I am trying to develop a workflow as I begin writing my dissertation (in the social sciences). I am using emcas as my LaTeX editor, Zotero as my citation manager, and Linux Mint as OS. I had a question of a simple workflow to allow me to add citations from Zotero. I know one way is to export a bib file from Zotero and use that in my .tex file. But the problem with this workflow is that it requires exporting a bib file each time I make an addition to citations. Is there better emacs+zotero+biblatex integration?

  • 1
    Have a look at this. I don't think, however, that you can get away with not exporting to a .bib file if you added a new reference. There is no way LaTeX/biblatex/Biber are able to know about it, if it is not in the .bib file. (See also this)
    – moewe
    Commented Feb 28, 2015 at 14:54
  • I was not thinking there would be a way to avoid exporting the .bib file, but was hoping there might be a zotero add-on that might modify the .bib file as citations were added as one made citations while writing in emacs.
    – Francis
    Commented Feb 28, 2015 at 19:23
  • 1
    In the last link someone advertises their zetoro add-on that does auto-exporting of a .bib file, maybe that is worth looking at. I'm not sure if there is a way for zotero to know you cited using emacs and it might be a good idea to export the .bib if something new came along.
    – moewe
    Commented Feb 28, 2015 at 19:45
  • 2
    That's correct, I don't think there's a great way for Zotero to keep track of which items you've cited in a particular document, so full export is probably best. I'm pretty sure this: github.com/ZotPlus/zotero-better-bibtex is by far the most complete Zotero-->bib(la)tex solution, allowing for both a lot of automation (like pull export, which won't slow down Zotero) and a lot of customization. Very responsive dev, too.
    – adam.smith
    Commented Mar 1, 2015 at 6:11
  • 1
    I'm not sure about auto-completion in Emacs, but these tow links seem to suggest something is possible Setting up RefTeX Tab completion in emacs and Autocomplete Pandoc-style citations from a Bibtex file in Emacs, RefTeX Manual and Autocompleting \cite{} with emacs + auctex gives “cite: no such database entry”. What you need to keep in mind then is that this only works if the .bib file is up to date.
    – moewe
    Commented Mar 2, 2015 at 6:05

2 Answers 2


Better BibTeX for Zotero allows for automated export to BibTeX/BibLaTeX (a.o.). It's set-and-forget; you export a collection to a file, tick "Keep updated", and Bob's your proverbial uncle. Any changes you make to that collection or its entries will cause a background update of the bib file.

You can have multiple of such exports set up -- BBT implements heavy caching, so most of the time you won't even notice that its busy (except that one user with a crazy 22k entries in a single collection -- that takes a little under a minute).

Full disclosure: I am the author of BBT.


Zotelo is an emacs package to synchronize your collections from emacs.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .