Adding a custom information field
April 30, 2021
First — kudos to everyone who contributes to Zotero. Y'all are heros!
I'd like to +1million upvote the feature request for custom fields.
I'm a PhD Candidate in Cognitive Science, and I've done extensive ethnography on scholarly information workflows. The #1 reason scholars cite for *not* using a reference manager is the inability to add custom fields to support their own idiosyncratic workflows. I was surprised, to be frank. Not tech-aversion or resistance to change, but simply lack of customization.
I understand that underlying data structure changes are beyond challenging. But tagging and the 'extra' column are not sufficient workarounds to support the delightfully diverse spectrum of scholarly workflows I've seen. This is a HUGE opportunity for Zotero to lead, because as of my last tech-comparison, no other reference manager does this either.
Three cheers for Zotero.
(and pls icanhaz custom flds?)
[note: I most commonly see the extra column used to store citation key: information for use in bibtex exports]
April 30, 2021
That specific field is already sort of a custom field; it's also shown on the top of the item even when it's not in the extra field, and it can be added to exports.
May 17, 2021
Can we add new column for country of the article since it is important when we doing systematic review
June 20, 2021
based on comments from
ZoteroPreview I hacked together a plugin that lets you display specific tags in a separate column. I'm using it to create a discrete number field like Calibre's 0~5 star rating field.
It doesn't substitute for true custom fields but you might be able to adapt it if you don't need a lot of customization.
Code and downloadable xpi is here:
I don't know my way around XUI code (nor did I enjoy it tbh) so this is plain old shortest path engineering. There are people who know better ways to do the same thing here but hope someone else finds this useful.
July 18, 2021
+1 for custom fields. I'm doing this using Evernote just now but it's clunky.
August 16, 2021
Yes. This is an absolute must. I am about to submit to a journal which requests DOIs, and is particularly fussy about these things. I think it would create a bad impression if DOIs were omitted for Books (which currently don't have a field in Zotero). I am having to add these all in by hand. I think allowing users the possibility of creating custom fields would not pose any usability issues for those who do not wish to use this feature, but will solve a lot of problems for those who do.
August 16, 2021
DOI can be added to the extra field
August 16, 2021
You can add DOI or any other valid CSL variable to Extra like this:
That will get picked up and included in citations. When all item types get proper DOI fields in a future update, data stored in Extra like this will be migrated automatically
October 10, 2021
edited October 10, 2021
In connection with the need for an arbitrary amount of user defined fields, it should also become possible to add line-break functionality to specfic or all fields in the browser.
October 17, 2021
November 27, 2021
December 24, 2021
I would like to add personal nicknames for items (just for myself)
And more importantly view these fields in the main table view.
It would also be very nice for these field to appear as regular fields…
December 28, 2021
Experimental, clunky, and what little I thought I knew about CSL was proven wrong in my first tests, but
adds CSL-powered custom columns to Zotero.
January 3, 2022
+1, having the option to add my own note (existing notes are useless for this purpose) that I can sort with would help a LOT. Currently I'm cheating by using a field that I won't ever need in citations (Loc. in Archive), but i wasn't able to find such field that spans through different formats (journal, book, presentation etc.)
January 14, 2022
I'd like to use the custom fields feature to note down the number of current quotations as I have to look it up right now allllll the time again and again for numerous papers and can not sort my papers according to their quotation count.
March 2, 2022
+1 for custom fields
April 14, 2022
edited April 15, 2022
another +1 for custom fields request with some more specifications below.
As far as I am concerned the proposition from notero would be a nice preview of the expected result. In particular, see there "advanced example" where one could edit a field-column for : "main idea; methods used ; data used ; relevance with my work ; etc. See
Also, and sorry if it's not nice to mention other service provider, citavi enables that feature to. You can export a nice csv table with whatever field you have edited.
Waiting for that feature (hopefully) a question for you:
is there a way to convert some html so that a csv reader (librecalc ; excel etc.) will split what is between certain tags in two columns? Let me explain. I thought to create a note for each custom field you want. Hoping that "something" will transform a note (one or more) in a table. Can services like obsidian does that? Maybe from #tags?
So far when I export it csv I have one note column with tags like [div data-schema-version="8"] ; [p and /p] ; and div.
Edit: yes you can split text in column with both gsheet or excel. Then you can clean the html tags with search and replace. You can also do it in reverse (clean html tags, then split text as column). Then you may want to put a tittle in the cell above you note (as you have split, you should have an empty cell above each split). I was looking for some formula for that, but maybe it is easier to do it manual.
So overall you can have a table (.csv) with each custom field matching your subordinated notes and matching one specific column in that same table. Which is great as we are waiting for the custom fields to be implemented. It means if I am not too wrong that one could use childnotes as a custom field in a table/csv usecase.
Problem that remains is to create child notes for each reference-item you want to comment. Here you could think of creating a dummy item with as childnote as custom field you want, then batch copy (as for batch tag edition). Zutilo could have done the job but it is only for moving items, not copying it. Maybe Zutilo editors could think of it (and please excuse me if I got it wrong) ?
May 12, 2022
Custom fields would be incredibly useful. Also, the ability to have custom fields be checkboxes (e.g. "Done"/"Read"/"Annotated") would be quite helpful as tags just don't really cut it for this purpose.
May 13, 2022
Colored tags, especially if you make them emoji like ✔️ really do accomplish the done/read/annotated purpose well. These appear next to the item title in the item list
May 19, 2022
I tried the colored emoji tag but it was a bit too subtle for me when scanning down the column.
It looks like in Zotero 6 it's become somewhat "easier" to stylize cell items. Here's an example after hacking it into the special tags addon:
The extra hackery required to get it working is a bit discomforting but... works for me.