[Better Notes for Zotero] A Knowledge Based Note Manager in Zotero

edited September 3, 2023
Hi everyone!!

Glad to announce to all of you that the v1.0.0 alpha is finally there! See https://github.com/windingwind/zotero-better-notes/releases/ for installation.

There have been very, very fundamental changes to this plugin. Most of the features we have in the previous versions are kept to the most.

Update highlights:

- You can now write note templates with Markdown and preview them in real time. However, due to API changes, most of the note templates may not work for the coming new version anymore. I sincerely wish to hear from you about feedback of the new note template system. For template authors, you may need to update your template.

- A new template picker (Shift+P)

- A group of APIs to manipulate notes. Insert, del, move, replace, etc. The will have long term support and you can using them to build note templates or plugins. See https://github.com/windingwind/zotero-better-notes/blob/z7-1.0.0a/src/api.ts

- UI updates of the workspace

- Can run on both Zotero 6 and Zotero 7

Please leave your feedback here: https://github.com/windingwind/zotero-better-notes/issues/345



Since we release v0.7.x with Zotero v0.6.14+, we have a lot of updates:

New features:
- OCR math from image annotations;
- Export mindmap to FreeMind(mm) or SVG;
- Export note to MS Word(docx);
- Preview images in the note with dblclick/ctrl+click and zoom/switch images.
- Resize images in notes;

- Switch between recently used main notes;
- Get note links/preview notes from note editor->topright ... button;
- Insert template/copy note links from the right-click menu;
- Tons of bug fixes.

- LaTex support
- Template type [Note], as it's not popular with users and can be replaced by the template [Item].
- Copy image annotations

And glad to announce that we have new documentation in English, replacing the old, outdated one! The EN version of the documentation is here: https://github.com/windingwind/zotero-better-notes/wiki

Thank you all users!


The v0.6.x supports more markdown exports! Batch export, highlights, conversions and more templates!

Friendly with 3rd party editors, like Obsidian, Typora, … A Zotero-side integration solution!

A brand new sync manager to manage note syncings. Automatically update the markdown files when the note is modified!


The v0.5.11 supports the new feature of exporting notes to pdf.
No more note2markdown2pdf workflow!


The v0.5.x now supports opening workspace as a Zotero tab.
After restarting Zotero, the workspace tab will also be restored, just like the reader tabs.

There are more new features that may interest you:
- Export standalone/item notes to markdown in batch;
- Besides embedding linked notes, you can now export them to independent markdown files;
- New template for the export file name.


The v0.4.x supports LaTex math in the note.

We also make some big updates to export markdown in a more safe & standard way.


The update v0.3 supports the note template.

Thanks to Zotero's search & tag functions, you can easily filter items/notes and insert them into the main note with your programmable template!

See here for more: https://github.com/windingwind/zotero-better-notes/issues/23


The Knowledge4Zotero is renamed to Zotero Better Notes to show its features more clearly.


Hi everyone,

I'm glad to share with you that the Zotero Better Notes addon is released! This will be a great improvement to the Zotero Note ecosystem.

It brings a full knowledge management workflow to Zotero.

The homepage is here: https://github.com/windingwind/zotero-better-notes

A 30s video about the best note practice(no sound):


- Note as you go. Open note links as your will;

- Quick link from note/annotation with just a click;

- Foward-link to sub-notes and back-link to PDF attachments;

- Export your knowledge including linked sub-notes in MarkDown/rich-text format.

Zotero Better Notes realized Citavi's knowledge management workflow in Zotero.

New to Zotero Better Notes? We have a user guide wizard for first-run users. Documentations are available on GitHub as well.

Thanks to all test users! Thanks all Zotero developers!

Download link: https://github.com/windingwind/zotero-better-notes/releases
  • Test is easy: just give some feedback and report bugs. I think it will be a perfect tool if you are used to note something when reading papers, or are using note manage tools like Obsidian.
  • Thank you all testers, the addon will be officially released soon.

