Importing Excel sheets into Zotero

Hi guys,

Sorry if this has been asked before but found nothing in the archives.

I have lots of Excel sheet with bibliographic data, what steps do you
recommend so I can import them to Zotero? Is there a filter or program
that I can use to get them integrated with Zotero collections?

Thanks for your time guys. Very best, Carlos Vílchez-Román
  • My comments & the link in:

    cb2bib may be your best bet.
  • Can someone please walk me through the steps of using cb2BIB to convert an excel spreadsheet into BibTex? You copy the bibliography to a clipboard and then what? The instructions given in cb2BIB are not understandable to me. Thank you.
  • @drkitty: It looks like cb2bib is designed to capture individual items from a page or document. From the look of the documentation, you would need to modifying it to read your entries.

    If you have a lot of bibliographic data stored in spreadsheet form, the first step is probably to take a look at the clock and hand-key a few entries to get an idea of how much time it would take to perform the task by hand. If that looks too burdensome, there are several options, but all of them have a steep learning curve associated with them, and would take a significant amount of work. That's not really a fault in Zotero; as noksagt points out, each CSV arrangement is a little different, and computers are not by their nature able to interpret things semantically.

    One approach might be to look at adapting cb2bib to your needs. I don't know cb2bib, and have no idea how much work that would involve. Another approach might be to write a custom translator in Javascript for your CSV data, using the Zotero Scaffold tool, and then just import the file(s) in the normal way. A third might be to write your own program from scratch to convert entries to an RIS format suitable for importing through the existing RIS translator.

    Not sure which of those would be best; a lot depends on which you feel most comfortable with.
  • @drkitty: Forgot to mention one important possibility. If the entries relate to published works, you could also look them up in an existing online database that Zotero is able to read automatically. Faster than hand-keying, possibly faster than setting up to import your CSV files, depending on the number of entries you have to deal with.
  • I've done a little work on the Excel/CSV problem and I think I hit on a solution--If you have access to EndNote, you can use it as a CSV to RIS converter. Use the linked instructions below to format a CSV file for EndNote import, and then you can use EndNote to export to RefMan/RIS, as suggested elsewhere in these forums. Zotero handles RIS pretty respectably.

    It's a little indirect, and depends on how you've formatted your excel file, but for me it was better than any of the suggestions so far posted for this issue.
  • Hi amacom73,
    I have the same question as cvirom, with a database of 1,000 references in Excel that I'd like to import.
    I have Endnotes and could try the solution you suggest above - format a CSF file for EndNote and then to RefMan/RIS, but the link does not work any more. Can you please help?
    A thousand thanks.
  • Sorry, Ariane, that's what I found at the time which more or less worked, but I haven't taken another look at this problem since then. Try googling around for "CSV endnote import" or some such, or maybe check the EndNote forums? Sorry I can't help--good luck!
  • @Ariane

    I think it's a typo. article is this one:
  • For those who are comfortable using a little Python to massage CSV into Zotero items, I've posted some example code that uses the pyzotero library to import items from CSV into Zotero. It uses the server API, meaning the items won't show up in your local library until you've synced. Take a look:
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