Adding PDF to Zotero on iPad - what am I doing wrong?

I think I must be doing something wrong when I want to save an article to Zotero when I'm using my iPad instead of my computer. Here's my procedure:
1. Find article
2. Select Print and select the pages I want to save.
3. Export to Zotero from the Print menu. A file named Safari.pdf appears in Zotero.
4. Click on the Safari.pdf file in Zotero and create parent item as a journal article.
5. Fill in name of article, author, journal, etc. in Zotero and save
6. Check result - discover that PDF is not attached to parent item, and parent item shows only author and year.
7. Find PDF and drag it onto the parent item.
8. Check result again: PDF is attached to parent item and title of article reappears.

It seems to me that step 7 should not be necessary. What am I doing wrong?
  • A couple things:

    1) Note that, whenever possible, you want to be saving to Zotero via the share sheet from the article page in Zotero, not printing a PDF. You shouldn't need to enter metadata manually for most items you add to Zotero — that's one of the main reason to be using Zotero in the first place.

    I'm not even clear what you're doing. Saving a webpage as a PDF and then finding the PDF in Files and saving that to Zotero?

    2) How are you creating the parent item? If you tap and hold on the standalone attachment, select Create Parent Item, enter metadata, and tap Save, you should end up with a parent item and a child attachment, and that's what happens for me.
  • Discovered what I might be doing wrong.

    At the end of step 5, the pdf is attached to the parent item.
    If I click on a different collection and then come back to the item, the pdf is still attached.
    If after, step 5, I click on "back," then the pdf detaches.

    Is this the way it is supposed to work?
  • 1) I'm not saving a webpage as a pdf. I'm going to a website that has pdfs of scholarly journals. I want so save pdfs of just some articles, not the whole volume or issue of the journal. In order to be able to save a pdf of just one article, I have to use the "print" option of the IPad so I can select just some pages. I can then "print" the pdf to Zotero. It goes to Zotero as "safari.pdf" without any metadata being extracted.

    The Zotero app of iOS does not have an option to directly save a pdf of one journal article. If I export directly to Zotero, Zotero saves a link to the pdf of the whole journal issue or volume.

    I usually use Zotero on a PC, and with a PC I can save a pdf and have Zotero pull the metadata. However, I'm going to be traveling and taking an iPad with me but no PC, so I wanted to see how to best use Zotero on an IPad. I realize it does not have all the functions that are available on a PC or Mac.

    2) I am creating the parent item by tapping and holding on the attachment, selecting "Create parent item," entering the metadata, and tapping save. At this point I have a parent item with an attachment. But if I leave that screen by tapping "back," the parent item and attachment separate. I expected that "back" would just take me back to the item list. I do have a workaround, which is tapping on different collection rather than "back."

  • Another approach I've tried is to print a pdf to a file saved on the iPad, and then export the file to Zotero on the iPad. This approach does let me give my own name to the attachment file. But the metadata is not extracted. I have been assuming that metadata extraction is not a feature of the iOS version.
  • P.S. This is from a journal that does not have DOIs on the first page of an article.
    "Easily save items and PDFs from the web to Zotero *via the Share button* in Safari or other apps (other browsers, Twitter, etc.)"
    "Save journal articles, newspaper articles, books, webpages, and more *via the Share button* in Safari and other apps"
  • The share button (which I've been calling the export button) is saving a link to the web page of the pdf rather than saving the pdf as a pdf. There's no way to select and save a portion of a pdf rather than the whole pdf. So I have been bringing up the pdf, hitting the share button, selecting "print" from the menu below, then setting the desired page range, then using the share button to send the selected pdf file to Zotero. Zotero for iOS does not automatically create a parent item and extract metadata, except possiby from certain supported sites (not the one I am using). So I have to create a parent item, and add the article name, journal title, etc. manually.

    If, after entering and saving the information on the parent item, I hit "back," the attachment is disconnected from the parent item. Is this supposed to happen? it doesn't happen if I leave the parent item page by clicking on a different collection in the list at the left.
  • The share button works almost exactly the same as the Zotero Connector on the desktop. You generally want to save from the article page itself, and Zotero will save high-quality metadata and automatically attach a PDF if one is available. It sounds like in this case this either isn't a supported site (you shouldn't get just a "link to the web page" on a supported site) or you're getting a PDF but you only want part of it.
    Zotero for iOS does not automatically create a parent item and extract metadata, except possiby from certain supported sites
    Metadata retrieval isn't supported on iOS currently, no. That doesn't have anything to do with websites.
    If, after entering and saving the information on the parent item, I hit "back,"
    I'm not sure what you mean by "back". There should be a button in the top left with the name of the collection you were in ("All Items" or a collection name). But I can't reproduce the behavior you're describing of the PDF becoming separated from the parent item you just created.

    Can you make a screen recording of this happening, upload it somewhere (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.), and either provide a link here or email a link to with a link to this thread? (We'll respond here either way.)
  • I will do so tomorrow or later this week. Thanks for your offer of help.
  • Sent links to support email.
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