    The update v0.0.2 added the mind map feature. You can now view your note outline, link, and attachments in a mind map.
  • Obsidian user here. Looking forward to trying your addon! :)
  • The addon is officially released now!
  • Export note to markdown with images is supported in the latest version v0.1.1
  • Hi! I've had a look at this new Zotero plugin and it looks very promising. I've been searching for something like this for a long time, and I'm very happy to see this becoming a reality.
    My main use case would be to create outlines for writing academic papers, etc. For this, being able to promote and demote headings, and in general move stuff around by dragging and dropping headings and chunks of text, is essential. Right now it is possible to do this in outline view, but it's a bit clunky.
    It'd be very nice to have some kind of visual clue of where things are gonna fall when dragging and dropping. The new zotero note editor does it very well (although it lacks the outline mode that your plugin introduces).
    Could you improve this? Thank you!
    BTW, I'd like to make a donation to kelp make this project sustainable. Is this possible? :)
  • Highlights
    + Add note/pdf annotation to knowledge outline
    + Back-link to PDF attachments from your note
    + Export your knowledge notes in markdown/rich-text format

    People who had used the Citavi should not forget the knowledge management panel. Now, Zotero can do that thing (manage your notes and back to pdf) simply with this addon. As a result, I think this addon is going to change your workflow in Zotero.

    Thanks for the developer "windingwind" made this wonderful addon.
  • @vjjaimez
    Thanks for your like!

    A UI improvement of drag-drop in outline is planned. I'll let you know once it's ready.

    Currently only I developed this addon(though many kind people helped with other issues like the test) and seem like it will also be me myself to maintain it in the future.

    Personally speaking, a sponsor is not that urgent: it makes me feel stressed/guilty if I fail to fix the bug or respond to your need as soon as possible. Unless the donation allows me to hire a team to do the maintenance. LOL. Just joking.

    Anyway, sponsor or not I'll keep maintaining this addon for months until no one like it or use it anymore. Don't worry about that.
  • @hsiangyu_wong
    Unfortunately, I don't have enough money to pay a whole team. I wish! LOL
    Thank you for your work, anyways. I think this has the potential to improve my workflow and that of many people.
  • @vjjaimez
    The drag/drop in note outline tree view is supported in v0.1.3
  • This is marvellous, supporting note export to markdown, word and onenote. Great add-on, hope your further maintenance to improve!
  • @hsiangyu_wong
    Drag and drop is now much better! Thank you so much!
    In this version, promoting and demoting headlines in outline view don't seem to work yet. I guess this is planned for a later version, am I right? (no need to rush, just asking)
  • @vjjaimez
    Will support.
    Actually, I'm planning to place these buttons in another place.
    The left sidebar is a little crowded. Any suggestions on where to place new buttons, like 'update note link text' and 'open/save note template'?

    Maybe a menu list on the top of the window?
  • @hsiangyu_wong
    Yeah, definitely not in the lower part of the left sidebar. It'd be too crowded. A menu at the top might be a good solution
  • edited May 13, 2022
    Hi, could you please help me add this addon to the Zotero plugin page? Just like my PDF Translate plugin.

    The homepage is https://github.com/windingwind/zotero-better-notes

    I guess maybe it could be filed to the Word Processor and Writing Integration > LaTeX, TeX, and Text Editors, or New Features and Enhancements > Interface Tools, considering its' knowledge workspace window & note link enhancement?

    Thanks a lot!
  • edited May 22, 2022
    The update v0.3 supports the note template.

    Thanks to Zotero's search & tag functions, you can easily filter items/notes and insert them into the main note with your programmable template!

    We provide several templates for importing metadata/note links in the document.

    Welcome to contribute your template!

    See here for more: https://github.com/windingwind/zotero-better-notes/issues/23
  • @dstillman

    Sorry to bother you once more. I wonder if it is possible to add this addon to Zotero's official plugin page(https://www.zotero.org/support/plugins) and if not, would you mind giving me some hint?

    The Zotero Better Notes provides mature card-writing support and is welcomed by many users. The official plugin page is one of the most important places for users to search for an addon that fits their needs.

    I hope those who need note enhancement can find the addon easily! Thank you very much.
  • @hsiangyu_wong
    This is looking better and better with every release. The import note feature is really good. Thanks!
    One feature I'd like to see is full interconnectivity between notes, with automatic links back and forth between them. For instance, let's say I import a regular note into my main note. I'd like to see some kind of reference text or link in the regular note such as "this note has been linked to note X". This way I could go back and forth between my notes. Kind of what zotero does with related items by default.
  • @vjjaimez
    It's a planned feature. Maybe there will be a template to make users decide what to be inserted into the sub-note.

