. To use OneDrive to store your Zotero digital files, first you need to set up the OneDrive app on your computer.
Once you've set up OneDrive, you need to create a folder for your Zotero files:
Check that your new folder is regularly syncing:
The next steps to having your files stored in OneDrive are in the Zotero and ZotFile preferences.
Step 2: Changing your cloud storage location
ZotFile preferences: set a new location for stored digital files
Zotero preferences: stop syncing to Zotero cloud storage
Now that you're storing your files elsewhere, you'll want to make sure your digital files stop syncing to the Zotero cloud storage.
To change your syncing options:
Move existing files
To move files already in Zotero to your new cloud storage location:
Those files will now be linked to the new location and follow your ZotFile naming conventions.
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