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ZotHero — Generate Zotero citations in Alfred

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Rapidly search your Zotero database and copy citations.



  • Perform full-text search across your Zotero database, including only searching specific fields
  • Copy citations using any CSL style you have installed in Zotero
  • Copy citations either in citation/note style or bibliography style
  • Copy citations in any locale supported by CSL
  • Citations are copied in multiple formats, so the right data are automatically pasted into the application you're using
  • Trigger search while you type using the Snippet Trigger (you must assign the snippet keyword yourself in Alfred Preferences)

Download & installation

Download the ZotHero-XYZ.alfredworkflow file from GitHub releases, and double-click the downloaded file to install.

Basic usage

These are the workflow's default keywords:

  • zot <query> — Search your Zotero database (common fields).
  • zot:[<query>] — Search a specific field.
  • zotconf [<query>] — View and edit workflow configuration.

See the README on GitHub for full instructions.

Pasting citations

When you copy a citation, ZotHero puts both HTML and rich text (RTF) representations on the pasteboard. That way, when you paste a citation into an application like Word, the formatted text will be pasted, but when you paste into a text/Markdown document, the HTML will be pasted.

Licence & thanks

The workflow is released under the MIT licence.

The Zorro icon was created by Dan Lowenstein.

Citations are generated by citeproc-js (AGPLv3).

Workflow stuff is taken care of by Alfred-Workflow (also MIT licence).

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Added Snippet Trigger in v1.1. Using the Snippet Trigger pastes the citation directly in the active application.

Note: You have to assign your own trigger—Alfred strips Snippet Triggers on install.

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Hi Deanishe


This is awesome! Thank you so much for all the work you've done on this Worklfow. I was hoping you could help me with one thing. I looked over the readme and GitHub to try and answer my question, but is there a way to insert the citation in a way that Zotero can read? This would be helpful in terms of generating bibliographies based on existing citations in the papers. No worries if this is not an option (I'm not even sure if it's possible).

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I'm sorry, I don't really understand the question. I have literally never used Zotero because I haven't cited anything in 20 years.


I only built this workflow because the existing one was such a mess that nobody could understand it. I'm still waiting for someone else who knows and cares about citing stuff to take over development.


If you want me to do anything with the workflow, you're going to have to spell it out in very simple terms that someone who doesn't use Zotero and doesn't understand citations (i.e. me) can understand.

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It's great that you took the time to work on this considering you're not using it! If I knew how to code I might give it a try, but it's beyond my abilities and what I have time to learn (at least for now). Out of curiosity, how much coding does this require?


Given that you did this more or less for fun, I think tackling this may be more of a hassle than it's worth. Let's see if I can explain the request in a bit more detail. When you install Zotero,  it installs a plugin in Microsoft Word that you can use to insert citations. The citations inserted by Zotero have embedded code. The "add bibliography" button gets Zotero to "read" all the citations throughout the text to automatically generate a full bibliography. The nice thing about this is that you can delete or add new citations in your text to modify your bibliography to reflect your changes.


The Alfred workflow inserts the unformatted text into the document. This text cannot be read by the zotero plugins. Your plugin is much faster than Zotero's own word plugin at searching. I just returned to using Zotero, so I may be wrong, but I think I used to be able to insert unformatted references and then you could have zotero process the citations in whichever citation style I wanted. I can't seem to find an option for that. For example, in Papers (another similar piece of software) I can choose to insert unformatted software (for example {Ruvalcaba:2015hk} )and then reformat the document to APA style. I found this link of someone explaining unformatted citations better than I https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/4772/unformatted-entry-a-la-endnote






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11 hours ago, psicologo said:

Out of curiosity, how much coding does this require?


What do you mean? The whole workflow or just the feature you're asking about?


11 hours ago, psicologo said:

The Alfred workflow inserts the unformatted text into the document


It should insert correctly formatted text appropriate to the CSL style you're using.


11 hours ago, psicologo said:

The citations inserted by Zotero have embedded code


The workflow may also be able to insert the codes, but I'd need a proper description of what these codes consist of.


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 By unformatted I didn’t mean not formatted in the citation style. That’s working fine. I’ll look into it a bit more so I can  better describe what I meant.

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