3 Ways to install Zotero on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 LTS

Zotero is a reference management system and academic network, here we learn the steps to install Zotero in Linux such as Ubuntu 22.04 Jammy JellyFish or Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa.

Zotero is an open-source and free tool that helps in collecting, organizing, citing, and sharing research. It consists of two components: Zotero standalone (Mac, Windows, Linux) with a plugin for Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari; Zotero web application: computer-independent access to your library, finding and setting up groups on specific topics (see collaboration), making contacts with others. The two components of this tool can be synchronized with each other.

If you are often involved in extensive projects at work or have to write a large-scale work during your studies, you quickly lose track of the sources used. With Zotero, you keep all information together and create a clear library for your project without much effort. It is particularly suitable for literature research on the Internet and the direct transfer of the researched data and works in groups that want to manage literature together.

A note can be stored for each entry. This is useful if you want to comment on some of your content. The footnote function and the citation feature deserve special praise: simply drag and drop a noted book from the Zotero interface and add it to your Word document or e-mail – and the work is correctly identified.

Here are a few key things Zotero can do…

  • Automatic transfer of bibliographic data from one or more books, journal articles, etc. via an icon in the browser’s address line (works with many library catalogs, databases, Google Scholar…)
  • Import via ISBN, DOI, PMID
  • Plugin for Word, OpenOffice, and NeoOffice to add citations in the body text or footnotes and create bibliographies
  • Citations are copied into emails, Google Docs, and other plain-text documents using drag and drop.
  • Import from other literature management programs via numerous exchange formats (Zotero RDF, MODS, BibTeX, RIS, Refer/BibIX, Unqualified Dublin Core RDF)
  • Linking of literature references (e.g. book and individual chapters).
  • Advanced search with the ability to save search queries (results are updated automatically.)
  • And more…


Steps to install Zotero on Ubuntu 22.04 | 20.04 Debian Linux

The steps given here are applicable for all popular Ubuntu and Debian-based Linux systems such as Linux Mint, Elementary OS, MX Linux, POP_OS, and more…

1. Requirements:

Debian or Ubuntu Linux
A non-root sudo user
Browser for Zotero Connector
Internet Connection

#1st way using SNAP:

2. Use Snap to install Zotero

Ubuntu system comes by default with Snap, therefore we can easily use it to install the latest available version. Just open a command terminal and run:

sudo snap install zotero-snap


#2nd way: Installation using Repository:

3. Add Zotero repository in Ubuntu

The latest packages to install Zotero are not available by default from the Ubuntu or Debian repository, therefore, we have to add the one offered by the Zotero community to safely download the packages we required to set it up.

Install curl:

sudo apt install curl -y

Now run the script to add repo:

curl -sL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/retorquere/zotero-deb/master/install.sh | sudo bash


4. Apt Update

First, run the system update to ensure all the packages already installed on the system are up to date; it also refreshes the cache of the added repositories so that the system could recognize the latest package available through them.

sudo apt update


5. Command to install Zotero on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04

Well, now we can install the Zotero using the command terminal and APT package manager. Simply run the given installation command to get the latest version of this reference management system on your Linux system.

sudo apt install zotero


6. Run your research assistant app

Once the installation is done, go to the application launcher and there either go through all Applications or simply search for Zotero in the search box. As soon as the icon of the app appears, click to run the same.

personal research assistant app on Ubuntu


7. Install Zotero Connector on Ubuntu 22.04 | 20.04

After you run the Zotero application, it will provide a few links and one of them is to install Zotero Connector. Just click that, this will open your system’s default browser and let you enable the plugin required for it. It helps the user to add items directly to Zotero as they browse different web pages.

Command to install Zotero on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 Install Zotero Connector


8. How to update or upgrade

As we have added and used a dedicated repository to install Zotero, hence whenever we run the update and upgrade command on the Ubuntu Linux system this will also install any updates available for the application as well.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade


9. Uninstall  or Remove

To completely remove the application, if you don’t want it anymore, run:

sudo apt remove zotero


#2nd way to install Zotero using Tarball file:

10. Download the Zotero Tarball file

Those who are not interested in the 1st method of installing the application using the repository; can directly download its Tarball file.

Visit the official download page and download the Tarball file meant for Linux versions.

Alternatively, you can use, the command:

sudo apt install wget -y

For 64-bit Linux systems

wget "https://www.zotero.org/download/client/dl?channel=release&platform=linux-x86_64" -O zotero64.tar.bz2

For 32-bit Linux systems:

Although new Ubuntu is on 64 bit, in case you are using some old 32-bit version Linux

wget "https://www.zotero.org/download/client/dl?channel=release&platform=linux-i686"  -O zotero32.tat.bz2


11. Extract file

Once you have downloaded the Tarball file using any of the commands given above, now extract the same. If you have used the browser, don’t forget to switch to the Downloads folder first.

tar -xf zotero64.tar.bz2

After extracting move it to /opt directory:

sudo mv Zotero_linux-x86_64 /opt/zotero


12. Create a Desktop shortcut

If you are using the Tarball file, then we have to set the Application Launcher icon manually for this tool.

cd /opt/zotero
sudo ./set_launcher_icon

For Application launcher shortcut:

sudo ln -s /opt/zotero/zotero.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/zotero.desktop

For Desktop shortcut

ln -s /opt/zotero/zotero.desktop ~/Desktop/zotero.desktop

Allow Desktop  shortcut launching:

Right-click on the icon appearing on your desktop and select “Allow Launching“.

Desktop shortcut for Zotero

The downside of using the Tarball file is you cannot update it using the APT package manager; you have to manually replace its files extracted under /opt whenever there is some new release.


In this way, we can set up Zotero on Ubuntu  Linux systems, further with just a few clicks you can also install the Zotero plugin for Word or Open Office. To then insert a citation, you have a button in the Word/OpenOffice menu bar together with the usual buttons, or you can call up the input window for inserting the literature using keyboard shortcuts you have set yourself. If you enter more than one citation, they are automatically sorted alphabetically. For more info refer to the official documentation.  




3 thoughts on “3 Ways to install Zotero on Ubuntu 22.04 or 20.04 LTS”

  1. Hi ! There’s a typo on step 11 “Extract file” : we should read tar -xf zotero64.tar.bz2 and not “tat”.
    Useful tut though, thanks !

  2. Hello, I tried #2 (Ubuntu 22.04), but it doesn’t work. I installed wget and typed all commands, but after “sudo apt install zotero” I get the message “package zotero not found”.

    • Have updated the article, have a look now. Actually, the old URL link to the script has been deprecated, hence, added the new link.


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