Available for beta testing: Zotero, redesigned

This is a big one. In the latest Zotero 7 beta, we’ve introduced a major redesign of Zotero, as well as a new app icon. This redesign represents a monumental effort from the entire team, and we couldn’t be more excited to finally share it.

We’ve tried to create a beautiful, modern design that will still feel familiar to long-time Zotero users. And, yes, there’s a dark mode.

As part of the redesign, we’ve taken the opportunity to rethink some core elements of Zotero. One of the biggest changes is in the item pane, where we’ve replaced the horizontal tabs (Info, Tags, Notes, etc.) with collapsible vertical sections and a side navigation bar for quick access to specific sections. This approach allows us to show additional information right in the item pane without compromising usability. Plugins will also be able to easily create dedicated sections with custom information or actions.

We now offer two UI density options, Compact and Comfortable. Compact resembles the previous density, while Comfortable, the new default, provides a more approachable experience for new users with smaller libraries or people who just prefer a bit more breathing room.

The new design also incorporates a number of long-standing feature requests:
  • Collection search
  • An open-tabs menu, with tab search and fast tab closing/reordering
  • Attachment previews in the item pane (currently for PDFs, EPUBs, webpage snapshots, and images)
  • A new item-pane section showing the collections and libraries an item is in
  • Improved keyboard access and better support for screen readers (with more improvements to come)
And, of course, dark mode. We know dark mode is important to many people, so we wanted to do it right: every part of the new design was created with dark mode in mind. (We might have missed a few existing components, which we'll fix soon.) By default, Zotero will match your operating system’s current state, but you can override that from the settings. We’ve also implemented preliminary dark-mode support for PDF and EPUB content, and we’ll be refining our approach there as people begin testing it on more documents. There’s an option to disable dark mode for content from the reader’s View menu.

Finally, to complete the look, we’ve created a delightful new app icon. If you’re on Windows, the easiest way to make sure you see the new icon is to re-run the installer — Windows has a bad habit of showing cached versions of icons.

Note that some plugins might not work properly with the new design, so please be prepared to disable them if you run into trouble. You can use Help → “Restart in Troubleshooting Mode…” to quickly restart with all plugins temporarily disabled and check if the problem you’re seeing goes away. If you do encounter a problem, be sure to report it to the plugin developer ASAP.

We’re still fixing bugs and fine-tuning things, so expect to see improvements leading up to the Zotero 7 release and beyond, and let us know if you run into any problems or have other feedback. Please start new threads here in the forums for any specific issues, and be sure to include “Zotero 7 Beta” in your thread title.

You can install the beta from the Beta Builds page. For more details on Zotero 7, see the initial beta announcement and the announcement of the updated reader.

We hope you enjoy it!
  • wow, it looks great!
  • Nice!thanks for all of your effort,I love the new design so much!
  • It looks very good, thanks for the amazing work!
  • Wow, looks fantastic! I really like the new icon!
  • Wow, it is a major renovation! Thanks for the update.
  • edited January 26, 2024
    Hi guys! Huge kudos on this gigantic achievement, it must've been a well kept secret. Even the icon, something I consider myself a bit of an expert in, was properly optimized for small sizes and non-retina screens (as was the old hexagonal one, of course).

    Edit: speaking of which, I saw you've since closed the discussion on my icon proposal, and it's only fitting (I would've acknowledged this over there, but I can't exactly do so anymore). :) If anyone likes the classic look of the old chonker of a Z with the standard squircle mask and shadow, it's still there if you want it, but I'm even dropping it myself.

    The new one is much more in line with all of Zotero's other branding, and I especially like the subtle and messy skeumorphism of those coloured stickies, it reminds me a bit of my dissertation. :P

    As for the dark mode, I would like to extend my thanks to tefkah for his dependable Night plugin, which has served me well for years but has now been rendered obsolete, and also to the Zotero team for doing so. Having that functionality by default, complete with alternating row backgrounds and system setting-compliant highlight colours, is the ideal scenario, and I've just touted it in my reference manager users' Facebook group. Do you have any tentative ETA for the RC and GM stages? I wouldn't want to hype people too much over there…
  • Wow this is great. I introduce students to Zotero at my college and I've been telling them about the upcoming changes. I'll have to show them this tomorrow. I've them use Zotero 6, and we're waiting until the official release to migrate to Zotero 7
  • Thank you, it is great!
  • Thanks,good job!
  • That's...amazing! I love the new look. Well done everyone and thank you all for the hard work.
  • edited January 25, 2024
    Huge update! We'll certainly enjoy it, since it's awesome.

    One thing I may suggest to add (I know, I know, it's so new and I'm already here with demands XD): the capability to toggle off the dark theme just for the pdf (documents) reader, since it may happen that some texts using colors for charts or other things may appear less legible due to dark theme. it's already there and I didn't notice. Sorry and and let me say great work again

    Also, since I'm gathering hate with this post, can I ask you when you're going to port in transifex all the new strings added with the version 7? there's quite a bunch of them not yet present, and we'll like to start translating! Joke aside, can it help if I compile a list of missing strings to speed up the process?
  • Damn this update is so amazing!! Wow. Great work--Many thanks. So impressed.
  • edited January 25, 2024
    @ezellohar your PDF/Content suggestion is already in the update. View > Use Dark Mode for Content (Toggle Off). NM I realize you're asking for the inverse. sorry
  • Fantastic! Great look and Dark Mode is such a blessing! Thank you for thinking about allowing to toggle DM for the content separately!
  • Wow, wonderful. I appreciate your hard work. Well done.
  • Holy smokes, Dan. Y'all have been hiding the best 'til last. Wonderful!
  • Very good looking design. Greetings.
  • @Aporias thank you, I didn't notice that option (I've looked mostly everywhere but there lol... that's a signal I should rest!)
  • Thanks, it looks great!
  • This looks sick. You guys have done a fantastic job!
  • I love how it looks and how optimized it is, plus I haven't had any errors. Great Job!.
  • The new interface is really friendly to read, but the right hand column is inconvenient as none of the previous plugin options are there anymore!
  • edited January 26, 2024
    @killer-nan: Plugins will need to be updated for the new design. We're currently working on providing hooks to allow plugins to create sections in the new item pane. As I say in the announcement, better support for plugins is one of the biggest advantages of the new design.
  • Great! Surprise!
  • The new interface is wonderful. But I think the new app icon isn't as good as the one before lol.
  • Congratulations!! It looks super nice and is a huge step for Zotero! Well done to everybody involved.

    (thanks for including me on the contributors page, never spotted that!!)
  • Super happy with the new version update!!!

    There have two problem and one suggest about this vision:

    1. the item list style have some trouble:
    if the column "attachment" at the first,(before title),the line‘s style has some malposition。
    2. the file by link has not the link mark。

    Suggest :
    The additional information right can be customized order?
    ex: I want to seen "Tag" before "Info" 。
  • @ccwuyu:

    1) Yes, we're aware — thanks.

    2) Not sure what you mean. Can you start a new thread and say more?

    Section reordering is planned.

    (Please create new threads for specific issues.)
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