Skip to Main Content

Library Services




Guide to using Zotero reference management software

Extracting annotations

Zotero's inbuilt PDF reader allows you to highlight or annotate text or images and extract these as notes. To do this, follow the instructions outlined below.  

  • Open a PDF (select the bibliographic reference and double-click to open the PDF or right-click and 'Open PDF')
  • Next, select the Annotation type on the top right-hand corner of the PDF Reader: Highlight Text, Add Note, Select An Area, Pick a Colour

Screenshot of Annotation Options on Zotero PDF Reader

  • The image below shows two panes. The left-hand pane lists the changes you have made (that is, the highlighted text, the notes, and the selections), and the right-hand pane shows the PDF with the annotations.

Screenshot of Annotated Texts

  • To update or add comments to the annotations, you can work in the left-hand pane. Clicking on the three dots on the header of the note will allow you to add to the note, change the colour, edit the page number, edit the highlighted text or delete the note.
  • You can also just use the 'Add Comment' to annotate your note further.


  • You can extract these annotations as notes in two ways.
    • From the right-hand corner, click on the notebook icon, then on the plus sign and Add Item Note from Annotations or
    • From the Zotero Library, right-click on the reference, and then select Add Note from Annotations.

Screenshot  Adding Item Note from Annotations.      Screenshot Adding Annotation