Libreoffice Zotero

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Communication Error or Non-Responsive Plugin Buttons

  1. Zotero Libreoffice Integration
  2. Libreoffice Zotero

If you see one of the following errors:

'Word could not communicate with Zotero. Please ensure Zotero is running and try again.'


'Could not find a running Word instance.'

Zotero LibreOffice Integration v.5 was installed, JDK 141 was installed and selected in LibreOffice Tools/Options. Still, while installing ZoteroOpenOfficeIntegration in LO Extension manager, the following error shows up: Could not create Java implementation loader Could you help me?

Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources. It lives right where you do your work—in the web browser itself. Zotero LibreOffice integration allows users to insert citations directly from their word processing software. Oct 10, 2015 Windows 7 (64), Zotero Standalone, Firefox 42.0, JRE 32-bit v8 update 65, LibreOffice (5.03, uninstalled, installed 4.4).


or the plugin appears and buttons are clickable, but no insert citation window appears, try the following steps:

  1. Ensure that Zotero Word for Windows Integration is enabled in Tools → Add-ons → Extensions in Zotero.
  2. Make sure that you're running Zotero as the same user as in Word. The plugin may fail, for example, if Zotero is run as an administrator while Word is run as a regular user. For security and stability reasons, you should typically not run any software as an administrator.
  3. Try temporarily disabling any security software you're running, which could interfere with the connection between Word and Zotero.
  4. Windows plugins communicate with Zotero using the remote window. Thus, launching Zotero with the -no-remote command-line option will prevent the plugin from functioning. (You might do this accidentally if you have multiple Zotero profiles.) The solution is to remove the -no-remote command-line option from the shortcut used to launch the Zotero profile (this flag should never be used with Zotero).

In most cases, the Zotero plugin should appear automatically in Word or LibreOffice after installing Zotero and restarting the word processor. If you don't see a Zotero tab or toolbar (or Zotero scripts menu for Word 2008/2011 for Mac), follow these steps: Close Word or LibreOffice. Apr 17, 2021 -if I go to Zotero/Preferences/Word processors, and that I try to reinstall the LibreOffice module (which appears there to be installed), I get a window 'Select LibreOffice unopkg executable', where no directory is listed. And for information, the Zotero's installation process pushed Zotero in a directory in my home/user directory.

Zotero Thread Not Appearing in the Word Ribbon

If you're using Microsoft Office Starter Edition, the Zotero Word integration isn't supported.

Check if the Zotero plugin is correctly installed

  1. Open Word Options.
  2. Choose Customize Ribbon.
  3. On the right pane, click on the Developer tab.
  4. Close the options; in the new Developer tab, click on Word Add-ins.
  5. Make sure that Zotero.dotm is present and checkmarked.

If Zotero.dotm is present and ticked under Word Add-ins

  1. Open Word Options.
  2. Choose Trust Centre; in the pane click on Trust Centre Settings...
  3. Under Add-ins, make sure that Require Application Add-ins to be signed by Trusted Publisher and Disable all Application Add-ins are unchecked.
  4. Restart Word.

If the Zotero thread still isn't appearing after following these steps, go back to the Trust Centre Settings and click on Disable all macros with notification under Macro Settings. Restart Word and see if you get a notification asking for macro permissions.

If Zotero.dotm is NOT present under Word Add-ins

  1. Go into Zotero → Tools → Add-ons and make sure that Zotero Word for Windows Integration is enabled. If it is disabled, enable it and restart Word.
    • If Zotero Word for Windows Integration is missing entirely from the Add-ons window, see Zotero toolbar doesn't appear.
  2. Go into Zotero Preferences → Cite → Word Processors and click on Install Word for Windows Add-in. Restart Word.

If Zotero the thread isn't present in Word, check whether it's available under Word Add-ins, and, if so, follow the section above. If it still doesn't show up in Word Add-ins, you should attempt a manual installation.

Word 2010: Could not find a running Word instance

If you install Zotero with Word 2010 and receive an error stating

'Zotero experienced an error updating your document. [zoteroWinWordIntegration Exception... 'Could not find a running Word instance.' code: '0' function: 'zoteroWinWordDocument::initFromActiveObject' location: '.zoteroWinWordDocument.cpp']'

you may be experiencing an issue related to your Word 2010 installation method. Microsoft distributes a set of Click-to-Run versions of Office 2010 that are configured to run within their own virtual environment. Unfortunately, this virtual environment prohibits Zotero from communicating with these Word instances, producing an error.

You can fix this problem by switching your copy of Office 2010 from a Click-to-Run installation to a standard (MSI-based) installation. This process doesn't require an additional license. To do so, follow the steps under the Workaround heading on this Microsoft Support page.

You may also experience this error if you're running either Word or Zotero as Administrator or in a compatibility mode in Windows Vista or 7 or if security software is interfering with Zotero's ability to communicate with Word.

Run-time error '5097': Word has encountered a problem.

This issue affects users of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. To fix it you will need to change your regional format to English:

Libreoffice Zotero
  1. In Windows settings go to the page for Region, which has settings for Regional format.
  2. Change that setting to English (United States) or English (United Kingdom).
  3. Restart Word.

'This command is not available because no document is open'

Zotero's Word add-on currently doesn't work for documents in OneDrive. Move your document to a different folder. Other cloud-syncing services such as Dropbox or Google Drive aren't affected (note that Zotero documents should not be opened or edited in Google Drive's word processor as this will break Zotero citations. See this thread on the Zotero forums for details and developments.

