Get organised with colour-coded tags in Zotero

by catherine on July 22, 2014

Many researchers quickly pick up the basics of Zotero, but sometimes they miss some of the really useful features. Tags – a very effective way of categorising and filtering your items with keywords – become even more helpful when you colour-code them.

For instance, you might have a ‘tbr’ (to be read) tag and want to quickly see what’s outstanding on your reading list. Right-click (command-click on Mac) the tag in the Tag Selector and choose Assign Color.

Tag selector in Zotero

Now you can choose a colour from the palette.

Choose tag color in Zotero

The tag is also assigned a number, which becomes a keyboard shortcut for adding it to one of your items. In this case, pressing 1 adds the ‘tbr’ tag to the highlighted item.

I also use a green-coloured tag called ‘borrow’ so I can quickly display all the books I need to borrow from the library.

Any items with coloured tags assigned to them are flagged with a matching blob in the middle column. It’s then easy to see at a glance anything you need to borrow or read.

Tag blob in Zotero

This is a really simple feature, but it’s one of the reasons why I love Zotero.

Find out more about what you can do with Zotero in my ebook How to Manage References with Zotero.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandro May 26, 2015 at 10:58 am

Thanks for that post and the nice tips! I was looking for those color tags since quite some time since it might make work way easier… But unfortunately I can’t find how to do this (this box won’t show up Could you please elaborate on how to assign color tags (where in the menu can you find this option)?
Thanks a lot for the clarification.


Catherine Pope May 27, 2015 at 9:17 am

Hello Sandro. Many thanks for your comment. There’s a tag browser in the bottom left-hand corner of Zotero, where you can see all of your tags. Right-click on one of them (or Cmd-click on a Mac) and then choose Assign Color. Hope that helps.


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