Available for beta testing: Customizable item pane header

edited May 16, 2024
In the latest Zotero 7 beta, we've made it possible to configure what appears in the header at the top of the item pane.

These are the available options:
  • None
  • Title (default)
  • Title, Creator, Year
  • Bibliography Entry (with configurable citation style and language)
This makes it possible to see more info about the item even when the Info section is collapsed, so you might choose to keep Info collapsed and only expand it when editing metadata. Or if you don't care about a header that persists as you scroll down the item pane, you can hide it altogether.

(We've also added the Title field back to the Info section, since its absence there was a bit confusing.)

If you choose "Bibliography Entry" mode, you can use right-click → Copy to copy a formatted bibliography entry to the clipboard, even if Quick Copy is set to something else (e.g., an export format).

You can switch between different modes by right-clicking on the header and using the View As menu.

We've also moved the Locate menu button to the side navigation bar so that the header can take up the full width of the item pane.

Thanks to @migugg and @Greg (and possibly others!) for suggestions that led to this.
  • This is brillant! Absolutely fantastic and works really well! One comment: The "none" option is only available in the "more options"/the preferences. I am curious to hear what the reason for this is? (Also asking because in the post above you list four options, indicating that these are equally useful). I obviously have zero data on this, but I would imagine that users might find the "none" option as useful as the others, so would suggest to add it to the right click menu.

    A connected observation: The "none" option is equal to being able to collapse the field with an arrow, which is available for all the other items (info, abstract, attachment, notes etc) in the right hand column. Would't it make sense to be consistent here and give the header an icon and a downward arrow to be able to collapse the header section as well?

    Also, obviously without having data, and simply extrapolating from my own puzzlement that prompted the initial suggestion, I would suggest to make "title, creator, year" or full bibliography the default rather than "title". I find "title" the least helpful version to have up there. This is particularly true now that the title field has been re-added to the item info.

    In my view, the main reason why I need any info in the header is to make sure that I actually look at the correct item. But in cases where this matters, say if there is both a book and an article by the same author with the same title, then only having the title is of little help.
  • What is really really great is that when choosing "bibliography entry" I can now see immediately in the main window whether a bibliography entry is correct and complete! And I can even see this with info pane collapsed. A massive improvement!
  • One comment: The "none" option is only available in the "more options"/the preferences. I am curious to hear what the reason for this is?
    Because if you choose None, the header disappears and there's no way to add it back from the item pane. If you haven't found the settings (which More Options takes you to), you wouldn't have any idea how to get it back.

    But we could maybe consider adding None there and adding a Show Item Header option to the Info context menu.
    Would't it make sense to be consistent here and give the header an icon and a downward arrow to be able to collapse the header section as well?
    It's not a bad idea, but I think it would be too messy. A collapsed header wouldn't take up any less space than a one-line title, which largely defeats the purpose of being able to hide it. And an icon and arrow would cut into the available width, along with just adding visual clutter to the top of the pane.
    I would suggest to make "title, creator, year" or full bibliography the default rather than "title"
    We definitely wouldn't make "Bibliography Entry" the default — that's just not relevant for many users. We haven't ruled out making "Title, Creator, Year" the default, but I think it has a similar problem.
  • edited May 16, 2024
    OK, I see this all makes sense.

    "But we could maybe consider adding None there and adding a Show Item Header option to the Info context menu. "

    I think this is a good idea.

    "It's not a bad idea, but I think it would be too messy. A collapsed header wouldn't take up any less space than a one-line title, which largely defeats the purpose of being able to hide it. And an icon and arrow would cut into the available width, along with just adding visual clutter to the top of the pane."

