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Alfred workflow for rapidly searching your Zotero database and copying citations.


  • Perform full-text search across your Zotero database, including only searching specific fields
  • Copy citations using any CSL style you have installed in Zotero
  • Copy citations either in citation/note style or bibliography style
  • Copy citations in any locale supported by CSL
  • Copy Better BibTeX citekeys
  • Citations are copied in multiple formats, so the right data are automatically pasted into the application you're using
  • Trigger search while you type using the Snippet Trigger (you must assign the snippet keyword yourself in Alfred Preferences)

Download & installation

Download the ZotHero-XYZ.alfredworkflow file from GitHub releases, and double-click the downloaded file to install.

Note: Versions 1.3.0 and later are only compatible with Alfred 4+. If you're still using Alfred 3, download v1.2.2.


These are the workflow's default keywords in Alfred:

  • zot <query> — Search your Zotero database (common fields).

    • — Open the entry in Zotero. (fn+↩ is an alternate)
    • ⌘↩ — Copy citation to the pasteboard (see Configuration).
    • ⌥↩ — Copy bibliography-style citation to the pasteboard (see Configuration).
    • ⇧↩ — View entry attachments (if present).
      • — Open an attachment in the default application.
    • ^↩ — View all citation styles.
      • or ⌘↩ — Copy citation in selected style.
      • ⌥↩ — Copy bibliography-style citation in selected style.
      • ^↩ — Set style as default.
    • This search can also be triggered by typing a snippet (which you must first assign yourself in Alfred Preferences)
    • When the Better-Bibtex plugin for Zotero is installed and COPY_CITEKEY_MOD is set to any of -(no modifier), alt, ctrl, cmd, fn, shift, the "Copy citekey" functionality can be enabled to override above operations
  • zot:[<query>] — Search a specific field.

    • — Select a field to search against.
  • zotconf [<query>] — View and edit workflow configuration.

    • An Update is Available / Workflow is Up To Date — Whether a newer version of the workflow is available.
    • Default Style: … — Choose a citation style for the ⌘↩ and ⌥↩ hotkeys (on search results).
    • Locale: … — Choose a locale for the formatting of citations. If unset, the default for the style is used, or if none is set, US English.
    • Reload Zotero Cache — Clear the workflow's cache of Zotero data. Useful if the workflow gets out of sync with Zotero.
    • Open Log File — Open the workflows log file in the default app (usually Useful for checking on indexing problems (the indexer output isn't visible in Alfred's debugger).
    • View Documentation — Open this README in your browser.
    • Report an Issue — Open the GitHub issue tracker in your browser.

Pasting citations

When you copy a citation, ZotHero puts both HTML and rich text (RTF) representations on the pasteboard. That way, when you paste a citation into an application like Word, the formatted text will be pasted, but when you paste into a text/Markdown document, the HTML will be pasted.


The workflow reads Zotero's own config files and partly manages its own configuration with the keyword zotconf, but you may need to use the workflow configuration sheet if the workflow can't read Zotero's config files.

NOTE: Unlike its main database, Zotero does not save changes to its configuration until the application closes. As such, if you change Zotero's data or attachment directories, the workflow won't see the changes until you quit Zotero.

Zotero data

The workflow uses your Zotero database and styles, therefore it needs to know where to find them. The workflow tries to read Zotero's own configuration files, and falls back to ~/Zotero (the default location for Zotero 5).

If the workflow can't find your data, you need to set ZOTERO_DIR in the workflow configuration sheet.

Similarly, if you have set a "Linked Attachment Base Directory" in Zotero, but the workflow can't find the directory, enter its path for ATTACHMENTS_DIR in the configuration sheet.

Note: You can use the UNIX shortcut ~ to represent your home directory, e.g. ~/Zotero for Zotero 5's default directory.

Citation styles

The workflow uses the CSL styles you have installed in Zotero, so to add a new style, simply add it in Zotero. The workflow will pick up the new style(s) on the next run.

