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Guide to using Zotero reference management software

Installing Zotfile

If you want to extract the text that you have commented on or highlighted in a PDF file, you will need to download a Zotero plugin called ZotFile.  Follow the steps below to download Zotfile.

1. Download Zotfile from and save it to the Downloads folder on your computer.

2. Open up Zotero on your desktop and select Tools and Add-ons in the drop-down menu.

Screenshot of the Add-ons option under Zotero Tools

3. This will open up the Add-ons Manager. From the wheel icon on the top right-hand corner, select Install Add-on From File.

Screenshot of the Add-ons Manager

4. Select Zotfile from the Downloads folder on your computer, and Install Now. Zotfile is an approved plugin for Zotero and so you can ignore the warning message.

screenshot of install from add-ons

5. Re-start Zotero. This will ensure Zotfile is added to Zotero.

6. To check that Zotfile has installed correctly, go back to Tools and ZotFile Preferences should now appear at the bottom of the list of options. 

Screenshot of Zotfile Preferences on Zotero Tools

Extracting annotations from PDF files

You can extract annotations you've made on a PDF file, in order to do so you will have to download Zotfile first, if you haven't  downloaded already.

To extract annotations:

  • Right-click on the PDF document, which contains your annotations.
  • Select Manage Attachments then Extract Annotations.
  • Your annotations will appear on the right hand-side panel.

Desktop extract annotations screenshot