Android app that imports what Zotero exports

I don't know if this is the right category for this post, but here it goes.

I have a rather large library (> 2.5 GB) and I don't use Zotero Sync. Instead, I decided to use MEGA (a competitor of Dropbox) to backup my database directory.

I have a Samsung Galaxy Tab which I'd like to use to access my documents. MEGA for Android doesn't download and sync my database directory, and even if it did, there is no Android app that just lets me point to it and access it in a user-friendly way, like Zotero does.

So I copied my PDF files to my tablet, but I can't find an app that categorizes them accordingly. Most apps just show the first page of the PDF and you have to know which is which only with that information, when in my case, they are most articles whose first page look all alike. I also can't search by their metadata, only by their file name.

I was hoping if anyone knows an app that is able to import my library (PDF files included). Zotero exports it in many formats, so I am hoping a compatible app exists. Google Play Store is flooded with ebook readers, but they aren't quite reference managers.
  • I use Zotfile to export the library automatically from Zotero as a bibtex file and then the reference manager Erathosthenes on the Android to import that bibtex file.

    I also synchronise the storage directory with the Android tablet.

    The bibtex file contains links to the PDFs which Erathosthenes can interpret, but you have to run it through a simple script first to change the path names.

    Afterwards you can work in Erathosthenes which shows title, authors, abstracts etc and lets you search for papers, and click on the link to open the pdf. Erathosthenes also handles the Zotfile tags and groups.

    You may have to experiment a bit with the correct export settings in Zoitfile and import settings in Erathosthenes, but once you got it, it works nicely.
  • I've just installed Zotfile. It allows me to rename all my PDF files at once just by selecting all parent items. Zotero by itself only renames PDF if you select the PDF inside the parent item. With all my PDF files renamed in a standard way, I am able to search my PDF directory in an easier way.

    As a side note, Adobe Acrobat Reader (an obvious choice for a PDF reader which I had not thought of before) is able to search for substrings in the file name, which helps a lot.

    I think I've found a combination of apps that I'm comfortable with now, but if anyone has any suggestion, feel free to contribute. Thanks again.
  • edited May 21, 2016
    I use Referey, a fantastic Android app. Referey works with Mendeley dbs, but I have some code to convert my Zotero db to the format that Referey requires; I have a setup where any change in the Zotero db triggers the creation of the Referey-compatible db (which is then automagically synced to the tablet). In fact, I think my use case is fairly similar to what I understand is yours: I sync my db and my PDFs while online, and then I have my complete collection on my tablet. Code and explanations here:

    Note, though, that this uses R, the setup might not be fully trivial, and I've only tested in Linux (it will probably require adaptations for Win/Mac).

    I used to use Erathostenes, but it is extremely slow with moderate (say > 3000 entries) libraries, and you cannot see the complete hierarchy of your collections.

    Note that the code of Referey is now free software (, so someone might be able to write an app adapting Referey to directly accept Zotero dbs.

    By the way, there have been somewhat related discussions at and
  • Thanks so much for that rdiaz02!

    I'm in a similar situation to you, wanting to store my pdfs etc. for offline access and have tried all the available android apps in vain.

    At the moment i sync all my pdfs over nightly, but have not found a decent way to access them from my android devices; it's very frustrating! I'm going to have a go at following your instructions at github to see if i can set it up. However, despite being a linux user for nearly 10 years i'm useless at editing and running scripts, and don't properly understand how to create symbolic links etc. and organise my zotero folder, so wish me luck....

    If there was some way of designing a simple android/linux app or process to do it all for me i'd pay upwards of a tenner for it!
  • @rdiaz02 hello, folowing your advices I just intalled Referey on a tab s2 with android 6 and no menu appears. It is asking to enter a database in preferences but I couldn't find any way to access the preference menu. Is there a preference file I could edit manually, and if yes would you know its location In android, please?
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