Everything about note management. All in Zotero.
Better Notes Handbook (out dated, for version<=0.8.9): 中文 (provide translation)
🧐 What is this?
Better Notes (BN) is a plugin for Zotero.
BN streamlines your workflows of:
- paper reading
- note taking
- metadata analyzing
- knowledge exporting
- AI writing assistant
- works out of the box
- highly customizable
- all in Zotero
🤔 What can it do?
- Download the latest release (.xpi file) from the Releases PageNote If you’re using Firefox as your browser, right-click the
.xpiand select “Save As..”
- In Zotero click
Toolsin the top menu bar and then click
- Go to the Extensions page and then click the gear icon in the top right.
Install Add-on from file.
- Browse to where you downloaded the
.xpifile and select it.
😎 Quick start
BN offers a range of features that can be combined like lego blocks to build your own note-taking workflow.
Start taking notes in Zotero with BN in 5 minutes!
Getting Started with the Workspace
The workspace serves as the central hub where input flows (papers and annotations) converge with output flows (summaries and comparisons).
The workspace contains a default note called the workspace note. You can create a new note as the workspace note if prompted on opening workspace.
💡How to set an existing note as the workspace note?
- In the library: select a note item and right-click
- In the note editor: click on the tools button
You can change the workspace note at any time.
The workspace allows you to take notes and write, just like you would in MS Word or a markdown editor (e.g., Obsidian).
Explore the Workspace!
💡The layout from left to right is:
- Workspace note editor (main editor)
- Note link preview (hidden by default)
- Reader notes pane (hidden by default)
💡To toggle these panes, hover the workspace tab and click corresponding buttons.
💡To open the workspace in a new window, drag the workspace tab.
The workspace includes the note editor for the workspace note. You can use it to take notes and write summaries.
💡How to open note editor?
- In the library: click to open a note editor and double-click to open note editor in a standalone window.
- In the PDF reader: right-side bar
💡How to create a new note?
Click the note icon in the library tools bar (the row under the tabs bar).
Still spending a lot of time writing summaries or doing copy-pasting while taking notes? Say hello to Note Template!
Note Template is designed for tasks like:
- Summarize metadata and annotations from multiple papers, with customized filters
- Compare papers across sections
- Generate content programmatically
💡Need help or looking for community templates?See here →
💡Want to write/share your own templates?
With BN, you can integrate your note-taking into your existing workflow seamlessly. If you use markdown editors like Obsidian, you can keep your notes in sync with external Markdown files easily.
To set up auto-sync, click
Set Auto-Sync the first time you export your note. There is no need for any third-party tools or complicated setups!
Any changes made to your note or its corresponding Markdown file will be automatically synced. This feature makes it easy to keep all of your notes up to date and in one place.
💡Note: The note being edited will be synced after the editor is closed.
BN offers various options to export your notes, giving you the flexibility to choose the format that suits your needs.
You can export your note to the following formats:
- A new note in Zotero
- Markdown file (embedded or linked, with images)
- MS Word document (.docx)
- PDF document (.pdf)
- FreeMind file (.mm)
Simply click on the corresponding export button in the toolbar and follow the prompts.
The Zotero-GPT plugin provides GPT Integration. If you also have Better Notes installed, you can wake up GPT pane in the workspace note editor with
- Ask GPT questions about current note
- Summarize/fix spelling and grammar/translate/polish the selection
- Accept suggestions/modifications from GPT with
- Quick Note: convert annotation to note with one click.
- Resize images with right-click menu.
- Preview images with double-click/ctrl-click.
BN provides APIs for other plugin developers in
workspace: Workspace APIs
sync: Syncing APIs
convert: Lossless conversion between note, HTML, Markdown, note link, and annotation
template: Manipulate note templates
$export: Export note
$import: Import note
editor: Note editor APIs. Give your script the full control of contents in the note editor.
This plugin is built based on the Zotero Plugin Template. See the setup and debug details there.
To startup, run
git clone https://github.com/windingwind/zotero-better-notes.git
npm run build
The plugin is built to
Use this code under AGPL. No warranties are provided. Keep the laws of your locality in mind!
🔎 My Zotero Plugins
- zotero-pdf-translate: PDF translation for Zotero
- zotero-pdf-preview: PDF preview for Zotero
- zotero-tag: Automatically tag items/Batch tagging
💰 Sponsor Me
I’m windingwind, an active Zotero(https://www.zotero.org) plugin developer. Devoting to making reading papers easier.
Sponsor me to buy a cup of coffee. I spend more than 24 hours every week coding, debugging, and replying to issues in my plugin repositories. The plugins are open-source and totally free.
If you sponsor more than $10 a month, you can list your name/logo here and have priority for feature requests/bug fixes!
If you want to leave your name here, please email me or leave a message with the donation.