Table of Contents

We’re in the process of updating the documentation for Zotero 5.0. Some documentation may be outdated in the meantime. Thanks for your understanding.

These instructions relate to issues with Zotero OpenOffice Integration 3.0 and 3.1. Zotero OpenOffice Integration 3.5 is now available for Zotero 2.1 users. This new plugin fixes the vast majority of issues users previously experienced with Zotero OpenOffice Integration 3.0 and 3.1.

All Platforms

OpenOffice component loading error

“Zotero OpenOffice Integration was successfully installed, but it could not be initialized.”

“Firefox could not load the component required to communicate with your word processor.”

This error is usually caused by a non-functioning Java installation. You can check if Java is working here or here. If the applets on these sites fail to display, you'll need to get Java working before Zotero OpenOffice Integration can function. You should ensure that Java is enabled in the “Content” pane of the Firefox preferences. Windows users might also want to try reinstalling Java. Linux users should follow these instructions.

Mac OS X

Plugin crashes Firefox after installation

Java issues can sometimes cause the OpenOffice plugin to crash Firefox on startup on OS X when Java extensions have been installed into ~/Library/Java/Extensions or /Library/Java/Extensions. This issue is not Zotero-specific and applies to Java applets as well. The only known solution is to remove the problematic extension. Users without other Java applications installed may safely clear the contents of these two directories. See this thread on the Mozilla forum for more details.


Communication error

“Word could not communicate with Zotero. Please ensure Firefox is running and try again.”

  1. If you use ZoneAlarm, disable ForceField, which is known to cause a communication error.
  2. Windows plugins communicate with Firefox using the remote window. Thus, launching Firefox with the -no-remote command-line option will prevent the plugins from functioning. (You might do this if you have multiple Firefox profiles.) The solution is to remove the -no-remote command-line option from the shortcut used to launch the Firefox profile on which Zotero is installed. As long as all other profiles use the -no-remote option, you should be able to open them and the Zotero profile simultaneously.


OpenOffice plugin directory paths

During initial installation, or after triggering the “Reinstall OpenOffice Components” command as above, you see a select folder dialog with the title:

“Select the OpenOffice installation directory”

This directory typically contains a “basis-link” directory and/or a “program” directory. By default, the installer looks in the following locations:


On many distributions, you can type “locate soffice” at the terminal to find the soffice executable, which is usually located inside the “program” directory in the installation directory. If the locate command does not work, try “find / -name soffice 2>/dev/null”, although this will take significantly longer to execute.

If you see a select folder dialog with the title:

“Select the directory containing the soffice executable”

then you can follow the instructions immediately above to find the soffice executable.

If you see a select folder dialog with the title:

“Select the directory containing the URE JAR files”

then you can use “locate ridl.jar” or “find / -name ridl.jar 2>/dev/null” to find the ridl.jar file. Select the parent directory in the dialog.

You may also specify these paths in the Preferences window for the Zotero OpenOffice Integration extension, but they must contain a trailing slash.

Component Loading Error

Under some circumstances, you may see the following error when starting Firefox:

“Firefox could not load the component required to communicate with your word processor. Please ensure that the appropriate Firefox extension is installed, and then try again.”

Java version

To fix this error, you may need to switch Java versions. The Zotero plugin for OpenOffice requires the original Java by Sun (sun-java6) to be installed and selected as the default plugin. Unfortunately, the IcedTea plugin, which ships as the default in most Linux distributions, does not support Zotero. See this bug for further details.

In Ubuntu Linux, since version 10.04, that Java is in the “partner” repository, so first you need to add the partner repository:

sudo add-apt-repository "deb lucid partner"

(You can also do that using the “software sources” under System→Administration.)

Next, update your package information and install sun-java:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install sun-java6-plugin sun-java6-jre

(Once again you can do the same using System–>Administration–>Synaptics Package Manager.)

Finally, you need to set sun-java as the default plugin:

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-sun/jre/lib/i386/ /usr/lib/mozilla/plugins/

or by using

sudo update-alternatives --config

choosing the sun-java from the list.

In Arch Linux, you just do

sudo pacman -S jre

and say yes to replacing openjdk with jre.

Instructions for Fedora Linux are available on this external site.


This error can also be caused by AppArmor, so you may want to try disabling AppArmor or simply disabling the AppArmor Firefox profile:

sudo aa-complain /etc/apparmor.d/usr.bin.firefox

Enter your admin password when prompted.