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 Some documentation may be outdated in the meantime.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.

Hidden Preferences

You can edit most Zotero preferences through the Preferences window in Zotero or the Preferences pane in the Zotero Connector. However, both Zotero and the Zotero Connector support additional hidden preferences. These settings may have received less testing and/or are intended for more advanced use.


To view the the full list of Zotero's preferences, including many hidden preferences, go to the Advanced pane of the Zotero preferences and click “Config Editor”. Enter “zotero” into the Filter field at the top of the list that comes up. Preferences that can be safely changed by users are described below.

Most Zotero hidden preferences are preceded by “extensions.zotero.”

General Preferences

These general hidden preferences allow you to refine your Zotero configuration.

Preference NameDefault ValueDescription
attachmentRenameFormatString'{%c - }{%y - }{%t{50}}'Zotero automatically renames attached files saved from translators. This string controls how those names are formatted. %c is creator, %y is year, %t is the title, the curly braces around each part mean “only include this part if the field specified inside is non-empty”and {50} means “truncate at 50 characters.” You can rearrange these to suit your needs.
backup.interval1440Determines, at most, how often (in minutes) Zotero makes an automatic backup of the database. The default is every 24 hours (1440 minutes)
backup.numBackups2Determines how many automatic database backups Zotero should keep. Excess backups are deleted oldest first. This does not include backups made during database upgrades. Note that setting this too high could cause database upgrade backups to be overwritten.
browserContentContextMenutrueBy default, Zotero will include various options to your Firefox context menu. If you set this to false, those context-dependent right-click options will no longer be available.
capitalizeTitlestrueBy default, Zotero will recase titles of items you capture. Switch this preference to false and you will preserve case information for titles.
debug.level5When debug.log is enabled, determines the lowest of the debug levels (1-5, with 5 being the lowest) that is displayed
debug.logfalse Used for debugging Zotero. See debug output.
debug.timefalseWhen debug.log is enabled, shows the milliseconds from the previous debug call
fontSize“1.0”This preference allows you to increase or decrease the size of text in the Zotero interface.
httpServer.enabledtrueIf set to true, Zotero will listen for requests from the Zotero Connector (e.g., to allow saving items to Zotero from the Connector).
httpServer.port23119If httpServer.enabled is enabled, this is the port on which Zotero will listen for connections from the Zotero Connector.
launchNonNativeFilesfalseBy default, Zotero will open any file stored inside Zotero through whatever means Firefox uses to launch that type of file. So, for example, if you click on a PDF in Firefox, the PDF might launch inside the browser using a PDF viewer plugin. If you switch this preference to true, Zotero will use your operating system to launch non-native files like PDFs instead of Firefox.
recursiveCollectionsfalseBy default, each of your collections displays only the items you have placed there. When you place a collection inside another collection, the contents of the second collection are not added to the first. If you enable recursive collections, items from subcollections will appear in all higher-level collections.
sortAttachmentsChronologicallyfalseIf set to true, your attachments will be sorted by the order you added them instead of alphabetically.
sortNotesChronologicallyfalseIf set to true, your notes will be sorted by the order you added them instead of alphabetically.

Translator Preferences

These hidden preferences allow you to control some translator behavior (this does not currently apply to Chrome or Safari). They can be either general preferences that apply to all translators or translator-specific preferences (prefixed by the translator name) that affect only individual websites or bibliographic formats. All translator hidden preferences are preceded by “extensions.zotero.translators.”

Preference NameDefault ValueDescriptionApplies to
attachSupplementaryfalseTranslators should attempt to attach supplementary data when importing items.All web translators implementing this behavior
supplementaryAsLinkfalseSupplementary data attachments should be attached as links instead of being downloaded. This option has no effect if attachSupplementary is disabled. Setting this oprtion to “true” maintains the convenience of quick access to supplementary data, but speeds up saving items from the web.All web translators implementing this behavior
ACS.highResPDF0Determines which version of the Full Text PDF is attached: 0 - PDF w/ links; 1 - high res PDF; 2 - bothACS Publications
RIS.import.ignoreUnknowntrueDo not store values that cannot be mapped to Zotero fields in notes.RIS import translator
RIS.import.keepIDfalseDo not drop value from “ID -” tag. Can be used to find items in EndNote.RIS import translator
BibTeX.export.dontProtectInitialCasefalseDo not surround words with braces if only the first letter is capitalized. Useful if you enter titles in Zotero in title case (not recommended).
false: {Tame {The} {BeaST}}
true: {Tame The {BeaST}}
Note that the first word is never surrounded if it does not contain internal upper-case letters
BibTeX export translator

Full-Text Indexing

These preferences deal with Zotero's ability to create full-text indexes from imported files.

Preference NameDefault ValueDescription
search.useLeftBoundtrueThis preference determines whether Zotero only finds word matches based on the left bound or whether it finds matches anywhere within words. Switching this to false may be beneficial for languages other than English, but it may significantly slow down Zotero's search functions.


These options allow you to customize your reports.

Preference NameDefault ValueDescription
report.includeAllChildItemstrueBy default, selecting only parent items for a report causes those items' child notes and attachments to be included as well. If includeAllChildItems is set to false, only the items you have selected will be included. Selecting a combination of parent and child items will cause only the selected items to be displayed regardless of this setting.
report.combineChildItemstrueBy default, Zotero groups child notes and attachments in reports together under their parent items. Switching this to false will cause notes to appear separately from their parent items. This can be helpful for people interested in using Zotero's note-taking features as an outlining tool.

Export and Citation Settings

Preference NameDefault ValueDescription
export.bibliographyLocale By default, Zotero creates bibliographies in the language of the installed version of Firefox. Entering a locale code here causes Zotero to use the specified language instead. For example, to cite items in English in a non-English version of Firefox, enter 'en-US' (without quotes) into this preference. For a full list of available locale codes, see Zotero's chrome manifest.
export.quickCopy.compatibility.indentBlockquotestrueWord and TextEdit don't indent blockquotes on their own and need this enabled. Results in an extra indent in OpenOffice, which handles blockquotes correctly.
export.quickCopy.compatibility.wordfalseAdd Word Normal style to paragraphs and enable double-spacing. OpenOffice inserts the conditional style code as a document comment.
quickCopy.quoteBlockquotes.plainTexttrueAdd quotes around blockquote paragraphs in plain-text output
quickCopy.quoteBlockquotes.richTexttrueAdd quotes around blockquote paragraphs in rich-text output

Annotation Settings

Preference NameDefault ValueDescription
annotations.warnOnClosetrueBy default, Zotero will warn you before you close a sticky note annotation. If you switch this to false you will not receive that warning.

Word processor plugin

Preference NameDefault ValueDescription
integration.keepAddCitationDialogRaised falseIf you switch this to true, you can keep the Zotero word plugin interface for adding citations always at the front. and prevent it from going hidden behind the Word window you're working with.

Zotero Connector

To view Zotero Connector preferences in Chrome and Firefox, open the preferences for the connector — by right-clicking on the save button and choosing Preferences/Options, or via the Extensions/Add-ons pane — and change the last part of the URL from “preferences.html” to “config.html”.

Hidden preferences in Safari are not currently easily accessible.