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How to Customize Zotero Reports

Reports in Zotero are “HTML pages that give an overview of the item metadata, notes, and attachments of the selected items.”1 They are a practical way to extrapolate the metadata of multiple papers and merge them into one document. The problem is that Zotero adds by default a lot of information that you might not find useful (e.g., Type, URL, Date Added, Modified, Repository, etc.). If you plan to print out the report, you might want to remove some of these metadata to save space. You can do so by following the steps of this short guide.

First, you have to generate a report. Choose the items of interest, right click to open the context menu and select “Generate Report from Items.” At this point, you should see a pop-up window from Zotero with the report’s HTML file. Save the file with CTRL+S and open it in your browser. Now, open the source code of the page, either by clicking on “View page source” in the context menu or by pressing CTRL+U. Select all, and copy the code to your clipboard.

Second, paste the source code into Zotero Report Cleaner. You can find more information about the Cleaner in Zotero’s wiki. By copying and pasting the source code of your HTML report in the cleaner, you will be able to exclude specific fields from your final report. The problem is that, at the time of writing, the website hosting the Cleaner is not working. I suggest you try it by yourself and if you are still presented with an error, come back to this guide.

The Cleaner is a simple PHP file, which you can download from GitHub and run offline in your PC. If you are not sure how to set up a localhost, I suggest you install XAMPP to make the process as easy as possible. Download the program, install it, and open it. Once you are in XAMPP, start the Apache and MySQL modules. Then, copy and paste the report_cleaner.php file in the subfolder \xampp\htdocs. Congratulations, you can now run the Report Cleaner locally in your browser by visiting the URL: http://localhost/report_cleaner.php

I hope you have found this guide useful.

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  1. https://www.zotero.org/support/reports