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The General preferences pane controls the appearance of Zotero's user interface, item import settings, and group library behavior.

User Interface

This section allows you to customize Zotero’s appearance.

  • Layout:
    • Standard: Show the Zotero window with three vertical panes — Libraries/Collections (left pane), Item List (center pane), and Item Details (right-hand pane). This is the default.
    • Stacked: Show the Zotero window with the Libraries/Collections pane on the left and the Item List and Item Details panes stacked on top of each other on the right. This view is useful for small over portrait-oriented screens.
  • Font size: Choose the font size of text in the Zotero interface.
  • Note font size: Choose the font size of text in Notes.


These settings control some item import behavior, as well as how long deleted items are retained in the Trash.

  • Automatically check for updated translators: Allow Zotero to automatically update its translators (translators allow Zotero to detect and save bibliographic data from different websites) and citation styles. Updated translators and citation are usually downloaded within a few hours of being released. You manually check for updates immediately by clicking the “Update now” button.
  • Report broken site translators: Allow Zotero to notify its developers when a translator fails to save an item. This information is submitted anonymously.
  • Automatically take snapshots when creating items from web pages: When importing items from websites or archiving a web page using the Zotero save button in your browser, should Zotero save a snapshot of the web page as an attachment to the new item (enabled by default)?
  • Automatically attach associated PDFs and other files when saving items: Should Zotero automatically download the full-text PDF version of articles (or sometimes other related files) when importing items using the Zotero save button in your browser (enabled by default)?
    • To automatically download supplementary material, as well as the main article file, see Supplemental Material.
  • Automatically tag items with keywords and subject headings: Some repositories use tags to annotate and organize items (examples are the Library of Congress catalog, which includes subject headings, and the online version of the New York Times, which uses keywords). When this option checked (the default), these annotations are attached to saved items as automatic tags.
  • Automatically remove items in the trash deleted more than … days ago: Change how long items are kept in the trash before being automatically deleted (default: 30 days).


By default, when you copy items between your personal My Library and a group library (or between different group libraries), any child notes, snapshots and other stored file attachments, linked URIs (to web pages or other programs), and tags are copied along. You can uncheck “child notes”, “child snapshots and imported files”, “child links”, or “tags” to prevent notes, attachments, links, or tags from being copied. Note that linked attachments are not supported in group libraries and will not be copied.

preferences/general.txt · Last modified: 2017/12/04 09:30 by bwiernik