    The biggest worry is that when users delete a link we'll never know. In this case, the link relation may be strange?
  • I've added it to the plugins page.
  • Thank you @dstillman! Have a nice day ^V^
  • edited June 10, 2022
    The better notes addon now supports opening workspace as a Zotero tab.
    After restarting Zotero, the workspace tab will also be restored, just like the reader tabs.

    There are more new features that may interest you:
    - Export standalone/item notes to markdown in batch;
    - Besides embedding linked notes, you can now export them to independent markdown files;
    - New template for the export file name.
  • @hsiangyu_wong

    I am new to zotero and I currently try to set it up, so it fit my needs.
    First and foremost a big thank you for developing this useful plug in.
    I followed your instruction on github and everything works perfectly besides "3.4 Import Linked Note".

    I don't know what I am doing wrong but as soon as I use the feature it mess up the main note. Basically what happens, as soon as I imported the linked note, first the linked note appears underneath the link with a single vertical blue line on the left (which is what i expect) then it copies the existing part of the main note and nests the copy inside the linked note so that there are two parallel vertical blue lines. I've already deinstalled and installed the plugin but the issue still exists.
  • @_yncko_
    Sorry, this is a known issue caused by the backlink & insert link template in v0.5.6 & v0.5.7.
    Please update to the latest version. The template will be corrected automatically and new linked notes will be imported correctly.

    For existing linked notes that are created with addon v0.5.6 & v0.5.7, please check the 'Referred in xxx' link at the end of linked sub notes and add a '?ignore=1' to the link.

    See this issue: https://github.com/windingwind/zotero-better-notes/issues/60
  • @vjjaimez
    The backlink function is available now!
    When you insert a sub-note link to the main note, a new line will be appended to the end of the sub-note. By default, it's 'Referred in xxx(main note link)'.
    You can edit the 'QuickBackLink' template to make it anything.
  • Hi, having used Zotero for quite some time I'm getting up to speed with how to integrate it with Logseq. I've added ZotFile to move attachments, and also BetterBibTex in Zotero. I haven't installed Logseq yet, though.

    My question is, how does [Zotero Better Notes] integrate with what I have already installed? Would it replace BetterBibTex or supplement it?
  • edited August 2, 2022
    Hi, thanks for your like.
    This plugin mainly aims to bring a complete note workflow inside Zotero, from reading to annotating, collecting annotations, taking notes, linking to manage notes, and export. You could use it as a note manager&editor the same as Obsidian or Logseq.

    For users who want to just collect information in Zotero and export to 3rd-party editors later, this plugin provides a Zotero-side solution. Currently there are two types of solutions to this job:
    1. 3rd-party editor based solutions. Logseq provides a built-in Zotero integration and Obsidian has several plugins to cite or import data from Zotero.
    2. Zotero-based solutions. The format, export, syncing, and templates are defined with this plugin and done in Zotero, do not depend on any other plugins or tools.

    I develop this plugin to make ‘taking notes’ more convenient. No complex setup, do not rely on other applications or plugins. So actually there might not be any ‘integrate’ concerns. Users only need to care about taking notes and export them by just one click when the notes are ready. Even if you want to migrate to another editor or do not want to use any editor, there are no extra work needed.

    And this plugin does not rely on or try to replace BBT(Better BibTex). I use them both.

  • Thanks for your detailed reply.

    That looks really interesting, as a standalone alternative to Logseq.

    I've struggled to get it working, as I can't open the Preview pane, and there is no option under File to 'Import note'.

    I'll probably try again later to see if I can make progress with it.
  • Dear hsiangyu_wong
    Thanks for this great add-on and all your other excellent add-ons.

    Excuse me if I missed something, but:

    1- is it possible to have an option similar to :
    [Item] collect annotations by color
    to collect annotations by tags?

    2-Is it possible to define specific tags to import from many selected pdfs?

    3-And can the user choose if this can be applied to annotations (on the left pane) or ? and notes (on the right pane) ?

    Sorry again if the ideas are not clear but I basically ask if there is any easy way possible to use tags as parameters to import notes?

    Thank you again for all your great efforts

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