The Better BibTeX Configuration can be found under the regular Zotero preferences pane, tab ‘Better BibTeX’.

The configuration of Better BibTeX is a little baroque compared to the standard Zotero Bib(La)TeX exporters (which only have hidden preferences). The defaults should just work, but here’s an attempt to describe what they do.

Making any change here will drop your entire export cache. This is usually not a problem unless you have a really large library, but you can read about what is involved here.


default: yes

BibTeX has really spotty Unicode support, so you generally want this on. It will translate things like accented characters to their equivalent LaTeX constructs on export.

Disregard name prefixes when sorting

default: no

Name handling is a lot more complex than I had ever thought it to be. A lot more complex. BibTeX has really limited ways of dealing with names with particles (van, von, de, etc). If you turn this on, BBT will add code to have van Gogh sorted under Gogh.

Export numeric edition as English-written ordinals

default: no

Try to convert a numeric edition value to English words during BibTeX exports

Add URLs to BibTeX export

default: no

Most BibTeX styles do not support DOI/URL fields. Of the styles that do support them, many forget to load the required ‘url’ package, so make sure to load it yourself. DOI and URL fields are so-called ‘verbatim’ fields, and without the ‘url’ package loaded compilation will likely fail.


  • no
  • in the ’note’ field
  • in the ’note’ field, but assuming the ‘url’ package is not loaded
  • in the ‘url’ field
  • in the ‘url’ field, but assuming the ‘url’ package is not loaded


Export unicode as plain-text latex commands

default: no

BibLaTeX actually has really good Unicode support, so you generally want this off. But for some geezers such as me it is simply more pleasing to have things like accented characters translated to their equivalent LaTeX constructs on export.

Use BibLaTeX extended name format (requires biblatex 3.5)

default: yes

Use the extended biber 2.7 format for names with particles - only works in BibLaTeX 3.5 or later. This biblatex has a new (less ambiguous) way to store creator names. It’s technically superior, but the LaTeX world moves slowly, so many people won’t have it yet. But if you’re an early adopter, you can enable it here


Export language as

default: langid

Export either langid, language or both fields based on the item language (if any).


  • langid
  • language
  • both

When an item has both a DOI and a URL, export

default: both

Does what it says on the tin, really. If an item has both a DOI and an URL, you can choose to have them both exported, or either one of them. Note that for BibTeX, you must load the url package when you have doi or url fields. doi and url fields are so-called verbatim fields with different escaping rules, and BibTeX compilation will likely error out without the package loaded.


  • both
  • DOI
  • URL

Fields to omit from export (comma-separated)

default: <not set>

If there are some fields you don’t want in your bibtex files (such as note for example), add a list of them here, separated by comma’s.

Include JabRef-specific metadata:

default: 0

Export JabRef-specific fields: timestamps, titles for attachments, and groups for each collection an item is part of. Note that having this on will disable caching in exports, which is really undesirable specifically for auto-exports.


  • no
  • for JabRef 3
  • for JabRef 4
  • for JabRef 5


Quick-Copy/drag-and-drop citations

Quick-Copy format

default: LaTeX citation

Used for drag-and-drop/quick copy using Better BibTeX citation keys. In the Zotero “Export” pane, choose Better BibTeX Quick Copy as the default export format for quick copy, and choose the desired format for the drag-and-drop citations here.

In the case of Eta templates, the selected items are available as it.items. &lt;%= JSON.stringify(it.items) %&gt; will show you the available data on the items.


  • LaTeX citation
  • Cite Keys
  • Eta template
  • GitBook
  • org-ref citation
  • org-ref v3 citation
  • Org-mode select link
  • Pandoc citation
  • Roam Cite Key
  • RTF Scan marker
  • Zotero select link
  • Jupyter notebook
  • Jekyll cite

LaTeX command

default: cite

Used for drag-and-drop/quick copy citations in LaTeX format. Set the desired LaTeX citation command here. If you set this to citep, drag-and-drop citations will yield \citep{key1,key2,...}

Surround Pandoc citations with brackets

default: no

Used for drag-and-drop/quick copy citations in Pandoc format. You can use this option to select whether you want to have these pandoc citations surrounded with brackets or not.

default: using Zotero item key

OrgMode to select items in your library


  • using Zotero item key
  • using Better BibTeX citation key

default: using Zotero item key

Hyperlink to select items in your library


  • using Zotero item key
  • using Better BibTeX citation key

Eta template

default: <not set>

Used for drag-and-drop/quick copy citations in Build your own format. This is going to get pretty technical, sorry. You can paste a Eta template here. Inside the template, you will find an array it.items, each of which is a serialized Zotero item. To find out what an item looks like inside the template, export some items as BetterBibTeX JSON.



Automatically abbreviate journal title if none is set explicitly

default: no

If set, generates journal abbreviations on export using the Zotero journal abbreviator, according to the abbreviation style selected in the list below the checkbox.

Abbreviation style:

default: <not set>

Select the style for auto-abbreviation. Only applicable to Juris-M; in Zotero, the style for automatic abbreviation is not configurable.

Include comments about potential problems with the exported entries

default: no

Generate quality reports for exported entries. These show up only in BibTeX and BibLaTeX report formats and indicate things like missing required fields and duplicate citation keys.

Include automatic tags in export

default: yes

Some importers or Zotero extensions (such as the ShortDOI manager for example) create tags on items that are more for item management than that they are descriptive of the item. When this is off, such tags will not be included in the export.

Apply title-casing to titles

default: yes

If you’re dead-set on ignoring both BibTeX/BibLaTeX best practice (see the BBT FAQ) and the Zotero recommendations on title/sentence casing, you can turn this off to suppress title casing for English items

Apply case-protection to capitalized words by enclosing them in braces

default: yes

If you’re dead-set on ignoring both BibTeX/BibLaTeX best practice (see the BBT FAQ) and the Zotero recommendations on title/sentence casing, you can turn this off to suppress automatic brace-protection for words with uppercase letters.


Retain export cache across upgrades

default: no

By default, BBT clears all caches whenever BBT or Zotero is upgraded. I can’t realistically predict whether a change in Zotero or BBT is going to affect the output generated for any given item, so to be sure you always have the latest export-affecting fixes, the caches are discarded when a new version of either is detected. If you have a very large library however, of which you regularly export significant portions, you might want to retain the cached items even if that does come with the risk that you get wrong output on export that has been fixed in the interim.

If you have this on, and you experience any problem that is not the cache getting dropped on upgrade, you must clear the cache and reproduce the problem. When you change this setting, as with any setting change, the cache will be dropped.

Enable caching for background exports

default: yes

Even though BBT exports happen in a separate thread, some work needs to be done before the background export can start. Part of this work is preloading the cache. You can shorten the (blocking) preparation time by turning off the cache, at the cost of longer export times.