Accessing Citations in Applications Other than Word - Mac - Newbie

edited March 27, 2019
In trying to design a research flow, I am finding that I need to have access of Zotero's citations in applications other than Word.

The type of thing I am after is similar to the YouTube video below that can be found in another application.

Does such a feature already exist? If so, how do I set it up. If not, I was wondering what other researchers are doing as a workaround.
  • It's possible with a little jerry-rigging, but how the jerry-rig is put together is platform dependent. What OS are you using?
  • edited March 25, 2019
    That would be Zotero ODF Scan. It's less flexible than the Bookends demo in that you need to get your document into ODF format. OTOH it's more flexible in that:
    * It works cross-platform;
    * You can carry on editing Zotero references in the finished document; and
    * The conversion process can be reversed.

  • It's also sort-of-possible in other applications (sans any of the benefits of ODF scan mentioned by @fbennett), using BBTs CAYW (which would provide the floating part), but triggering the floating picker from a hotkey (and pasting the results into the foreground app if that's what you want) requires platform-dependent setup; some existing user-provided options to do this are listed on the CAYW page, but it's not enable-and-done like shown in the bookends video.
  • Thanks for all your responses and advice. :)

    I am using MacOS 10.14 Mojave. What is the jerry-rigging you speak of? :)

    I will look into this plug-in and try and figure out the workflow involved. Thanks for the pointer.

    Thanks for the link. This plug-in was not listed in the official "Third Party Documentation" and provides me with the missing link! :) Now I will try to see how it all goes together. I may need some help and will post again if I do. :)
  • @emilianoeheyns, I need your guidance to complete the workflow to finally have a floating window to insert citations in applications other than Word.

    I have managed to do the set up as described by @fbennett (installed and setup Zotero ODF Scan). But I cannot figure out what to do with BBTs CAYW to have the floating window.

    Would you be able to guide me? I do not have a background in programming and have only basic knowledge in how to use my Mac. I would really appreciate it.

    Cheers! :)
  • I don't have a Mac at hand, but here's how it'd work, roughly:

    First you set up zotpick-scannable-cite.applescript from . That will give you an application that, when ran, will pop up the floating picker and paste the results into the foreground app. It can do scannable cites to work with ODF scan, but the picker can return other formats, such as formatted citations/bibliographies.

    When you have that working, you use automator ( to create a global hotkey to run that app, and hey presto, floating citations at the touch of a button.
  • Wow! Thank you @emilianoeheyns for your prompt reply! :) Much appreciated.

    I will go through the links you provided. I will let you know how I go.

    Cheers! :)
  • My pleasure. For other formats you would change this line so the format= is set to what you want -- formatted-citation for in-text citations, or formatted-bibliography for a formatted bibliography. But if you can use ODF-Scan, you will have automated bibliographies. The formatted- options output static references/bibliographies and you would have to update them manually.
  • @emilianoeheyns @fbennett

    One last issue. I have installed and setup everything to have the "floating window" to select and cite in an application other than Word. However, when a citation is selected, the citation ID is input in Japanese. For example:


    For a citation that should appear as:

    (Brewer, 1991)

    I am unsure what I should do now and who to contact about this.

    Your further guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    I am using MacOS 10.4 Mojave with Japanese language selected. I have the Japanese ATOK as the Input Manager Editor.
  • What you're seeing there is the scannable cite marker. You can drop those into a ODF doc and then run ODF scan to make them into proper citations. If you want plain-text citations directly, you'll have to change the format= part in the applescript code.
  • I hope that the parsing works with the Japanes ID instead of ZU -- otherwise @fbennett may be able to advise or you can just do search and replace.
  • I'm not entirely sure how that marker comes about -- BBT CAYW always encodes the string zu: or zg: in the output. It may be an artifact from pasting (some programs try to "help" by autocorrecting stuff). Easy to test by just opening (you can just click this link), picking that reference, and seeing what ends up in the browser. If that has zu: or zg: (as I expect it will), then it's most likely autocorrect messing things up.
  • ず does say "zu", looks like ATOK is kicking in. This happens with the FEP set to English input? Not likely to happen with other languages, so if the Mac absolutely insists on converting that string, we could just recognize it. That would be ugly on ugly, but if all else fails.
  • @emilianoeheyns @fbennett @adamsmith

