Edit same field for multiple items


Is there any way to select multiple items and edit a particular field for all of the selected items?

I've just added a butch of papers from a conference, which I like to store in collections. I got all the papers as PDFs on a USB. I then import them into Zotero. However, when I use "Retrieve meta data from PDF" then it doesn't retrieve all the fields that should be there. If I go to the database website (dl.acm.com) where the paper is located, and press the "save to zotero"-button, then it gets all the necessary and correct information. I therefore need to bulk edit 50ish items' proceedings field with "Proceedings of the The 15th International Conference on Interaction Design and Children". Could do it one by one, but seems like a waste of time.

I know of tagging music files, that software such as MP3Tag allows you edit the same field/tag for multiple items at the same time.
  • Planned but not currently possible at least not in a reasonably easy way (there's technically this: https://www.zotero.org/support/dev/client_coding/javascript_api#batch_editing but without prior Javascript experience, this will take you _much_ longer than 50 copy&paste operations.)
  • Thanks Adamsmith for your fast reply.

    OK, so I guess the best is simply to delete the PDF attachments from the library items.

    It would also seem to be preferable to go to the actual literature database, rather than using google scholar to save a reference in Zotero. Google Scholar seems to miss data, like the proceedings field. This doesn't have to do with Zotero (I think), but would you say that it is a correct assumption?
  • Yes, the original publisher almost always gets you better metadata than Google Scholar.
  • Is there by any chance a projected date for editing multiple items? This is a useful feature especially when adding the same tag to many items; changing a faulty Item Type on multiple records; or adding the same note to multiple items.
  • I don't think there's a reasonable timeline. From what Dan has said, it's ballparked for the 5.2 release, but that may be any time from this fall to significantly(!) later. I'd be very surprised if it happened any earlier, given the UX/GUI issues involved in getting this right.
  • edited April 21, 2017
    Note that for the first point--adding the same tag to multiple items--The Zutilo plugin can help you with that already.
  • Bulk edit would be extremely useful...
  • I would like to agree.
  • Please!
    For loads of things, not least:
    Authors initials with and without a 'dot'
    Missing fields
  • edited July 4, 2019
    I support that wish.
    There are so many things I would do.
    e.g. the language-to consolidate, Englisch, English, en, engl. to english would be great


    Edit: I just checked out the JavaScript you provide. It is so super easy - nothing that needs knowledge.
    Thank you for this workaround
  • At least for tags there is a way for a easy bulk edit.
    Just go to the Tag Selector (View -> Layout -> Tag Selector) and Right-Click the tag you want to edit and choose "Rename Tag...".

    I also agree: to bulk edit item fields without scipt would be a nice feature in Zotero.
  • Note that the Zutilo add-on now provides functions for batch editing of items:


    With Zutilo, a great number of mass editing tasks can be accomplished in a relatively simple manner. For some functions you need to use a text editor for editing the JSON data that are copied to the clipboard.

    The relevant functions are: "Copy item fields", "Paste into empty item fields", "Paste non-empty item fields", "Paste all items fields". They are explained in the documentation:


    Use cases are discussed here:


    Currently, changing the item type of many items at once seems not supported.
  • Yes, please please please....

    I think I moaned about this years ago, and it astonishes me that it still has not been added. I love zotero, but.... having just added a special issue of a journal, where the metadata does not pick up title of journal, year of publication, and now having to go in and do it all manually.... grrrr.
  • Zutilo looks very promising!! :-)
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