You can copy either a citation-/note-style citation or a bibliography-style one by hitting ⌘↩ or ⌥↩ respectively on a search result or citation style.

For ⌘↩ and ⌥↩ to work on search results, you must first choose a default style. You can either do this in the configuration screen (keyword zotconf), or hitting ^↩ on a search result to show all citation styles, then ^↩ on a style to set that as the default.


CSL and ZotHero support the following locales. The default behaviour is to use the locale specified in the style if there is one, and en-US (American English) if not. Setting a locale overrides the style's own locale.

Use the zotconf keyword to force a specific locale.

Locale Code
Afrikaans af-ZA
Bahasa Indonesia / Indonesian id-ID
Català / Catalan ca-AD
Cymraeg / Welsh cy-GB
Dansk / Danish da-DK
Deutsch (Deutschland) / German (Germany) de-DE
Deutsch (Schweiz) / German (Switzerland) de-CH
Deutsch (Österreich) / German (Austria) de-AT
Eesti / Estonian et-EE
English (UK) en-GB
English (US) en-US
Español (Chile) / Spanish (Chile) es-CL
Español (España) / Spanish (Spain) es-ES
Español (México) / Spanish (Mexico) es-MX
Euskara / Basque eu
Français (Canada) / French (Canada) fr-CA
Français (France) / French (France) fr-FR
Hrvatski / Croatian hr-HR
Italiano / Italian it-IT
Latviešu / Latvian lv-LV
Lietuvių / Lithuanian lt-LT
Magyar / Hungarian hu-HU
Nederlands / Dutch nl-NL
Norsk bokmål / Norwegian (Bokmål) nb-NO
Norsk nynorsk / Norwegian (Nynorsk) nn-NO
Polski / Polish pl-PL
Português (Brasil) / Portuguese (Brazil) pt-BR
Português (Portugal) / Portuguese (Portugal) pt-PT
Română / Romanian ro-RO
Slovenčina / Slovak sk-SK
Slovenščina / Slovenian sl-SI
Suomi / Finnish fi-FI
Svenska / Swedish sv-SE
Tiếng Việt / Vietnamese vi-VN
Türkçe / Turkish tr-TR
Íslenska / Icelandic is-IS
Čeština / Czech cs-CZ
Ελληνικά / Greek el-GR
Български / Bulgarian bg-BG
Монгол / Mongolian mn-MN
Русский / Russian ru-RU
Српски / Srpski / Serbian sr-RS
Українська / Ukrainian uk-UA
עברית / Hebrew he-IL
العربية / Arabic ar
فارسی / Persian fa-IR
ไทย / Thai th-TH
ភាសាខ្មែរ / Khmer km-KH
中文 (中国大陆) / Chinese (PRC) zh-CN
中文 (台灣) / Chinese (Taiwan) zh-TW
日本語 / Japanese ja-JP
한국어 / Korean ko-KR

All settings

Theses are all settings available in the workflow configuration sheet.

You probably shouldn't edit the CITE_STYLE or LOCALE variables yourself, as there's no guarantee the value you set is actually available. Adjust them using the zotconf keyword.

Variable Meaning
ATTACHMENTS_DIR Path to your Zotero attachments. Read from Zotero's config by default.
CITE_STYLE Citation style copied by ⌘↩ and ⌥↩
LOCALE Locale for citations. Default: en-US (US English).
ZOTERO_DIR Path to your Zotero data. Read from Zotero's config by default.
COPY_CITEKEY_MOD Set to copy Better BibTeX citekey instead of CSL citation/bibliography.

Licence & thanks

This workflow is released under the MIT licence.

It is heavily based on Alfred-Workflow (also MIT) for the workflow stuff, and citeproc-js (AGPL) for generating the citations.

It was inspired by the now-defunct ZotQuery by @fractaledmind.

The Zorro icon was created by Dan Lowenstein from the Noun Project.