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Placeholders and wildcards

There are both placeholders (e.g. {{citekey}}) and wildcards (e.g. %(citekey) for all fields.

So when should you use them on your templates?

  • {{placeholders}} are a quick way to get - <name of field>: <field content> and allows you to apply some formatting.
  • %(wildcards)% are the raw contents of that field.

Another important distinction is that {{placeholders}} are removed from your template if the item you're exporting doesn't have them, while %(wildcards) will be left there, and therefore should be used sparingly for things you know all items will have, e.g. title, authors, citekey, etc.


Item placeholders#

You can add a {{placeholder}} for any item field in your templates. Fields are formatted in camel case, so make sure you find the right field in Zotero's API.

During export, any placeholder that is not a match for the selected item or that is blank will not be included in the markdown file.

In addition to Zotero's supported fields, Mdnotes adds a few placeholders for an item:

  • {{itemType}} - The Zotero item type.
  • {{citekey}} - The citekey (requires the Better Bibtex plugin).
  • {{collections}} - A list of collections an item belongs to.
  • {{related}} - A list of related items.
  • {{tags}} - The list of tags for the selected item.
  • {{pdfAttachments}} = A list of links to any PDF attachments.
  • {{localLibrary}} = The zotero:// link to an item.
  • {{cloudLibrary}} = If you use Zotero sync, the link to that item in your cloud library.
  • {{dateAdded}} - The date the item was added to your library.
  • {{notes}} - A list of all the titles of all the child notes.
  • {{mdnotesFileName}} - The name of the default mdnotes file (following the naming convention).
  • {{metadataFileName}} - The name of the Zotero metadata file (following the naming convention).

Adding a new placeholder#

After setting up your templates, adding a new placeholder is as simple as adding the placeholder in the template you for your exports. For example, adding {{publicationTitle}} to your template will include the correct field for journals.

Zotero Metadata

The placeholder will use the default formatting, unless you add a new formatting rule.

Note placeholders#

Mdnotes supports the following placeholders for Zotero notes:

  • {{mdnotesFileName}} - The filename for the mdnotes file according to the file naming convention.
  • {{metadataFileName}} - The filename for a Zotero Item export according to the file naming convention.
  • {{noteTitle}} - The note's title (usually the first line).
  • {{noteContent}} - The contents of the note, translated to markdown as defined in the preferences
  • {{related}} - A list of related items.
  • {{tags}} - The list of tags for the selected note.

Custom placeholders#

Much like adding new field placeholders, it is possible to add custom placeholders. For this you'll need to add new formatting rules. There are two main types of custom placeholders depending on their contents:

  • those that get their content from a Zotero field, in which case you need to define which field to get the contents from: zotero_field: <fieldName>.


    To define an additional placeholder that formats the authors as a list, named {{authorList}}, you should add a preference with the following:




    {"content":"List of Authors:\n\t- {{field_contents}}", "zotero_field":"author", "list_separator": "\n\t- ",}

    Note that your template can use both the default field placeholder {{author}} and your custom placeholder {{authorList}}.

  • those that have pre-defined contents, which need a custom_content: <content> definition


    To define a custom placeholder for {{Earth}}, you should add a preference with the following:




    {"custom_content":"Mostly harmless"}

When specifying custom placeholders, the preference name shouldn't match a Zotero field.


A %(wildcard) uses the same logic as the placeholder, but only includes the content of a Zotero field without any formatting. Keep in mind that any fields not included in a Zotero item will not be deleted from your file.