    This is what I get in the browser after clicking :

    { | Brewer, 1991 | | | zu:276004:4EAB2LZW }

    When I change the AppleScript part from "format=scannable-cite" to "format=formatted-bibliography" I get the following:


    I still get the same {|Brewer,1991|||ず:276004:4EAB2LZW}when I use the "format=scannable-cite" in the AppleScript to get the floating citation in the application I am wanting to place the scannable citation.

    I hope there is a workaround.

  • edited March 29, 2019
    Oh, wait. It's giving you zenkaku characters for all of the punctuation in there as well---the vertical-bar field separators and the colon. If there isn't a way of forestalling the ATOK front end from corrupting the text inserts, this will prove frustrating.
  • @fbennett

    As you mention, I am getting the zenkaku characters for all the punctuation as well. It is occurring when I have ATOK installed and using the AppleScript to get the floating citation for the scannable citations.

    When I am use MacOS's Input Manager Editor, I get the following:


    Is the above the correct citation for a scannable citation?

    Is the culprit ATOK or is it the BBT CAYW? Or is it both? Can you offer any help for me?

    PS. A slightly different issue. What would I need after the "format=" in the AppleScript to get "(Brewer, 1991)"?
  • Yes, {|Brewer,1991|||zu:276004:4EAB2LZW} is correct, ATOK and BBT might interact somehow, but I think the culprit is pretty clearly ATOK since BBT works fine on systems without ATOK and as Emiliano says above, writes the right thing to the clipboard.

    To get (Brewer, 1991) set format=formatted-citation and set the Default Output Style in the Export tab of Zotero to "American Psychological Association"--but note the limitation that Emiliano points out: these citations are not recognized by Zotero in any way, so you won't be able to create a bibliography based on such-cited items.

  • @adamsmith
    Thanks so much for your and everyone else's help. Everyone has been absolutely fabulous! :)

    At least we were able to work out that the culprit is most probably ATOK. I will keep toying with ATOK's settings to see if there is a way around this problem. If I do come up with a solution I will definitely update my post.

    I also note your warning about changing the citation output. Thanks for helping me out with this too. :)

    Cheers! :)
  • If your browser outputs the correct marker, it's definately ATOK. There is one other avenue but I don't have the requisite Mac knowledge to make it work; the current applescript takes the text output and "types" it into the frontmost app; you can change the URL to and BBT will put it on the clipboard (replacing what was there!), so the applescript could paste instead of type. It seems likely to me that that would not activate ATOK (since nothing is being "typed"), but I don't know for sure, and I don't know applescript, so I don't know how to make it actually work, or what the downsides are to using paste vs type.
  • @emilianoeheyns
    Thanks for looking into a solution. I changed the URL to the one above, and unfortunately I got the same result. Should I try something else?
  • That's the thing - the applescript will have to be changed to make use of the content that's now on the clipboard, but I don't know what those changes would look like, just that it's possible.
  • @emilianoeheyns
    This is what appears in the clipboard:

    { | Brewer, 1991 | | | zu:276004:4EAB2LZW }

    But it pasted in an application as following:


    It appears to be correct when copied into the clipboard, but ATOK is triggered when the AppleScript pastes it into an application.

    If only I could program AppleScript ...
  • What could be happening is that the vertical bar | and perhaps also the {} characters are reserved characters for ATOK, either internally or and intended feature for interacting with some application or other (because nobody ever uses the | character for anything, right?).

