Deleting Multiple Tags?

I just imported several folders to Zotero and it imported all kinds of weird tags (even though I had this option unchecked). Even after I clicked "Delete Automatic Tags in this Library" there were still thousands of tags left. Is there a way to mass-delete these? I don't want any of them and would prefer to start from scratch with my own.
  • Tags that come from file imports aren't considered automatic tags, because most of the data exchange formats don't distinguish between different types of tags/keywords.

    The Zutilo plugin can remove all tags from selected items. (A future version of Zotero will include that capability as a built-in feature.)
  • Follow up: I want to clean out my enormous list of tags without having to go to each item to which the tags are attached. Is there a way to bulk-delete many of tags themselves?
    You can also hold Cmd (Mac) or Shift (Windows/Linux) while dragging items to a tag in the tag selector in the bottom left to remove the tag from all of those items.
    You can also right-click a tag in the tag selector to delete it completely.
  • @dstillman is Zutilo functionality incorporated in the latest version of Zotero?

    It is not clear how best to delete multiple tags in bulk/batches.
  • This remains the single biggest issue with Zotero after well over a decade: neither Zotero nor any of the existing Zotero add-ons can batch-delete multiple tags from a library. This issue is a frequent problem when migrating to Zotero from other citation managers. Just to make clear, this is not about removing all tags from multiple entries, it's simply about the ability to select multiple tags in the Tag Selector and delete them completely from the entire library. Users may wish to keep certain tags but delete others. Large libraries will come with thousands of tags; deleting them manually isn't feasible.
  • Ok, this is a workaround, cumbersome but not entirely mad, for those of you who migrate to Zotero with a library packed with thousands of unwanted tags but several that you'd like to keep.
    1. Install Zutilo
    2. Assuming that the tags you'd like to keep are not in their hundreds, select each tag you'd like to keep, and move all the items with that tag into a new collection, named after your tag. Repeat for each tag you'd like to keep.
    3. Use Zutilo to delete all tags from your library
    4. In each of your new collections select all the items and assign a new tag named after that collection. Since items can be multiple collections, they will also receive multiple tags.
    5. Delete the new collections you created in step 2.
    6. Problem solved!
  • I think I've worked out how to remove all tags from your library by combining advice from various threads without needing to use code;

    1. If you have tags you want to keep, create a new collection (e.g. I named mine 'Saving coloured tags' < create a new folder for each tag you want to keep < copy all references with that tag into their specific folder.

    2. Install the Zutilo plugin; (full installation instructions are on the webpage if you scroll down)

    3. As is_PengLu has said at , "After installation of Zutilo, go to Tools < Zutilo Preference < User Interface < Remove tags [second option down] --> deselect 'hide' and select 'Zutilo context menu' so that 'Remove tags' will display when you right click an item

    4. OPTIONAL: on the zutilo preferences menu (Tools < Zutilo preferences) click on the 'Shortcuts' tab on the top, scroll down to find 'Remove tags', select it, and enter a keyboard shortcut (I did Shift+R): this will enable you to remove all tags for the selected item(s) by pressing Shift+R

    5. Go back to the main zotero window and select 'My Library' (Brown folder). Click Command+A to select all items, then Shift+R (or right click < Zutilo < Remove all tags) to remove all tags in your library

    6. Reinstate the tags you saved by going back to that new collection you made in step 1 ('saving coloured tags') and add back the tags to each reference in those subfolders. You can quickly add the same tag back to a list of items by draging a set of items to a tag in the tag selector on the left (as per

    This seems to have worked for me at removing the hundreds of useless tags imported from EndNote and has synced across my desktop and laptop fine. Hope that helps!
  • Thank you Varda_91, your instruction works for me.
  • I miss this feature too. Even without bulk importing citations the list of tags can become large and the workflow to delete them is more than anoying.. There are also many tags I wanted to keep so I found another workaround using the action-tags plugin ( together with zutilo:

    1. Mark all entries in the library or in a collection, contextmenu -> zutilo -> copy all tags

    2. Pasted them into an text editor modify the list as u like and join the lines by , (search and replace '\n' with ',' or use IDE actions)

    3. Copy the one long line and paste it to the add/remove tags from contextmenu -> manage tags. Make sure all the items are still selected and the [ ] remove button is checked. I dont know how many letters are allowed in this field but for me it worked multiple times for bulks of around 30 tags.
  • edited 16 days ago
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