Scrivener and Zotero Integration

  • Understood. Appreciate efforts to get this far! It's clearly working for many.
  • I cannot for the life of me figure out how to follow the instructions at the top of this page. I have zero technical knowledge related to this type of stuff, but I would like to be able to use Zotero in Scrivener in the same way I use it in Word. (i.e. - an absolute minimum of clicks/key strokes to create a citation the text). It would seem that what y'all are describing is intended to let me do this, but I absolutely cannot figure out how to set it up. I have also tried to follow the instructions here ( but also to no avail. I simply do not have the technical know how.
  • edited March 6, 2016
    You can see if this helps
    or this:

    If not, we can try to help, but you'll have to be more specific than "I cannot follow".

    edit: or do you have that set up already?
  • Wow, thank you! I got it. Sharp learning curve. The main challenge for me was figuring out how to set the Scrivener reference manager to one of Dave Smith's applescripts. But after much tooling around, I got there (thanks in large part to the video at the bottom of the second link you shared). Thank you!!!
  • Better integration with Scrivener requires Literature & Latte to create extension points in Scrivener. The current interop is as smooth as it gets, sadly, until L&L take academic work seriously enough to allow citation manager integration.
  • I think with your stuff set up, emiliano, it's actually pretty neat as integration already. I think people are just a bit intimidated by what that entails. One of my goals has been for a while to write step-by-step instructions with screenshots for that.
  • Hello all,

    Spend the day trying to make a Bibliography Table with Zotero using Scrivener and... i really do not know what i am doing wrong.

    I use Scrivener to write my thesis, and i use "Scannable Cite" to add citation in Scrivener.
    So in my manuscript i have things like : { | Bortolini et Zatz (1987) | | |zu:0:478BQ727}

    After exporting in odt format with Scrivener and converting in Zotero, citations are correctly formatted like : Bortolini et Zatz (1987)

    But now, i would like to generate at the end, a bibliography table.

    Tryed :
    - the tag {Bibliography} but it is not replaced during the conversion by Zotero.
    - add a bibliography table in Word, but it said that i need to add citations in my manuscrit...
    - installed LibreOffice and Java SE 8, but Zotero ask for Java SE 6 when trying to install the add-in which is outdated and a security hole, no way i installed it.

    So, i really do not know how to create my bibliography table and i do not want to edit all my hundreds " | Bortolini et Zatz (1987) | | |zu:0:478BQ727}"...

    Thanks !!
  • you need Zotero LibreOffice integration to work and to follow the steps in LibreOffice. I think on a Mac that might now work with JDK (!) version 8, but also installing a legacy 32-bit JRE is not actually a real security risk. The problem for Java security is the browser plugin (which is so insecure that you should arguably not have it installed ever).
  • edited March 30, 2016
    Clearly, it still do not work, see here :

    Zotero ask me to install Java SE 6 :/

    Will install it and see what happen...

    EDIT: Ok, with Java SE 6, creating a Bibliography table works in LibreOffice.

  • Hi,

    I am trying to get this to work, as it seems a better solution than the copying and pasting involved with the RTF/ODF scan that I was using. Any advantages of continuing to use it instead of switching?

    I am having some problems setting this up though. Everything is fine - or at least it seems so - until I am in scrivener, call the app, and the red bar appears and functions normally, but when I click enter it does not copy or enter any text in scrivener. Do you know what I am doing wrong?
  • If you get the bar and it disappears when you click, that's all that BBT can do. The glue scripts do the work of picking up the selected reference and pasting it into Scrivener, so that's where you'll have to look.

    Advantages would be that you don't have to switch away from your editor, and that you get the Zotero GUI to specify location, author suppression, etc instead of having to memorize the ODT-scan format; whether that's a sensible advantage given the jury-rigged nature of the setup is hard to decide universally.

    Another option is to drag-and-drop references using the BBT quick-copy formatters, but that doesn't get you the built-in formatting of ODT-scan references.
  • Thank you for the answer. The advantages you mention are related to switching to this system, not continuing with the RTF/ODF scan, correct?
    Also, what you mean by glue scripts and how can I find what might be wrong with them? My technical skills are not particularly strong.
  • To call it a system suggest a coherence that isn't actually there :) No, you'd still be using RTF/ODF scan (I'd suggest ODF scan), it's just an easier way to get your references into your document. There's really not a safe way to do citation/bibliography in Scrivener without such a scan as someone (not me) would have to change the document on the fly to incorporate the bibliography and then somehow notify scrivener the document on disk has changed... nobody sane should want to go there. The Word/LibreOffice plugins use the proper plumbing to tell Word/LibreOffice to change the document in the appropriate way.

    The proper solution would involve L&L taking academic writing seriously and build extension points for document automation akin to how Word/LiberOffice/Emacs/Sublime (und viele viele andere) do it, or at least a specialized system for references. But that doesn't look like it's in their plans.

    The glue scripts are things you find under Editor Configuration at . Each editor has their own collection of scripts to get the references into your document. You'd have to talk to the author of the collection of scripts of your preference to see where things are failing in your case.
  • As Emiliano explained, the 'glue scripts' are the little bits of code which pull up the BBT picker while you're in Zotero.

    Assuming you're using a Mac, if you've followed Dave Smith's instructions here:
    then when you press ⌘-Y in Scrivener, the BBT picker (the red bar) should open. After you finish selecting the item, the citation marker should appear at the place where your cursor was in Scrivener. So make sure that your cursor is in the place where you want the reference before you press ⌘-Y.