    It's a long shot, but you might take a look through the ATOK configuration menus and see if there is a related setting.
  • I can't do anything about this from the BBT end. I generate the correct output.
  • I am just wondering if there is any way around this.

    To explain more what I originally requested, let me describe the type of workflow I envisage in steps. Explaining this may bring other ways/methods to mind.

    Scenario 1
    Step One:
    I have open on my Mac a rich/plain text note taking application, like Agenda for example. I am writing up an idea. I remember reading a paper on "identity" which I would like to cite.

    Step Two:
    I call up the floating citation window (similar to that as used in the Bookends application).

    And I search for "identity" and come up with the reference:

    "Brewer, Marilynn B. (1991), The Social Self: On Being the Same and Different at the Same Time. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17(5): 475–482."

    Step Three:
    I then choose this reference to then have "(Brewer 1991)" entered where I have the cursor. (Or "(Brewer, 1991)" or "(Brewer et al 1991)" or "(Brewer 1991; Stone 2000)" and so on).

    Step Four:
    I have finished writing this note after citing other papers using Step Two and Three. I export the note to MS Word.

    Step Five:
    I use Zotero to complete the Bibliography.


    Scenario 2:
    Step One:
    I have open on my Mac a rich/text plain text note taking application. I am going to write a summary of the paper in my Zotero library about a paper on "identity".

    Step Two:
    I call up the floating citation window (similar to that as used in the Bookends application). I search for "identity" and come up with the reference.

    Brewer, Marilynn B. (1991), The Social Self: On Being the Same and Different at the Same Time. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 17(5): 475–482.

    Step Three:
    I choose this citation in full so that the entire reference is pasted into my note.


    Does this give a better understanding of what I originally really wanted?

    If the Better BibTex plug-in is NOT used, I can get around the problems I am having with ATOK.

    I am using Mac OS 10.4 Mojave.

    I am hoping there is a way. I have my heart set on using Zotero. It works in line with the way I think. :)
  • edited April 7, 2019
    If you don't want the floating popup part:

    Scenario 1 is possible; you'd use RTF scan rather than ODF scan (but note that RTF scan is less reliable in resolving ambiguous references).

    Scenario 2 is possible by just using the standard right-click-create-bibliography.

    If the Better BibTex plug-in is NOT used, you can get around the problems you are having with ATOK only in the sense you can prevent your car from being stolen by not owning a car. BBT is, to my knowledge, the only way to pop up the floating window outside Word/LibreOffice, and BBT returns the stuff you want (either as direct output or by putting it on the clipboard) correctly. I don't currently see how any other kind of integration isn't going to suffer the same interference by ATOK.

    It is possible to have BBT return (Brewer, 1991) style citations; you'd use the formatted-citation format for this, and then you could have scenario 1, with floating popups. This is maybe less likely to trigger the current issues you're seeing with ATOK (except when I look above, you do seem to be experiencing it changing Brewer, 1991 into Bれうぇr、1991). It seems to me the overzealous ATOK is the problem here. The typing interference seems logical enough, but interfering with pastes seems iffy.

    From what I can see in that video, the only reason bookends doesn't suffer the same problem is that in that video it avoids exporting things that trigger ATOK. If you pick something from Bookends that includes Brewer, 1991, and you paste that, does ATOK not change it into Bれうぇr、1991? If that is the case, then it ought to be reprodicible for BBT/applescript too.
  • (To pile on, I still think it might be the { | } markup (to coin a phrase) that triggers ATOK conversion in a paste.)
  • @emilianoeheyns
    When I use the Floating Citation Window in Bookends with a note taking application, I get the following:

    {Brewer, 1991}

    ATOK does not seem to be activated.
  • Can you try with a vertical bar in there? This has all made me a bit curious.
  • But is it activated if you use BBT + formatted citation? While I can't be sure, I would venture to guess it's not.

    Most productive would be to actually get the ATOK devs here. Only they can tell conclusively what will and will not trigger ATOK interference.
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