Warning needed when closing Zotero with embedded file open

Until recently, all my attachments have been external to Zotero, connected with links. Only recently have I moved to unlimited storage, a decision I should have made long ago. The time savings is worth every cent.

I have one complication. I move between two computers regularly. I had not thought about the possible complication if I open a PowerPoint from inside Zotero, and forget and close Zotero before I finish the PowerPoint work for that session. An older version of the PowerPoint is synced to the Zotero Cloud. If I start my next work session at the other computer, I will be working on the wrong version. I think this caused a syncing corruption recently.

Can Zotero be programmed to warn me, if I close it with an embedded attachment still open?
  • No, we have no way of knowing if the file is open in another program.

    But we don't recommend storing editable documents like this in Zotero. We have no way of reconciling changes you make on multiple computers between syncs, so it's very easy to end up with file conflicts or potentially lost data. (This was a problem with PDFs before Zotero 6, and still applies if you open PDFs outside of Zotero and annotate them, which is why Zotero's own annotations are stored separately from the file. But PDFs were also edited much less frequently than Office files.)

    If you were going to include those in your library for easy access, that would in fact be an appropriate use of linked files. And for multi-computer access, you might want to consider Microsoft's own solution (OneDrive) for that.
  • Thanks, Dan. I'll remove such files and include a warning in my Z7 book.
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