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What are the best Zotero alternatives?

Zotero is described as 'free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, share research and cite your research sources directly in your favourite word processor, with 300 MB free online storage' and is a very popular research manager in the web browsers category. There are more than 50 alternatives to Zotero for a variety of platforms, including Mac, Windows, Online / Web-based, iPhone and iPad. The best alternative is Obsidian. It's not free, so if you're looking for a free alternative, you could try Mendeley or Qiqqa. Other great apps like Zotero are Polar, DEVONthink, JabRef and TheBrain.

Zotero alternatives are mainly Research Managers but may also be Note-taking Tools or Document Managers. Filter by these if you want a narrower list of alternatives or looking for a specific functionality of Zotero.
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Zotero iconZotero
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  • Mac
  • Windows
  • Linux
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Google Chrome
  • Safari
  • Microsoft Office Word
  • Google Drive - Docs
  • LibreOffice
  • Firefox

Zotero is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, share research and cite your research sources directly in...

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  1. Obsidian icon

    Obsidian

    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Android
    • iPhone
    • Android Tablet
    • iPad
    144 alternatives to Obsidian 

    Powerful knowledge base that works on top of a local folder of plain text Markdown files.

     Suggest and vote on features
    Features
    1.  Support for MarkDownObsidian supports MarkDown for document formatting.
    2.  Works OfflineObsidian can be used without the need to connect to the internet.
    3.  No registration requiredYou can use most of the features in Obsidian without registration.
    4.  Extensible by Plugins/ExtensionsObsidian can be extended with add-ons, plugins and extensions.
    5.  Dark ModeObsidian supports dark mode for comfortable usage in low light conditions.
    6.  No TrackingObsidian will not track you or use your personal data.
    7.  Support for LaTeXObsidian supports LaTeX for text and math equation formatting.
    8.  Kanban BoardObsidian allows you to organize your workflow by moving cards with drag-and-drop functionality between multiple columns.
    9.  PortableObsidian can be used from a USB stick or similar with no prior installation.
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    Obsidian vs Zotero opinions
    pros, cons and recent comments
    Guest

    Obsidian does not have a good pdf reader like zotero. Moreover Obsidian doesn't import things up like zotero and doesn't help in managing references. In fact Obsidian can complement Zotero and work as an alternative to MS Word. But overall Obsidian is lightweight but wacky clumsy tool for writing.

    Negative comment ago
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    1
  2. Mendeley icon

    Mendeley

    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Online
    67 alternatives to Mendeley 

    Mendeley helps manage and share academic knowledge: Mendeley Desktop is free academic software (Windows, Mac, Linux) for organizing and sharing research papers and generating bibliographies with 1GB of free online storage to automatically back up and synchronize your library...

     Suggest and vote on features
    Features
    1.  Real time collaborationMultiple users can work together in Mendeley simultaneously.
    2.  PDF annotationMendeley support PDF Annotation for highlighting, notes etc
    Generate Bibliographies in Word and OpenOffice
    Annotate PDFs
    Sync from Zotero
    Mendeley vs Zotero opinions
    Most users think Mendeley is a great alternative to Zotero.
    JohnFastman

    Mendeley differs from Zotero like this: 1) It is not open source, but it's still free (as in beer); 2) it has better features for annotating pdf files; 3) It emphasizes connections between academics working in similar areas, which helps in discovery of references. Zotero doesn't do that. However, Zotero is better at extracting meta data from pdf files and has the superior browser plugin.

    Positive comment ago
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    24


  3. Qiqqa icon

    Qiqqa

    • Windows
    53 alternatives to Qiqqa 

    Qiqqa is a free research and reference manager. Search for, read and annotate your PDFs. Then review your work, write up and create bibliographies instantly.

     Suggest and vote on features
    Features
    1.  PDF annotationQiqqa support PDF Annotation for highlighting, notes etc
    2.  Full-Text SearchQiqqa lets you search for specific words or phrases from inside a document or database.
    3.  File TaggingQiqqa can organize and highlight your files with tags and labels.
    4.  Support for LaTeXQiqqa supports LaTeX for text and math equation formatting.
    5.  PortableQiqqa can be used from a USB stick or similar with no prior installation.
    6.  Real time collaborationMultiple users can work together in Qiqqa simultaneously.
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    Qiqqa vs Zotero opinions
    Most users think Qiqqa is a great alternative to Zotero.
    phytographer

    Qiqqa does not have:

    1. Chrome connector for gathering citations
    2. Google Docs integration
    3. LibreOffice Integration
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    Guest

    They both manage PDFs and allow you to do reference management and bilbiographies.

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    altenativeto

    The open source transparency and the WebDav sync make Zotero a better option for Users with a certain degree of Data control/ privacy needs.

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    -2
  4. Polar icon

    Polar

    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Electron / Atom Shell
    • Chrome OS
    69 alternatives to Polar 

    Polar is a powerful desktop app for managing all your web content, books, and notes. Polar keeps all your content in one place, supports tagging, annotation, highlighting and keeps track of your reading progress.

