Cite as you Write

Good news for TeXnicians and those down with Mark (aka Markdown, RST, whatnot): this is the time to go pester the author of your favorite editor for Zotero integration!

Editor integration


Create a script called (e.g.) cite in your path with the following content:


curl -s http://localhost:23119/better-bibtex/cayw?format=citet

Now, in vi, you can execute :r!cite in command mode to get your references inserted

Zotero Citations for Atom

A sample implementation of real integration (rather than the working-but-clunky workarounds using paste) can be found in the Zotero Citations package for the Atom editor.

Scrivener 2.0/Marked 2 for Mac

Dave Smith has gracefully written instructions on how to set up Scrivener 2.0 and Marked 2 for OSX to use the CAYW picker, including ready-to-run apps

Scrivener 1.0 for Windows

Emilie has writen instructions for using the CAYW picker for Scrivener 1.0 in Windows 10, with the necessary files



BBT now exposes (if you have HTTP export on in the preferences) an URL at http://localhost:23119/better-bibtex/cayw. The url accepts the following URL parameters:

probe If set to any non-empty value, returns ready. You can use this to test whether BBT CAYW picking is live; it will not pop up the picker
format Set the output format
clipboard Any non-empty value will copy the results to the clipboard
minimize Any non-empty value minimize all Firefox windows after a pick

The following formats are available:

  • latex.
  • cite is an alias for latex with the assumption you want the cite command to be cite
  • mmd: MultiMarkdown
  • pandoc. Accepts additional URL parameter brackets; any non-empty value surrounds the citation with brackets
  • asciidoctor-bibtex
  • scannable-cite for the ODF scanner
  • formatted-citation: output formatted citation as per the current Zotero quick-export setting, if it is set to a citation style, and not an export format
  • formatted-bibliography: output formatted bibliography as per the current Zotero quick-export setting, if it is set to a citation style, and not an export format
  • translate invokes a Zotero export translator. Extra URL parameters allowed:
    • translator: stripped name of one of the BBT translators (lowercased, remove ‘better’, and only the letters, e.g. biblatex or csljson), or a translator ID. Defaults to biblatex.
    • exportNotes: set to true to export notes
    • useJournalAbbreviation: set to true to use journal abbreviations

The picker passes the following data along with your picked references if you filled them out:

locator the place within the work (e.g. page number)
prefix for stuff like “see …”
suffix for stuff after the citations
suppress author if you only want the year

However not all output formats supports these. Pandoc and scannable cite are the richest ones, supporting all 4. MultiMarkdown supports none. LaTeX supports all 4, in a way; if you choose suppress author for none or all of your references in a pick, you will get the citation as you would normally enter it, such as \\cite{author1,author2}, or \\citeyear{author1,author2}. If you use locator, prefix, suffix in any one of them, or you use suppress author for some but not for others, the picker will write them out all separate, like \cite[p. 1]{author1}\citeyear{author2}, as LaTeX doesn’t seem to have a good mechanism for combined citations that mix different prefixes/suffixes/locators. The formatted- formats will ignore these.

The clipboard option can be used as a workaround for editors that haven’t gotten around to integrating this yet. If you use this option you will probably want to bind to a hotkey, either system-wide (which is going to be platform-dependent, I know AutoHotKey works for windows, for OSX Karabiner ought to do the job, and for Linux you could give IronAHK or autokey a shot).

For example, if you call up http://localhost:23119/better-bibtex/cayw?format=mmd&clipboard=yes, the Zotero citation picker will pop up. If you then select two references that happen to have cite keys adams2001 and brigge2002, then

  • the response body will be [#adams2001][][#brigge2002][], and
  • [#adams2001][][#brigge2002][] will be left on the clipboard

Playing around

For testing for other markdown formatters, you can construct simple references yourself, using:

  • citeprefix, default empty, for text to put before the full citation.
  • citepostfix, default empty, for text to put after the full citation.
  • keyprefix, default empty, for text to put before each individual citekey
  • keypostfix, default empty, for text to put after each individual citekey
  • separator, default ,, for text to put between citekeys

but if you need an extra format, just ask.

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