Get organised with colour-coded tags in Zotero

by Catherine Pope 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.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: