Notes re-order and creation of a simple document

edited September 16, 2018
Dear Zotero team,

I once made this suggestion to Mendeley, however, it was sadly ignored.
Maybe you could implement the following in Zotero:

Imagine that you want to write a new paper, thesis or proposal...

-Allow the user to create a new tree item (folder) of type document (this will be the name of a final document to be created at the end)
- Allow the user to create categories/sub-categories/labels for each document (or just sharable among multiple documents) like you already do in Zotero...
- Allow the user to create new notes per categories/label and allow re-order of these notes (this defines the layout of the final document, e.g., sections on a paper and the order of the text itself in the final document)
- Allow associating these notes to the existent references
- Now, allow the user to export one or more categories or an entire document to assemble a new physical document (latex, word, txt)
- In this new simple physical document, export the name of a category as a latex section, e.g. \section{Related Work}
- In this new document, export the respective notes as simple text and add to the end of each note/block of text the correspondent reference, e.g., \cite{silva2018}
- allow exporting the respective bib file of one document (or selected categories)

Voila, you just created the most useful piece of software for research.
It allows a user to collect notes on multiple references, organize them in papers, sections and notes, and you allowed the creation of a new document/paper/thesis with all the needed latex citation commands (just the simple commands of \section and \cite are enough). You can do a similar thing in MS Word. These notes can be re-used in other papers/thesis/proposals.
One final comment, that usually something like JabRef is used to eliminate duplicates and to detect any missing important fields in the final .bib or to make the references more clear when cited, all this in one tool would be incredibly useful.

This is much more useful than just notes per reference...and this takes advantage of the already existent wonderful features of Zotero. The mental picture is the actual final document that is intended to be written, along with it's selected topics/references, and you still keep the research mental picture as before.


Nelson J. S. Silva
  • edited September 16, 2018
    I don’t think that Zotero is likely to implement something like this. However, I would recommend you check out writing with Markdown and pandoc. It is a very simple plain text writing system that supports CSL/Zotero styles and can work very well with Zotero.

    A variety of plain text editors have integration with Zotero for use with Markdown:
  • It is a pity. This would be a great functionality. Really useful when we are creating a new document, gathering the references for each chapter and organizing notes/pieces of text per chapter.
    I am implementing my own version of this suggestion right would be great to have it in Zotero, but if it is not possible...then I will have to do it myself for now.

    Thank you.
  • Hi Nelson. I think what you are describing is the functionality provided by Bibliographix. See The software is provided free as is the code. Unfortunately it is only in German and lacks some of the capabilities of Zotero. Combining the functions of Bibliographix and Zotero would indeed be super useful. I would be very interested to know how you are getting on with your own implementation. Best regards, Chris
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