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Zotero Alternatives for Mac

There are many alternatives to Zotero for Mac if you are looking for a replacement. The best Mac alternative is Obsidian. It's not free, so if you're looking for a free alternative, you could try Mendeley or Polar. If that doesn't suit you, our users have ranked more than 50 alternatives to Zotero and many of them are available for Mac so hopefully you can find a suitable replacement. Other interesting Mac alternatives to Zotero are JabRef, DEVONthink, TheBrain and WizNote.

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

    ⚫︎ Support for MarkDownObsidian supports MarkDown for document formatting.
    ⚫︎ Works OfflineObsidian can be used without the need to connect to the internet.
    ⚫︎ No registration requiredYou can use most of the features in Obsidian without registration.
    ⚫︎ Extensible by Plugins/ExtensionsObsidian can be extended with add-ons, plugins and extensions.
    ⚫︎ Dark ModeObsidian supports dark mode for comfortable usage in low light conditions.
    ⚫︎ No TrackingObsidian will not track or use your personal data.
    ⚫︎ Calendar ViewObsidian has a built-in calendar view to have a clear overview of your content over time.
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    Obsidian vs Zotero opinions
    pros, cons and recent comments

    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.

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  2. 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...

    ⚫︎ Real time collaborationMultiple users can work together in Mendeley simultaneously.
    ⚫︎ PDF annotationMendeley support PDF Annotation for highlighting, notes etc
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    Generate Bibliographies in Word and OpenOffice
    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.

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  3. 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.

    ⚫︎ PDF annotationPolar support PDF Annotation for highlighting, notes etc
    ⚫︎ Cloud SyncSync your data (notes, documents, bookmarks, etc.) across your different devices and to the cloud.
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    Captured HTML content available for offline viewing at any time.
    Polar vs Zotero opinions
    Most users think Polar is a great alternative to Zotero.
  4. JabRef icon

    JabRef

    • FreeOpen Source
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Linux
    • Firefox
    • Google Chrome
    • Vivaldi Browser
    • Microsoft Edge

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

    ⚫︎ Full-Text SearchJabRef lets you search for specific words or phrases from inside a document or database.
    ⚫︎ Support for LaTeXJabRef supports LaTeX for text and math equation formatting.
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    JabRef vs Zotero opinions
    Almost everyone thinks JabRef is a great alternative to Zotero.

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

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  5. 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.

    ⚫︎ File TaggingDEVONthink can organize and highlight your files with tags and labels.
    ⚫︎ Support for scriptingDEVONthink supports scripts and macros to automate or customize tasks.
    ⚫︎ Sync Across DevicesDEVONthink can sync your data across devices like your phone, desktop and tablet
    ⚫︎ PDF annotationDEVONthink support PDF Annotation for highlighting, notes etc
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    Screenshot


  6. TheBrain icon

    TheBrain

    • FreemiumProprietary
    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Online
    • Android
    • iPhone
    • Android Tablet
    • iPad

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

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

    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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  7. WizNote icon

    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.

    ⚫︎ Support for MarkDownWizNote supports MarkDown for document formatting.
    ⚫︎ Sync with Google CalendarWizNote can be synchronized with Google Calendar
    ⚫︎ Works OfflineWizNote can be used without the need to connect to the internet.
    ⚫︎ PortableWizNote can be used from a USB stick or similar with no prior installation.
    ⚫︎ Cloud SyncSync your data (notes, documents, bookmarks, etc.) across your different devices and to the cloud.
    ⚫︎ Handwritten NotesWizNote supports writing by hand (or a stylus) and your text will be converted to text.
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    Screenshot
  8. ReadCube Papers icon

    ReadCube Papers

    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Online
    • Android
    • iPhone
    • Android Tablet
    • iPad
    • Google Chrome
    • Firefox
    • Microsoft Edge
    • Safari

    Papers helps you collect and curate the research material that you're passionate about. This award-winning reference manager will improve the way you find, organize, read, cite, and share.

    ⚫︎ PDF annotationReadCube Papers support PDF Annotation for highlighting, notes etc
    ⚫︎ Sync Across DevicesReadCube Papers can sync your data across devices like your phone, desktop and tablet
    ⚫︎ Text to SpeechReadCube Papers allows you to transform written text into spoken text.
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    Screenshot
  9. Paperpile icon

    Paperpile

    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Online
    • Android
    • iPhone
    • Android Tablet
    • iPad
    • Google Chrome
    • Microsoft Office Word
    • Google Drive
    • Google Drive - Docs
    • Google Scholar

    Organize your research papers in a Gmail-like web app, sync your PDFs to Google Drive and cite your references in Google Docs.

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    Screenshot
    Paperpile vs Zotero opinions
    pros, cons and recent comments

    It is an amazing software and has many great features when compared to Zotero

    Positive comment ago
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  10. EndNote icon

    EndNote

    • Mac
    • Windows
    • Online
    • iPhone
    • iPad

    A reference management software, used for searching online publication databases, & managing publications / bibliographies, with the ability to insert the references into a word processor.

    ⚫︎ PDF annotationEndNote support PDF Annotation for highlighting, notes etc
    ⚫︎ Real time collaborationMultiple users can work together in EndNote simultaneously.
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    Screenshot
    EndNote vs Zotero opinions
    pros, cons and recent comments
    JohnFastman

    Unfortunately, in terms of sheer functionality and completeness as a reference manager, EndNote is probably the best. Unfortunately, because it's very expensive, it's not open source and it doesn't work on Linux. But the level of customization over citation styles, and the integration with MS Word make it a default for many. In my estimation, 90%+ of researchers would find enough in Zotero not to have to pay for End Note.

    Positive comment ago
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    5

    this is the program that the journals ask to make references using it

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Showing 10 of 31 alternatives