    If you're doing that and you're seeing the BBT picker, but you're still not getting any output in Scrivener, then it may be that the zotpick applescript is not installed correctly, or is not functioning as expected.

    If you're using Linux, then send me an email.
  • Thank you so much to you both.

    I am using a Mac, and the red bar opens as expected. However, when I select the item, it goes back to zotero. I followed the instruction, copying the text from the applescript, creating an application; I added it to the application folder, pointed zotero to use it as its reference manager, so not sure how it might have ended up not being installed correctly.
  • edited October 4, 2016
    Daniel, I don't know much about the Mac set up, but until someone else chips in, try this.

    First of all, if you are have both Zotero Standalone AND Zotero in Firefox, try removing the Better Bib(La)Tex plugin from one of your Zotero installations. I believe BBT can throw errors if two copies are running at the same time (the BBT experts will correct me if I am wrong).

    Once you have BBT installed in only one version of Zotero, make sure that version of Zotero is running. Then in a browser (e.g. Safari) open the following URL: http://localhost:23119/better-bibtex/cayw?probe=probe
    You should see the word 'ready' displayed in the browser. If you see something else, let us know. If you see 'ready', then read on.

    It seems from your comments that you are using the Scannable Cite format for your citation markers. Still in the browser, open this URL:
    You should see the red picker window appear. Select an item in the normal way. Normally the picker will disappear after you finish selecting the item, and you would then see some text in the browser window with your citation in Scannable Cite marker format (e.g. {|China Maritime Customs, 1903|p. 5||zg:1790983:8RBSR87F} ). If the picker greys out and appears to crash, then restart Zotero and try again.

    Let us know what you are seeing in the browser window and we can take it from there.
  • Thank you for the detailed reply. I use zotero standalone, and have the zotero addon installed on firefox but without the plugin there.

    I followed the first URL and everything was fine.

    When I followed the second URL, everything went well until I clicked enter. Then it automatically went from my browser to Zotero. When I returned to my browser, and clicked on the tab with that url, it had the correct citation there though.

    That is a similar situation to what happens in Scrivener I think. I click enter and it goes to Zotero instead of adding the text to Scrivener.
  • edited October 3, 2016
    @emmareisz is correct that having BBT running multiple times is unsupported; the current BBT version sort of tries to deal with this combo (which is called connector mode in Zotero lingo), but it's not particularly well-tested. She's also right about the procedure to test whether the BBT part works.
  • edited October 3, 2016
    @danieljrs that switching to Zotero is a side effect I can't fully suppress; the editor who's calling the picker must either force itself back into focus, or you can add "&minimize=true" to the URL, but the fact that the reference showed up in your browser means that the BBT side functions as it should.
  • edited October 4, 2016
    @danieljrs Try replacing the current applescript with this.

    It's identical to the usual one, but with the changed URL suggested by @emilianoeheyns. I'm not very hopeful - the script normally handles foregrounding windows so I'm not sure why it's failing for you - but it's worth a try.

    What version of OS X/macOS are you running?
  • Minimizing shouldn't be necessary for that script, right? The script pushes whatever-had-focus back to the front after the pick. Minimizing will only move Zotero out of the way, it will not likely help with pasting in the reference because of OSXs strange focus handling.

    Can the script output somewhere what app it thinks is in front and what text is being pasted, just so we know it's active? I don't know AppleScript (and even though I do have an OSX system, not actively looking to get acquainted -- what a klunky, ugly language AppleScript is. Makes my skin crawl. Of the million ready-to-embed languages they could have used for free, *this* is what their engineers came up with? Oy.)
  • edited October 4, 2016
    Absolutely it shouldn't be necessary. Naturally the URL change won't help if this is failing, but I thought it was worth eliminating the possibility that Zotero is independently coming foremost after that line and before this one.

    Presumably the script is active since it's calling the picker.
  • edited October 4, 2016
    Debugging AppleScript is notorious, hence this rather kludgy suggestion!...

    Should we continue this on github?
  • OK with that if @danieljrs is -- not much use if he isn't in on the discussion.
  • I am on a very steep learning curve here - trying to make zotero work with Scrivener on a Mac and have wound up here having struggled to follow

    I keep stumbling at the 'Install Add-On from File' step - I have downloaded RTF/ODF-Scan for Zotero but in Zotero standalone when I click Tools > Add Ons > Cogwheel > Install from file RTF/ODF-Scan it does not appear as an option. It is, however, listed as an add-on in my Firefox browster. I already have ZoteroLibreOffice Integration although there is a "warning" that "Zotero LibreOffice Integration could not be verified for use".

    Maybe I jumped the gun, because I manually downloaded scannable cite, as per the instructions on this thread, and it is now listed as an output option. However RTF/ODF-Scan is still not in my Add-Ons. Can anyone help?

    Many thanks in advance.
  • When you download RTF/ODF-Scan from
    it will be in your Downloads folder.
    To "install from file" you may need to navigate to your Downloads folder to choose zotero-odf-scan-v1.0.33-fx.xpi
    Occasionally, Finder in Mac does not appear to update the contents of a folder. You could try using the Relaunch Finder option in "Force Quit" (top left apple symbol menu) if this happens to you. Restarting zotero may also be necessary.
  • Hi ! Maybe this could help you. Its a way (on mac) to use the Zotero reference prompt inside Scrivener.
  • Hi,
    Is there a way to get the Zotero picker (the red bar) working with Zotero 5? Zotpick works with BBT which isn't working in Z5. Is there an alternative?
  • At this time, no, sorry.
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