     Suggest and vote on features
    Features
    1.  PDF annotationPolar support PDF Annotation for highlighting, notes etc
    2.  Cloud SyncSync your data (notes, documents, bookmarks, etc.) across your different devices and to the cloud.
    3.  Built-in viewerPolar shows you a quick preview of an image, page or file in supported formats.
    Captured HTML content available for offline viewing at any time.
    Document repository for tagging and managing your documents.
    Polar vs Zotero opinions
    Most users think Polar is a great alternative to Zotero.
  5. DEVONthink icon

    DEVONthink

    • Mac
    • iPhone
    • iPad
    159 alternatives to DEVONthink 

    DEVONthink is a solution to the digital age conundrum. It is your second brain, the one and only database for all your digital files, be they PDFs, emails, Word docs or even multimedia files.

     Suggest and vote on features
    Features
    1.  File TaggingDEVONthink can organize and highlight your files with tags and labels.
    2.  Dark ModeDEVONthink supports dark mode for comfortable usage in low light conditions.
    3.  Support for scriptingDEVONthink supports scripts and macros to automate or customize tasks.
    4.  PDF annotationDEVONthink support PDF Annotation for highlighting, notes etc
    5.  Ad-freeDEVONthink doesn't contain any form of external advertising.
    6.  OCRExtract the text from a screen capture or file and paste it into another document for edits.
    7.  Cloud SyncSync your data (notes, documents, bookmarks, etc.) across your different devices and to the cloud.
    8.  Full-Text SearchDEVONthink lets you search for specific words or phrases from inside a document or database.
    9.  Support for MarkDownDEVONthink supports MarkDown for document formatting.
    Screenshot
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  6. JabRef icon

    JabRef

    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Firefox
    • Google Chrome
    • Vivaldi Browser
    • Microsoft Edge
    40 alternatives to JabRef 

    Bibliography reference manager. The native file format used by JabRef is BibTeX, the standard LaTeX bibliography format.

     Suggest and vote on features
    Features
    1.  Full-Text SearchJabRef lets you search for specific words or phrases from inside a document or database.
    2.  Support for LaTeXJabRef supports LaTeX for text and math equation formatting.
    3.  AutocompletionJabRef can predict and complete the rest of a word or phrase you're typing.
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    JabRef vs Zotero opinions
    Almost everyone thinks JabRef is a great alternative to Zotero.
    Guest

    Open source, clean, robust. Works best with BibTex/Latex environment.

    Positive comment ago
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    2
  7. TheBrain icon

    TheBrain

    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Online
    • Android
    • iPhone
    • Android Tablet
    • iPad
    130 alternatives to TheBrain 

    TheBrain helps you organize all your Web pages, contacts, documents, emails and files in a context-driven visual map.

     Suggest and vote on features
    Features
    1.  Cloud SyncSync your data (notes, documents, bookmarks, etc.) across your different devices and to the cloud.
    2.  PortableTheBrain can be used from a USB stick or similar with no prior installation.
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    TheBrain vs Zotero opinions
    pros, cons and recent comments
    Guest

    TheBrain is a non-linear visual mapping tool. It is not first and foremost a reference manager. I own it, and use it, and it's never struck me as a good alternative to Zotero.

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    InfinitlyZero

    Simply not a viable alternative.

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    Guest

    It is not a simple research management tool like Zotero. At least it is for me.

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    0
  8. Paperwork icon

    Paperwork

    • Windows
    • Linux
    22 alternatives to Paperwork 

    Paperwork is a personal document manager for scanned documents (and PDFs).

     Suggest and vote on features
    Features
    1.  PortablePaperwork can be used from a USB stick or similar with no prior installation.
    2.  OCRExtract the text from a screen capture or file and paste it into another document for edits.
    Screenshot
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  9. WizNote icon

    WizNote

    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Online
    • Android
    • iPhone
    • Windows S
    • Android Tablet
    • BSD
    • Windows Phone
    • iPad
    310 alternatives to WizNote 

    WizNote is a Note software, which is especially designed for Internet users and mobile Internet users. WizNote focuses more on notes of rapid collection, management, reading and sharing. WizNote is smaller, more stable, and more suitable for computers, phones and mobile devices.

     Suggest and vote on features
    Features
    1.  Support for MarkDownWizNote supports MarkDown for document formatting.
    2.  Sync with Google CalendarWizNote can be synchronized with Google Calendar
    3.  Works OfflineWizNote can be used without the need to connect to the internet.
    4.  PortableWizNote can be used from a USB stick or similar with no prior installation.
    5.  Calendar IntegrationWizNote lets you sync your tasks and events with your calendar application.
    6.  Cloud SyncSync your data (notes, documents, bookmarks, etc.) across your different devices and to the cloud.
    7.  Handwritten NotesWizNote supports writing by hand (or a stylus) and your text will be converted to text.
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  10. BibSonomy icon

    BibSonomy

    • Online
    67 alternatives to BibSonomy 

    BibSonomy is a system for sharing bookmarks and lists of literature (BibTex format).

     Suggest and vote on features
    Features
    1.  Real time collaborationMultiple users can work together in BibSonomy simultaneously.
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Showing 10 of 63 alternatives
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