What’s New in Zotero – Part 1

This is an extended write-up that I originally prepared for the Zotero blog, but that turned out too extensive for that purpose.

At first glance, the changes in Zotero 4.0 may seem small. It may even have taken you some time to notice that Zotero had updated to a new major version. In reality, though, Zotero 4.0 introduces a wealth of new features — so many, in fact, that it will take us two blogposts to introduce them. In this post I will cover the features that are broadly related to organization and import. The second post will cover features related to syncing, file management, and citations.

Color Coded Tags

Not all tags are created equal. Maybe you have a “to read” tag and you would like to quickly identify items on your reading list. Or you have your favorite articles marked as important. For those and many other cases, Zotero now allows you to assign colors to up to six tags. You can assign a color to a tag by right-clicking on it in the tag selector in the left hand panel. The item will then appear with a colored square before its title in the middle panel. Obviously one item can have multiple color coded tags.


Color coded tags can also be assigned particularly quickly. When you assign a color, you also assign a number to a tag. You can then automatically tag any item(s) selected in the middle panel just by pressing that number on your keyboard.


Adding Multiple Tags and Identifiers at Once

Say you have a list of words that you would like to add to a Zotero item as tags. Or you have a list of DOIs or PubMed IDs that you would like to add using Zotero’s “Magic Wand” add by identifier feature. Up to now, you had to enter these one by one. Now you can paste multiple tags, separated by newlines (return/enter) into the “Add tag” field and similarly input lists of identifiers into the magic wand:

multi-tags multi-DOIs

While typically you would copy and paste such a list, e.g. from a text editor or even a spreadsheet, you can also toggle the add tag/add identifier field into multiline mode using Shift+Return.

New Attachment/Note Indicators

You can now add separate columns for Notes and Attachments to the middle panel. The “Notes” column contains the number of child notes (if any) attached to an item. The attachment column – marked by a paper clip – marks items with at least one attachment with a dot. The dot will be colored blue if the attachment is present on the currently used computer and hollow if it is not (e.g. if file syncing is turned off or if files are only synced as needed – a feature that we will introduce in the next blogpost). By the way – we have also added many more options for columns to add to the middle panel.


Display What You are Downloading and Where to

When you import items using the URL bar icon, Zotero now tells you in which collection it is saving and lists all attachments it downloads for an item. That way you will see immediately if an item is saved into the right collection and if e.g. a PDF of an article was successfully downloaded.


In Case you Missed it: IE and Mobile Support with the Bookmarklet

We released the bookmarklet for Zotero several months ago, but in case you missed it: With the bookmarklet you can now take advantage of Zotero’s convenient one-click import from hundreds of sites from mobile devices (saving straight to your zotero.org account) or previously unsupported browsers such as Internet Explorer (saving either to Zotero Standalone or to zotero.org). You can download the bookmarklet and find additional instruction here.


9 thoughts on “What’s New in Zotero – Part 1

  1. Pingback: What’s New in Zotero 4.0 – Part 2 | The Zoteroist

  2. Pingback: Un blog consacré à Zotero à retenir: “The Zoteroist” | Zotero francophone

  3. Pingback: Literaturverwaltung kompakt 3/2013 | Literaturverwaltung & Bibliotheken

  4. Kaye

    I hate to take this personally but the right click is simpley not working on my firefox zotero downloaded in August 2013. any suggestions very welcome

  5. John

    Color Coded Tags could be only one answer for now to identify papers as ‘important’, ‘to read’, and so on….thanks

    1. adam3smith Post author

      would you mind posting this to the Zotero forums: forums.zotero.org ? Much better to provide support there than in blog comments.

  6. Pingback: Un blog consacré à Zotero à retenir: “The Zoteroist” | Le blog Zotero francophone

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