Feature request: ability to print

Sometimes I get the feeling that Zotero restricts its functionality narrowly to the citation side of things, when in fact people use it for all kinds of research-related functions, for instance, for keeping track of the multiple relevance of indvidual articles, something that Zotero is particularly useful for tracing.

But as a reseach archive it appears to be handicapped by its inability to print. Have I got this right? It seems that I am unable to use Zotero to print out articles.

I do not always want to use my computer as a medium for reading articles. Sometimes I want to print the article out on paper so that I can read it on paper, and notate the article with pen and ink. To date I have been completely unable to figure out how to print out the articles that I have collected in Zotero. I am finding it hard, actually, to believe that Zotero really has this limitation. Why would this be? Anyway, I would be most grateful for someone to tell me whether I have correctly understood this - is there really this limitation? Or is there some magic way that I can use Zotero to print my article collection?
  • I don't fully understand your problem. Have you tried File -> Print?
  • An example: a 47pp article by Alexander Cuthbert "Urban Design: Requiem for an era." I can read it well enough, but when I press "File | Print" It will only print 10 lines, all headers, on one sheet of paper. Another user has reported a similar but not identical problem: https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/99016/printing-from-zotero
  • You do not experience this problem? I assumed it was an inherent defect, inherent that is to Zotero. Why did I assume that? Because I have two machines, one desktop and one Thinkpad laptop, and exactly the same problem happens with both machines.
  • edited September 4, 2023
    I can print from Zotero but I open the pdf format file first and print from the viewer in my OS.
  • I'm a bit confused by that. Almost every article I have archived in Zotero is in pdf format, and displays the little pdf symbol. So when I open the article, which I invariably do before trying to print it, I open it in pdf. So I don't think that not having opened the article in pdf can be reason why I cannot print it, since that is what I always do, I too use the viewer supplied by Zotero to read the article and to attempt to print it (Ithink that is what you mean when you say you print from "the viewer in my OS"). So I believe we are proceeding in exactly the same way but getting a completely different result. I wonder why that is.

  • edited September 4, 2023
    When posting here, please just report the problem you're experiencing in a straightforward manner and skip the rest. We'll tell you if what you're experiencing is normal.

    We need a Report ID and a link to the PDF that's giving you trouble.
  • When I complain that I cannot print, I get no response. So that hasn't been my experience.

    I don't know what you mean by "we need a report ID". Could you express that in a straightforward manner, because I don't understand it.

    How can I link to the PDF that's giving me trouble, since it is on my machine?

  • Sorry, I didn't realise there underlined words were links, hence my remark about the Report ID. I might mention that the section on the Report ID refers to using the Help Menu but doesn't say where the Help Menu is.
  • edited September 4, 2023
    When I complain that I cannot print, I get no response. So that hasn't been my experience.
    What are you talking about? You created a "How to print" thread today for the first time and then posted a follow-up comment less than an hour later saying "Am I somehow giving too little information?", as if it was unreasonable that you hadn't received a response in 51 minutes. And then you opened this thread less than 6 hours later, which is another violation of our guidelines. Please read through that page and reconsider your approach here.
    How can I link to the PDF that's giving me trouble, since it is on my machine?
    You can either link to where you got the PDF from, or you can email it to support@zotero.org with a link to this thread.
    I might mention that the section on the Report ID refers to using the Help Menu but doesn't say where the Help Menu is.
    Are you deliberately trying to be difficult here? You know what a menu is — you already referred to the File menu. The Help menu is in the same menu bar, like in any other program with a menu bar.
  • But my comment from last August (in the thread you linked to: https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/comment/414700/#Comment_414700) still applies: while printing directly should work, the PDF reader Zotero uses doesn't always produce the best print results. I always print using Adobe or a similar standalone PDF viewer for printing (same, btw, as with opening PDFs in a browser)
  • Thanks, that's a useful comment. I'll try that.

  • Adam, could I ask you how you get your documents to Adobe? I can't seem to manage it. I highlight the document, but I don't know what the next step would be,
  • See the linked comment: sho right-click, show file, then double click (if you do this a.lot, I believe there's also an add-on that adds this as an option on right click.
  • As @adamsmith mentions, the following plugin adds right click 'Open PDF in External Viewer".
  • This is a tantalising thread! It seems the retorquere plugin Tim links to would enable printing, e.g. in Adobe. But when I click through to https://github.com/retorquere/zotero-open-pdf I see it is way above my capacities - I don't know how to install the plugin. Could some generous soul explain what steps need to be taken?
  • edited September 5, 2023
    To install a plugin in Zotero, download its .xpi file to your computer. Then, in Zotero, click “Tools → Add-ons” and drag the .xpi onto the Add-ons window.

    You can find the .xpi file following the link to the latest release of the plugin, as indicated in the README.md displayed on the main page of the plugin:
    Install by downloading the latest version

    But read carefully the warning in the README.md:
    Modifying PDFs outside of Zotero (e.g., deleting, moving, or rotating pages) may result in inconsistencies with Zotero-created annotations!

    Rotating and deleting individual pages can be done safely from the thumbnails tab of the Zotero PDF reader sidebar. Please consult Zotero's support pages about using an external PDF reader.
  • Thanks. I have successfully downloaded retorquere's XPI file to my laptop. But I can't seem to find "Tools - Add-ons" and the Add-ons window. Most grateful if someone could tell me where this is.
  • Again, Tools is a top menu item in Zotero, add-ons is listed in it
  • Sorry, I just don't know where these top menu items are. In my Zotero, I see on the top menu: Web library | Groups | Documentation | Forums | Get Involved. I don't see any "Tools". I wish I did, but I don't.
  • You need to actually install Zotero. You are just looking at the website
  • Really? I have downloaded Zotero. I have installed the connector. When I log in I am welcomed by name. I have a considerable library of articles in Zotero. Now I discover I haven't actually installed it! Where do I find out how to do that?
  • OK I see that, and have found "Tools", for which thank you. But I am completely puzzled. All my saved articles are in the website. I have no idea how to get Zotero proper in my PC, I can't be reinstalling Zotero every time I want to use it.
  • You just install once, like any other software?
  • OK now I have found it. So now I have two Zoteros - the web site, which contains all the articles I have bookmarked, and Zotero proper (that's the one with the menu which contains "Tools"). I never knew this one existed before today. So now the issue seems to be getting all these articles from the web site (where it is called "Web Library") to Zotero proper.
  • See post right above yours
  • I understand that you have entered some items in your Zotero account that you can see in your online library. Now you want to see them in your desktop application.

    After installing Zotero on your PC, you need to login to your account in the desktop application. Go to the top menu bar, Edit->Preferences-> Sync tab and enter your login information in there. After that, the desktop application will sync your data and you should see the same data in your desktop application as in the web library.
  • Great. Now that is a helpful comment! Thank you so much. I am going to have to download all these help files and read through them, because it seems that Zotero is not really usable "intuitively", at least not by me, one has to do one's homework, which is not (to use the phrase everyone keeps using) "like any other software".
  • edited September 6, 2023
    You just got a confusing start.

    Well over a million (actually probably several millions of) people use Zotero "like any other software" application. In no more than an hour you can become familiar --even proficient -- in Zotero's importing references, managing files, inserting citations into a word processor document and automatically building a bibliography. Other more powerful aspects of his tool will take a bit more time but not very much more time.

    You became confused and annoyed when you tried to do things with the web interface version -- things that are not possible there. The online interface is useful but it is, right now, primarily a handy adjunct to the main Zotero application that resides on your computer.
Sign In or Register to comment.