Zotero on my Android tablet with firefox mobile


I've been using Zotero for some time now, and it's brilliant.
But the reason i'm posting here is the following: I recently bought an Archos 101 internet tablet (with android 2.2) and I managed to install zotero on it, as a firefox mobile plugin.
It took some tricks, i'll write down below what i've done so far.
The library part seems to be working, however i haven't added any items to it yet.

The current problem i have is the following: firefox mobile doesn't like opening popup windows, so it's difficult to use things like the preferences window. the real problem is getting to the sync page of the settings, which is also the only page i really need to be (I want to be able to setup the sync to download my library to the device).
If anybody has a fresh idea to get there, please let me know.

Ok, what i've done so far:
1. install firefox mobile on my android tablet
2. download the zotero plugin to your computer (use the right mouse button on the big download button on zotero.org and pick save target as)
3. use your favourite archive tool to open the downloaded plugin (winrar might work, i'm a linux user so the build-in archive manager did the trick)
4. inside the archive, open the following file: install.rdf
5. add the following below the Firefox target:
<!-- Fennec -->
6. upload the thing to a webpage and build an install trigger for it (https://developer.mozilla.org/en/Installing_Extensions_and_Themes_From_Web_Pages)
7. visit the website with your android device using firefox mobile
(for those of you who want to skip these first steps, this is my page with the install triger on it: http://www.vcsvu.nl/hans/index6.html )
8. click the link to install, restart your firefox mobile
9. open your firefox mobile, and visit: chrome://zotero/content/tab.xul
Tadaa, zotero on your android device :-) all we have to do now is get it functional :-)
10. to get to the settings page, visit: chrome://zotero/content/preferences/preferences.xul
  • That sounds remarkably easy. And this works? Sync? Scraping webpages? I'm frankly quite surprised, but I guess I haven't followed Firefox Mobile with any great care.

    Please post screenshots, video-- this is news!
  • the install works, but the actual use of zotero isn't working properly yet!

    menu's work, but not all items in them can be opened, like the settings page
    settings page is accessable, but not in the proper way. you also can't switch tabs, so most settings can't yet be reached

    if i manage to get more things working, i'll post it
  • Hey this is pretty cool...just to let you know I used your link to the installer on my Galaxy S (Android 2.2) phone and it loads Zotero, as described.

    Do not seem to be able to zoom ... but then again, why would I need Zotero on my phone?
  • Hi, I managed to install Zotero as you posted in the Firefox emulator for android. As you said the problem is to load the sync preferences. Although I managed to get the citation tab through=>
    I guess if we can replace the #cite for the proper tag (#sync doesn't work). Anyone know which one can be the word?
  • edited April 19, 2011
    Ok. More improvements. I managed to open a standalone window through:


    and it allows to add any entry manually. Still I cannot load my library :( Preferences goes directly to the first tab. I need the second to sync!! I tried to import the library but it brings only the folder; inside it's empty.
  • For some reason, only #cite is allowed, and it's explicitly treated in /chrome/content/zotero/preferences/preferences.js, lines 73-75.

    You should be able to add a similar clause for #sync or other preference panes and rebuild the XPI. Perhaps hansvschoot would be interested in tweaking the XPI up for download?
  • I will also be very happy to see this functioning. I would love to take my phone out for a coffee and note-taking straight into the source.
    However, I'm noticing that some of the pull-down menus are not showing up with the normal options. It seems like there might be more missing pieces than just sync...
  • Can anyone provide images? I'm interested in seeing how this all looks.
  • Here's some from my phone...

  • That's great to see, even if it doesn't quite work yet.

    I can't really contribute much until I get a Firefox-running phone to work with, but it looks like we might be able to get Zotero running natively on these phones.
  • hi wagnerlaru, try


    and post what you got. I'm using the emulator, so I 'don't know how does it work in the real world.
  • Ok. I managed to import the library. I moved the storage folder and the database zotero.sqlite. I cannot read the pdfs though, but I think that this issue is because the different pdf readers used.

    Here is the screen print, yet, it's in the emulator:

  • Interesting stuff. I'm very interested to see this work.

    I'm trying to get this working on an Asus Transformer (Android 3.0 - Honeycomb). Not much success so far.

    I have firefox installed. And I can use the modified zotero plugin install hook (from above). But the rest isn't working very well:

    1) I can bring up the first page of preferences, but trying to save any settings causes FF to crash (No message).

    2) I can go to the 'standalone' zotero screen, but after drawing the UI, it immediately crashes (with generic 'There's a problem' message).

    Any thoughts?
  • I would like to do the same with an Asus Transformer, but very new at Zotero and Android. Please John, keep me posted if you manage to do it!
  • Hey, sorry for the silence. I'm anxious to try the standalone, but maybe not on my phone. A tablet has been ordered, I'll let you know how it goes...
  • Hi,

    I installed zotero on an Archos 101 (android 2.2.1) using the indications in the first post of this thread (thanks hansvschoot !). I used the latest available zotero to date (zotero-2.1.8.xpi) which I edited.

