hierarchical tagging system?

Hi everyone,
I was wondering, whether it'd be possible to organise tags hierarchically: So, I have a lot of papers discussing geographical areas and I tag them as belonging to geographical areas on different levels. I would like to be able to have higher-level-tags automatically added. So, if I've got something on "Central France", it will be automatically tagged as "France" and "Western Europe" and "Europe" as well.
I thought a feature that allows me to develop such hierarchies would be amazing!
Or is there alread a way I missed?
Thanks in advance!
  • I agree, I would love this feature. In my view, tags should work like MeSH terms, where there is nesting within vertical hierarchies, but also crossover between horizontal hierarchical trees -- i.e. so that a tag can be in two hierarchies simultaneously. Of course, this would just be user-created tags, not automated tags. The no-longer-supported Sente had implemented this vertical hierarchical structure for tagging, and I think it worked very well overall -- I had used it for years as the primary mechanism for organizing a large library without needing Collections at all.
  • There's been a lot of discussion of this over the last five years, but no sign of progress or ways to do it. It would be great.
  • I agree. For multidisciplinary scientific fields especially, nested or hierarchical tagging would be great. You should be able to choose what parent tags are attached to each lower level tag. This would be a really great feature.
  • I second this request!
  • Hello.
    My request also points to the need to organize tags. Just the ability to group would be extremely helpful. Having only one (increasingly huge) set of tags for a library is messy, especially when working on different projects/papers. The tag-group function could be made analogous to the already existing "group" of automated tags (can be shown / hidden / deleted). Important: Several libraries = NOT helpful (because it requires a multiplication of items!). Woud be a huge improvement!
    Thank you.
  • edited April 6, 2023
    Hi all. I just found this plugin that allows hierarchical tags


    For a tag to show up with the plugin it must start with a # and the subcategory must start with a forward slash (/) in the format of:

    For example:

    "#Catergory /subcategory"
    "#Method /Longitudinal"
    "#Method /cross-sectional"

    The plugin also allows tags to show up in the table of references.

    Note: You can configure the plugin so the tag doesn't have to start with #. To do this you need to edit the "#Tag" column in the reference table and remove or change the #.
  • seems Zotero already supports hierarchical tags, right? I'm not sure what is the advantage of the said plugin? @jazow
  • I don't think Zotero already supports hierarchical tags; what do you mean by that?
  • I mean we can use things like this as tags "research/topic1", even though when we want to add this tag to other items, we have to type starting from "r", typing "t" won't let it show up
  • Oh, right. I get you. Yes, so what this plugin adds is that it displays these nested tags in a hierarchical way. This is much more user-friendly IMO.


    It also allows the tags to show up in the reference table:


    The plug feature lots of other cool things too. See: https://github.com/MuiseDestiny/zotero-style
  • Oh I see, it is indeed quite useful to display them in a hierarchical way. Thanks for the information

    However, it seems that when one adds a tag in a specific note or comment of a pdf, we still have to type starting from "r". I have just made a request to improve the way of adding/displaying tags; hope that these can be supported by Zotero natively.
  • My pleasure!
  • @jazow How do you activate the nested tag view? I haven't found an option to enable it, and it is not there by default?
  • This plug in looks cool, but I have no idea how to install it. The github site does not contain any instructions. There does not seem to be a Zotero installation file, which ends with the extension .xpi.
  • Release XPIs are on the Releases page. ;)
    BTW Chrome's right click Translate to English (or your preferred language) works well if you need it.
  • edited May 19, 2023
    @jazow This add-on is simply amazing, I am so excited that I found this! Are you (affiliated with) the creator?
    I have a couple of small questions that you might have an answer to. First, is there a way to only display the tags present in the current selection, like in Zotero? It seems like the add-on greys out any tags that are not present in the selection, but it doesn't remove them. It would be nice if this could be toggled to completely hide those unused tags.

    Second question: Is there a way to adjust the line height/margins and font size of the new tag selector view? I really like that it shows every tag on a new line, in contrast to default Zotero. But it would be even more useful if I make the line height and also the font size smaller so that I can see more tags at once.

    Third question: The new tag selector view does not color the tags the same way as the default Zotero one. Is there a way to enable this?

    If it would be more appropriate to post those questions on GitHub, let me know!

    @ingmar93 After you installed the add-on you can use nested tags with a forward slash /. For for example.
    Note that by default, you need to prefix all tags with a hash #, otherwise they won't show up. If you don't want this, you can right click the column header in the viewer pane, add the "#Tags" column, then right click the "#Tags" column and go to Column settings. There, you just delete the # in the Match field. After doing this, all your tags will show up in the new tag selector, regardless of whether they are prefixed with #.
  • @G-Radiation Thanks for the explanation, but I don't see what the column changes in relation to nested tags?

    You can make nested tags that include slashes without the Zotero Style plugin. Zotero will just consider them as individual tags, and won't display them nested in the tag selector. But neither does the #Tags column from Zotero Style, which you mention?

    And by the way, the column is not a tag selector – you can't select tags there.

    I did eventually find that Zotero Style provides a button for the bottom left tag selector that switches to the nested tag view. I had missed that button.
  • Interesting discussion here, although I don't find quite what I am looking for. I am thinking about writing some simple queries for tag management, comments welcome here: https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/111590/simple-tag-management-queries
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