Citations remain in endnotes when switching to in-text style

When switching from a note-based style set to Endnotes under Set Document Preferences to a style that produces in-text citations (author-date or numeric), the citations remain in endnotes.

Workaround: Before switching to the in-text style, click on Set Document Preferences in the Word add-on and switch the format to Footnotes. Then switch to the in-text style. If you already switched to the in-text style and are seeing this issue, switch back to the note-based style you were using, toggle to Footnotes, and switch back.

(This post is cross-posted at my personal blog)

Scrivener is awesome software for writing, that I’ve mentioned before, but I had yet to really test out the integration with Zotero (my citation manager of choice). So now that I have finally started on my dissertation writing in earnest (and not grant writing), I needed to make sure that footnotes are usable in my work flow. So this is a quick write up of the tools I will use in writing my dissertation, and how I will use them.

The Tools

LibreOffice: Free and Open Source document software. Who knows how long I will have access to free Microsoft Word? LibreOffice (the fork of OpenOffice) will always be free and freely available. The steps will be basically the same if you are using Microsoft Word, just substitute that program for LibreOffice when it comes to it.

Zotero: I’m certainly biased, but Zotero is the greatest citation management software evar! Also free and open source. I’m using the stand alone version, but you can use the Firefox extension as well. Should work the same.

Scrivener: The greatest writing software I’ve seen. So good I even paid for it. I don’t usually do that with software (as you can see, I like free and open source).

The Process

Here I will try to outline the process I found that will save footnotes from existing documents into Scrivener, and Scrivener created footnotes into exported documents. From there, it’s easy to create Zotero connected footnotes.

Libreoffice zotero does not work

1. Copy existing documents with footnotes into Scrivener

The first issue to run across is to put your existing documents into scrivener. I wrote a paper for Hist 811 that is basically the bulk of Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of the dissertation. It’s needs some finessing in order to fit in the dissertation. It would be a shame to lose the footnotes, which is what happens if you just use Scrivener’s import file process. This is an easy fix. Just copy the text from your document and paste it into a Scrivener text area.

Libreoffice Zotero

Then with your Scrivener project open, create a new text area, or select an existing one, which ever, and paste it in. Nothing special there.

2. Create new footnotes in Scrivener

What is special, though is what Scrivener does with that footnote. See there, footnote number 20, right after the quote about the cocktail of causes and rearmament being one of the ingredients? Now in Scrivener we have the word “ingredient” highlighted and underlined, and on the right side of the Scrivener window, there is a new footnote with all of the content of the original footnote. Sweet!

That’s all well and good. What if we want to edit the text a little bit, add some good stuff and add another footnote in there? What do we do? Well, Scrivener has a way to add a footnote. Just highlight some text (the footnote will be inserted after the last word), and go to the Format menu and select Footnote. Or you can use the fancy shortcut keys, for faster typing and footnote inserting, Ctrl-Cmd-8 (⌃⌘8).

Now you have a new, blank, footnote area to put a footnote reverence in.

Zotero makes it easy to put the reference in that new empty footnote with drag and drop citations. Just pull up your Zotero (either from Firefox, or if you have the standalone version). Select the reference you want, and drag it into the empty footnote section.

3. Moving from Scrivener to a document, and keeping your footnotes!

So, ideally, you would be able to export your text document, and all of these lovely footnotes you have made in Scrivener, using Zotero, would just magically work in a Word or LibreOffice document. It doesn’t, yet (or ever?). So here is how to get your footnotes into a document, and then get those footnotes to be Zotero enabled.

First, you export your Scrivener document to RTF format.

Select the plain RTF format, and the first check box for only the selected files (although, you could un check this if you want to do all of your files at once. No other check boxes are needed. Then just hit the Export button.

Next, you will want to open your new RTF document in LibreOffice (or Word if you’re using that program).

You will notice that all of your footnotes are in this file. Yeah! Sometimes the text had odd font sizes and styles. So a quick ‘Select All’ and change it to default style and Times New Roman, 12 pt should fix that right up. Now here is the labor intensive part. For each footnote, we’re going to have to recreate it so that it is handled by Zotero. Then we’ll delete the original footnote. It would be nice of Scrivener could export the footnotes in a way that Zotero could detect them, but alas it is not to be.

Now you add a citation through the zotero buttons to make a zotero-aware citation.

Insert a Zotero citation using the Zotero buttons in your document program’s menu bar.

With two citations in the document, you’ll need to delete the one that was not made by zotero.


Zotero Libreoffice Integration

Now save the document as an ODT document. If it is saved as anything else, it will not be Zotero aware.

Libreoffice Zotero

One alternative method is to create footnotes in Scrivener using the format {Author, Year, Page#}. Then export as an RTF document as before. Then, in Zotero, use the ‘RTF Scan’ tool in the Preferences menu. Zotero will see all of the citations and replace them nicely with formatted citations (using Ibid. and short notation for repeat books, and such). Zotero will not be aware of these citations at all, so if you need them to be Zotero aware, you might as well use the steps outlined above. If you do not expect to update citations or the text once done in Scrivener, then this may be the easiest way to go.

Now I can happily transfer existing documents into Scrivener and save the footnotes!