export to CSV?


Does anyone knows if it is possible to export from Zotero to CSV format?
I'm needing this in order to share some information.

  • Just realise that this was not the correct category to post this. Sorry about the trouble.
  • edited January 26, 2007
    It's not currently possible. We're considering adding a CSV option as a report generation format, but representing the kind of variable data that's in Zotero in a fixed column format like CSV is rather problematic. Where do you put 25 creators for an item?
  • edited January 31, 2007
    Dear Dan

    I have no idea what 25 creators are nor I knew what CSV format was till some days ago. I just asked because my PhD supervisor asked me to give her some bibliography in that format. If it is not possible, then it isn't.


    P.S.: I notest that there is a lot of things around this software that a newbie like me, and so many others, have no idea about. A Zotero manual would be a great help to everyone!
  • A "creator" is an author/contributor/translator/editor/whatever.

    I think that it would be reasonable if these creators could be placed in one column separated by semicolons -- these are rarely found in a person's name & are often used to separate terms in other lists.

    CSV isn't a specific bibliographic format--it is merely a general tabular format. So it isn't necessarily that it wouldn't be possible to export to that format--it is just that there would have to be decisions made to questions such as the one Dan posed.
  • For what it's worth, I managed to get CSV export (sort of) in the following way:

    Zotero export to BibTeX
    BibTeX export to OpenOffice ODS format via JabRef
    ODS to CSV via OpenOffice

    ... but this is just to add my two cents that it sure would be nice
    to have such a capability built into Zotero if all of the decisions
    about squashing information could be made ...
  • Just hoping to revive this discussion without being redundant...

    In my field of research we often do literature reviews by recording the key elements of a paper in an Excel spreadsheet. In my opinion, this format is so much easier to read (and skim over) than the report that Zotero currently generates. It would be fantastic if we could select which "categories or items" would be included as column headings (and add categories, if not currently part of the "info" section) in a spreadsheet, and then generate a spreadsheet report similar to the following:

    date authors title study design measures notes
    2008 author 1 title 1 cross sectional # md visits key findings...
    1999 author 2 title 2 longitudinal cost/vist key findings...

    Please keep this possibility afloat! And thanks for the discussion.
  • I just want to give one "vote" to this option.

    Taking in consideration the fact that the bibliographical information is so distributed into a number of different fields I'd suggest that the citation styles would be used as the basis for creating such CSV (/spreadsheet) formats.

    E.g. A Chicago (author-year) based csv would be split into following 6 columns:
    [Title and other related fields: editors, series, edition, etc];
    [Journal, volume, issue - if applicable];
    [City & Publisher];

    I have no idea how this would be done technically. But that's more or less what I'm currently doing manually. If the above suggested is too complicated I'd be very happy with a simpler:

    [Title and other related fields: editors, series, edition, etc]. [Journal, volume, issue - if applicable]. [Publisher];

    Which would possibly be easier to do (and could currently be done relatively easily with some Excel macros (or similar text grabbing) as year is essentially a text string [. NNNN. ] between the author(s) and the "title, etc" part, and URL begins with [. http://].

    All ideas to do this splitting more easily (than my current manual process) are most welcome (as I haven't tried to do the macro yet).
  • ISBN would be a nice additional column. (Discussed in http://forums.zotero.org/discussion/1254/)
  • edited November 11, 2008
    In the long run this sort of thing should be handled through more customizable report generation. However, you can already use CSL to make this sort of customized tab-delimited or CSV export.

    It is relatively easy to hack CSL files for styles to generate CSV files. I've done it to make spreadsheets out of Zotero data before, and it gives you the benefit of getting exactly the fields you need. Look into how to edit styles with csledit.xul (I think if you search the web for it you should find some of the threads here that discuss it). Then play around with replacing the punctuation in the style with comas, or better yet tabs, and you can generate a CSL file that includes exactly the data you need.
  • Hello,

    I'm a PhD student and I also "vote" for being able to export to CSV/Excel.

    Lets look at what we do.
    G= Good Zotero function
    B= Bad Zotero function (room for improvement)


    1. Read (G) (Zotero has a great function for importing details from EBESCO etc)
    2. Copy (G) (Zotero lets us drag and drop between Zotero and our Desktop)
    3. Review (B) (You can't highlight or comment on PDF's using PDF Nitro for example so you need to export the PDF to you desktop - comment on it - and then drag it back to Zotero)
    4. Prioritise (B) (Research requires lots of info. In Zotero's current form you cant skim through info like you would if it were exportable on an excel sheet. You need to click and open each individual item or hope that your tag brings up the info you need. Thats if you use the right Tag or consistant Tag throughout a long research period)

    So, here's my wishlist:

    1) To be able to export Zotero including any text file notes I created in the Zotero folder to excel. Cells can contain tons of information - I'll look after cleaning it up. I'd love to be able to sort and categorise my notes in excel as excel is so flexible.

    2) To be able to highlight and add comments to PDFs I've imported into Zotero using apps like PDF Nitro.
  • It's not related to this thread, but you can have PDF Nitro open PDFs from Zotero -- just set it as the default handler for PDFs in Firefox. I used Skim (for Mac) in this way for quite some time without any issues.
  • Hi- adding my 2 cents to say that I'd love an excel function!
  • it really depends what people want. It's pretty straightforward to write a simple csl citations style with csv output - I think I've actually done that for someone if you want to search around a little.
    The one thing that isn't possible with that option is to include notes. It's not quite clear to me for what purpose people want the Excel.
  • thanks @adamsmith. i tried following the directions here: http://kimmonsdesign.com/node/24#comment-676 but could only get numbers. would you happen to have the linkw here you posted that? i can't seem to find it.
  • http://forums.zotero.org/discussion/13685/export-abstract/
    look through this thread - the style is posted at
    but it'll be worthwhile reading through the thread to get a sense of it's purpose and limitations and what to do once you have a file.
  • Hi Adam,

    I tried this and, like jimgwc in the original thread, all I get is an error message: "An error occurred generating your bibliography. Please try again." I would be thrilled if you could upload a CSL that doesn't generate this error.

  • +1 to what Miryam says.

    I want the CSV option to help me put together material gathered by different people using different tools.
  • (For others who are trying to get something into CSV) --

    This approach
    worked pretty well for getting the basics out, but fails in its current form to differentiate between different sorts of authors. It does list multiple authors, but doesn't reserve special columns/fields for Editor or Translator, as opposed to merely additional authors.
  • aesop - thanks for the link! It was really helpful at extracting the information I needed, after a little tweaking.

  • You're welcome, although of course it's actually Royce Kimmons' work!

    I know next to nothing about SQLite, so tweaking it to show editors etc is pretty much beyond me.
  • For anyone familiar with R, I found the following script very helpful for exporting to CSV and easy to adapt for your own needs:


    (for anyone not so familiar with R: just make sure you install the required libraries before running the script and replace the variables at top of the script and you should be good to go)
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