Zotero OCR MacOS 13.0 Install Guide (Nov 2022)

edited November 8, 2022
Hello all!

I wanted to make a post with a clean, easy-to-follow guide on installing the Zotero OCR plug-in on Mac from scratch. This was done on a 2020 M1 Macbook Air running MacOS Ventura 13.0. There are lots of helpful guides out there, but I had to stitch them together to get from start to finish. So, here we go:

1. Install Xcode from App Store

2. Install the Xcode Developer tools with this line of code copied into Terminal:

xcode-select --install

(If it says unavailable, you probably already have the right version installed)

3. Agree to the terms by copy/pasting this line into Terminal: xcodebuild -license

Then press space until it asks you to agree, then type agree and hit enter.

4. Close terminal

5. Re-open Terminal

6. Install Homebrew with these lines of code in order:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/HEAD/install.sh)"

7. After that runs, it will ask you to run three other lines of code. copy/paste each line individually from the prompt and run them

8. Confirm Homebrew install by running this code: brew update

9. Install Poppler library with this line of code: brew install poppler

10. Install Tesseract with this line of code: brew install tesseract

11. Download the latest release of Zotero OCR from Github:


12. In Zotero, go to Tools → Add-ons and drag the .xpi file you downloaded from Github onto the Add-ons window.

13. Restart Zotero

14. In Zotero, go to Tools → Zotero OCR Preferences

15. Fill in the fields for OCR engine and pdttoppm:

16. Open finder, Cmd + Shift G, type "/opt/homebrew/Cellar"

17. Navigate to tesseract → "version number" → bin → tesseract

18. Copy the file path and paste it into the OCR engine field in Zotero OCR Preferences pane

19. Open finder, Cmd + Shift G, type "/opt/homebrew/Cellar"

20. Navigate to poppler → "version number" → bin → pdftoppm

21. Copy the file path and paste it into the pdftoppm field in Zotero OCR Preferences pane

22. Enter "eng" into the small box under the two longer fields

23. Enjoy Zotero OCR!

Hope this was helpful! Happy Zotero...ing

FOR REFERENCE: The paths for my install were:


The version numbers will likely be out-of-date if you are using this, so make sure you either follow the steps above, or swap out the version numbers.

Tags for Google later:
Zotero OCR, MacOS Ventura 13.0, Mac, Plug-in plugin OCR, Install, install guide, install help, help me please god help me, why is this so hard, MacOS M1, M1 Macbook Air Zotero
  • 1. You don't need Xcode. Command Line Tools is enough to run tesseract

    16-21. Open a Terminal and type type tesseract and type pdftoppm to find the path. This gives you /opt/homebrew/bin/tesseract and /opt/homebrew/bin/pdftoppm respectively. Use this to fill the path in Zotero OCR preferences
  • Thanks for sharing. Since my macbook is 256GB, I won't install Xcode.
    Sometimes I use OCR of DEVONTHINK and it works well for me. Then I drag the OCRed paper into Zotero.
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