Adding a custom information field

I'm wondering if Zotero still intends to make it possible for users to add a custom field to the Information section, and, if so, roughly when it might be made available.

I've checked the discussion logs and it appears that the last time a question was posed was mid-2016.
  • edited April 18, 2017
    Custom Fields is planned for, as far as I am aware, the medium term. Will probably come after Zotero 5.1, which will include necessary changes to Zotero's back end database to allow the standard item types and fields to be updated.

    For the time being, you can store custom information in the Extra field.
  • I have Zotero 5.0.35 and I see that the database schema includes what look like relevant tables: customBaseFieldMappings, customFields, customItemTypeFields, and customItemTypes. There's no data in any of them (in my local copy), though. Are those tables used in the current version?
  • no they aren't. They're left over from custom work Zotero did for an organization many years ago.
  • Good to know, thanks!
  • I just created with a bit of info on how I'd like it to work.
  • re-posting it here, since I didn't notice I shouldn't be making issues on GitHub.. sorry about the noise.

    In the early days of my sciencing, I started my own database for citations, in Excel. I eventually abandoned it, because adding bibliographic data and implementing citation styles was simply too much work, and the lack of Word integration didn't help. However, it had a bunch of strong benefits, particularly in how I can define my own data fields easily.

    It was immensely helpful, as I could do a parametric search in my table to quickly find the relevant papers I didn't quite remember the authors or title of.

    I would like to have similar capability in Zotero. That would have been just SUPER AWESOME. I'm happy do donate some money for this feature, if it can help (I've already bought some cloud storage, not for using it, but just for supporting Zotero).
    I also hope my screenshot can help shape this feature, because the way excel does it is pretty much perfect.
  • Does anyone know if there's been any movement on this? would be so helpful if such a feature was implemented
  • edited February 4, 2019
    Custom fields are, last I saw, planned for the medium term, around version 5.2. For now, you can enter custom information in Extra.

    (Edit: Which I realize is what I said above—nothing has changed there.)
  • It's a shame custom metadata isn't a thing yet. I was thinking it might be possible to just repurpose one of the more arbitrary pre-existing fields such as "archive location," but that's an annoying workaround. I've been trying to leave Zotero for a while now, but it still seems to be the best compared to web-based apps and discontinued service based on company buyouts.

    Can I add one more request along this line to perfect Zotero: I'd like to be able to edit the fields directly in the citation list rather than have to click through the metadata box. Why can't this be a bit more like a spreadsheet in design? It would be killer. Thanks for considering!
  • Almost a year since the last comment in this thread...

    Any progress on being able to tweak fields in the info tab?

    Or has anyone developed any workarounds?
  • Nothing new and not likely to be any time soon. Just to be clear, "medium term" in all likelihood means years rather than months.
  • Upvoting customizable field capabilities
  • +1

    I think this could be broken down to 'not so much complexity' if those fields are a kind of separate from the default fields, and of course not used for citing.
    But it would be very useful to have them available in the table, search etc. functions, and very very useful to have them in group libraries.
  • I am wondering what the benefits of custom fields are above tags? Let's say I want to add the custom field PMID (Pubmed ID) to the items in my library. I could fit it in the field "Loc. in Archive" or in "Extra" or in an attached note, or in a "PMID:####" tag. If I wanted to include the PMID in my bibliography style, none of the above are ideal, or is it possible to take the data from tags? Tags suffice for searching, but don't offer any sorting. But then, not all fields are available for sorting either: I haven't found a way to sort by DOI for example...
    Anyway just my two cents.
  • @thinkround For PMID or PMCID, add them to the top of Extra:
    PMID: 12345

    That will get picked up by citation styles.
  • There are good reasons people may want custom fields -- they follow a different data model than tags, may show and thus be sortable in the middle column, etc, but they also create all sorts of issues with the data model (syncing, citation styles, etc.) so currently they're not available, but it is my understanding that they're generally on the long-term roadmap (but long-term here could really mean a good number of years)
  • +1
    wondering if anyone has come up with a solution to append manually added data extraction fields to their zotero content ie a series of customised extra fields that could be used as containers for this extra information. This would be a great benefit for systematic reviews and meta-analysis and more generally for structured analysis of references at the time of reading.
    Currently, the key citation fields for studies are exported from zotero into systematic review software. Data extraction for each study is then done within the review software or seperate spread sheets. As I understand, this information becomes task specific ie for single review then exists within the software or seperate data bases but is no longer linked to the reference in zotero or easily reusable.
    The ideal would be to:
    1. retain this extracted information within zotero to allow re-use.
    2. enter the information when reading the primary source article on the go and independent to the specific systematic review. ie a system for structured reading / notes on key variables about the study. Examples: new custom field for:
    study type: RCT, observational, case control
    sample size: enter exact number
    These new structured custom fields could be searched within zotero or exported as csv. This would provide greater utility than tags alone.
    Keen to know if others have found work arounds for this or if this could be part of the vision for zotero. ie user defined custom fields, default data type text.
  • +1
    Here is an actual use case scenario. A founding agency has started to ask for citations that highlight the name of the principal investigator/s. Usually, those names are not the only authors of an item, or are not the first N names in the list.


    Say the item's author list is: Alice, Bob, Carol, Dave
    In the text, Dave and Bob are to be highlighted in the citation because they are the PIs. So the result should be this.(Bob, Dave)123
    Where 123 is the index in the bibliography.

    I do not know of any way to specify which names to use in the citation, apart from the obvious clumsy trick of creating a dangerous duplicate item that has only Bob and Dave as authors.
    So, it would be nice to have the possibility to create a custom field with a manually given value that can be picked up in the citation style.
  • For that use case, where the item data really does need to be modified from normal citation forms, I do suggest making a separate copy of the item with just the PI names. You can make a Group Library to hold these separate from the regular items (e.g., I have "CV and Grants" group that holds this sort of custom-formatted items).

    CSL 1.0.2 also includes a principal-investigator creator type that will be available in some capacity in Zotero likely within a few weeks.

  • +1 with similar ideas to holobiome.
    As a health sciences PhD student, the common recommendation from faculty is to have an evidence table to track and appraise what I am reading. It pains me to do this in Excel. I really want it to be directly entered in my Zotero database, where I could then export a table and easily re-use the appraisal later if related to a different topic.

    I wish I had the skills to code an add-on myself, but would be happy to work with someone.
    I just came across the info about editing the export translator ( and may see if that could get me close to what I am looking for, but if others have work-arounds for this use I would be happy to hear about them!
  • I'd like to see custom fields as an option, too.
  • As a graduate student in the energy field, I'd like to use the custom fields to collect the performance in several aspect of tests of an article, Then export and compare all the articles in an excel.
    Would it possible?
  • You can enter those into Extra (one on each line) or as tags, then export the items to CSV format.
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