Exporting items

Better BibTex adds a couple of export formats to Zotero’s export dialog and several ways to improve export for plaintext-based authoring. The Better BibTeX configuration pane can be found under the regular Zotero preferences pane, tab ‘Better BibTeX’ where you can tweak the exports, such as

Additionally you can automate exporting (parts of) your library either using auto-export or pull export.

Pinning (fixating) the citation key

By default, BBT will generate citation keys from your items using the formatting pattern you specified. If you want the key to be stable even when you change the item, you can fixate its citation key to a value of your choosing by adding the text Citation Key: [your citekey] anywhere in the extra field of the item.

Add your own BibLaTeX fields

You can add your own fields to the export which are not derived from regular Zotero item fields by adding them in the extra field in Zotero in one of three ways:

Square brackets []

You can add any field you like by using something like

bibtex[origdate=1856;origtitle=An Old Title]

This format is very rigid, it has no quoting syntax, so you can’t have =, [, ] or ; in your key names or values.


If you need more flexibility, you can use the JSON5 format instead:

  origdate: 1856,
  origtitle: "Can contain = and ';' just fine"

The marker for these fields can be either bibtex, biblatex or biblatexdata (which are all the same to BBT), but when importing BibTeX files with fields not supported by Zotero, the bibtex marker will be used. These fields are assumed to be valid LaTeX, and will be exported exactly as entered.

If you want to have regular text in these fields and have BBT LaTeX-encode them, add an asterisk (*) after the marker, so something like

  origdate: 1856,
  origtitle: "Things like _ and $ will be escaped"

CSL fields

The final way to add fields is by using CSL fields in the format {:original-date: 1856} or Original Date: 1856 on a line of its own. These fields will not only be exported to Bib(La)TeX, but will also be picked up by the Zotero Bibliography manager, even though not all Zotero styles yet support this.

Note that the default biblatex styles do not seem to support origdate; you can find possible solutions for this at Stack Exchange here and here.

Changing the exported reference type

If you add a field called referencetype using either one of these methods, that value will be used as the reference type instead of the one usually inferred from the Zotero reference type. You can use this to create, for example, @customa{citekeyhere, ....} type references.