    Yet it is not working. I am experiencing the same problems described by several users above.

    1) I am able to access zotero with chrome://zotero/content/tab.xul, but menus are not responding (some scroll down but don't react, some don't scroll)

    2) I cannot access using chrome://zotero/content/standalone.xul

    3) I can access the preferences using
    chrome://zotero/content/preferences/preferences.xul (it works with and without the tag #cite)

    4) I only have the first page of the preferences, I can select options but when I try to save it, firefox crashes (as described by john.p.enright above).

    5) I was unable to import any library. Gusv2007, can you please describe how you have imported your library ? Where do you put the folders ? Thanks in advance.

    I will keep on trying. Regards and many thanks for all the hints above.

  • This is really exciting--thanks to all of you for being such helpful early adopters. If you manage to get this syncing and able to open PDFs, I will probably sell my kidney for an Android tablet! Combined with Repligo reader, you'd have the coffee house office of my dreams.
  • Just a quick message to let you know that havinga working zotero on android is very good news! Keep up the good work guys!
  • edited August 4, 2013
    You can check out zotfile as an alternative:

  • Joscha: I thought I'd let you know that somebody investigated your suggestion. As you say, it's no replacement for the whole enchilada, but I commend your efforts. If you had a less complicated version that didn't change file names, I'd probably give it a shot. Using the flags was a clever idea.
  • @MG6, you don't have to have Zotfile changing the filenames; you can also let Zotero handle that (see Zotfile preferences).
  • edited August 25, 2011
    Really keen to have a seemless way of using Zotero on a tablet - so thanks to all of you for working on this. Holding off on purchasing a device until I feel confident that Zotero will work for a non-expert.

    Does the new version of Firefox Mobile for Android launched recently help solve any of the problems?
  • Mozilla has announced that they are working on a version of Firefox for Android Tablets, with a much larger screen size. I have yet to see any word on what it might mean in regard to extensions.

  • Really keen to have a seemless way of using Zotero on a tablet - so thanks to all of you for working on this. Holding off on purchasing a device until I feel confident that Zotero will work for a non-expert.
    There is already one way in which it works nicely for a non-expert: the Zotfile Reader plugin, which makes it really easy to push stuff to read (e.g. PDFs, ebooks) from Zotero to a tablet and to get updates (e.g. annotated versions) back from the tablet into Zotero. Of course this is very different from having your whole library on the tablet and being able to add stuff to it while browsing the web. But it's a great start for those users who like to use tablets for reading literature.
  • edited September 25, 2011
    Cross-posting for cross-referencing, although Zotero-in-Firefox Mobile might be even more promising when it happens:
    Just last week, I released Zandy, an Android client for Zotero. It's on the Android market, and the source code is available under the AGPL. Notably, it doesn't yet handle notes and attachments, but the other basic browsing and editing functionality is already there.

    There is also another Android app that came out last week, Scanner for Zotero, which I haven't tried, but it seems to focus on adding items to your library by bar code / ISBN.
  • edited October 3, 2011
    FORGET THIS [Hello hajlyon, thanks for your efforts. I bought and tried Zandy. When syncing, it successfully loads the collections, but no item...]
    After restarting the tablet and loging again, it worked...
    A few first suggestions for improvements : research options and a way to accelarate the browsing in the item lists (with 1600+ items, it is very long otherwise). Good work (in progress)!
  • flobede: Take a look at the Zandy user guide. The besy way to work with a large library (mine is nearing 3000 items) is to browse by collection. Long-tap to view the items in a collection.

    The 1.1 release, in a few days, will improve some of the loading issues, and I have plans to improve overall load time and add more browsing capabilities in 1.2, within a couple of weeks.

    Tablet-specific support is also in the offing, although it's a little bit longer off. I had been planning on targeting the tablet interface at Android 3.1+, but now I may have to rethink that, as even the new Kindle Fire appears to be using Android 2.x, so the 3.x world is pretty limited. What version are you using?
  • Thanks, I missed the guide. The issue with collection is that I prefer to use tags rather than collections in my work with Zotero. I use an Android 3.2 (Asus Eee Pad Transformer).
  • Ok. Browsing by tag is also planned, but not yet implemented. I'll see what I can do for this week's 1.1 release, but that may slip to 1.2.

    For more information on the goals for each of the coming versions, see the tracker: https://github.com/ajlyon/zandy/issues/milestones
  • Just bought zandy, and it looks like a nice start. The honeycomb UI would be great to have, but rather than that, i'd prefer first to have attachment management (also with webdav, not just with the zotero servers). FYI, I'm using an Iconia tab with android 3.2.

    Hope this works great! I'll keep an eye on it.
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