    A different idea: how about removing all the titles "info", attachment" etc. that are now visible even if the section is collapsed? The sections are still visible by their icon in the very right. If collpased/made invisible, they could be triggered by clicking on the icons to the right. This would have the further advantage of creating more space in the main text pane?
    Then a much smaller arrow icon (or another icon) could be added to these icons to the right, to make it more obvious that the icons allow to make visible/invisible the relevant columns to the left?
    Now, the icons do two things (if I see correctly): allow to jump to relevant heading, and, by right clicking allow to pin. But pin is also available with right clicking on the headings. But right clicking on headings also allows to expand/collapse. It would be more streamlined/consistent if expand/collapse and pin were available for all items only once and in one place?
  • edited May 16, 2024
    This is really great and helpful especially the full Bibliography Entry.
    1-Is it possible to add an option to quick copy as citation from the right click menu of the header (or shortcut as CTRL + Shift +A working when hovering over header in a way similar to when clicking over tab)?

    2-Is it also possible to add an option of ""copy citation of current page" to the right click menu?

    3-Adding the same options of "copy as bibliography", "copy as citation", "copy citation of current page" to the right click menu of the pdf tab will be also really helpful.

    Sorry for too many demands and thank you very much for all your great efforts and support
  • Ctrl+shift+a just works by virtue of having an item selected, no?
  • edited 29 days ago
    @adamsmith: But Quick Copy might be set to a different style than the header. I don't see us adding an option to copy a citation, though — it makes sense to provide a way to copy the bibliography entry just because it's visible, but starting to copy other things just based on the style that's selected for the header is confusing. That's what Quick Copy is for.
  • Thank you very much for this new feature.

    The format I would like to use would be something like:
    https://s3.amazonaws.com/zotero.org/images/forums/u265723/fnwfxs6iyj61qjrl3xmr.png

    Should this be done through a custom citation style, or is there a simpler way to do it?
    Also more formatting options would be nice, such as colours:
    https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/99951/custom-display-of-the-info-tab-in-the-item-pane
    https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/111373/zotero-7-beta-preview-mode-of-the-info-section-in-the-item-pane

    - The "Title, Creator, Year" view is nice, because it is compact and separates the information in 2 lines, which is easier to read. But I am missing the name of the publication to identify clearly which article it is. And also the Item Type.
    - The "Bibliography Entry" view contains all the information. But I find it very difficult to use, as it takes time to extract the relevant information within a single line format. This format showing all the information on one line is good for a list of references, as all the references follow the same format. But I do not find it suitable to display the information of a single item.
    I would find it more useful to have this "Bibliography Entry" information in a separate section (optional) at the bottom of the Item Pane.
  • edited 29 days ago
    @mjthoraval: You would have to use a custom citation style for that, yes. Turning bibliographic data into an arbitrary formatted string is exactly what CSL is for. ("Bibliography Entry" doesn't inherently "contain all the information" — it contains whatever the citation style you've chosen includes.)

    I don't know if we've tested bibliography entries containing newlines (or if there are any, or if CSL supports that), but let us know if that's not working.
  • I wanted something similar and it works well: https://bsky.app/profile/adam42smith.bsky.social/post/3ksmgel3grs25

    I can share that style later
  • @adamsmith Thank you very much. That looks very nice.
    I was looking into adding a line break in a citation style with the Visual CSL Editor, without success:
    https://editor.citationstyles.org
    The search by example does not seem to accept line breaks:
    https://editor.citationstyles.org/searchByExample/

    Is there an example of a citation style with a line break in the Visual CSL Editor so that I can learn from it? Or will your example by available there?
  • The style (which is quick & dirty -- it's more complicated than necessary, based on APA 6th edition) is available here:
    https://raw.githubusercontent.com/adam3smith/custom-csl/master/bibliography-preview.csl

    Clicking this should prompt Zotero to install it. If you want to work with it in the visual editor, you can cancel the Zotero install and the select all --> copy the code and paste it into the code editor of the visual editor (you can also install it and then copy the code from the Zotero build in Style editor under Tools --> Developer). You'll then be able to modify the style using the visual editor components.
  • This is great!

    The only real downside I could see to the "Bibliography" version is that its harder to quick-edit the title.
  • edited 21 days ago
    Thank you for this change. I think this is a better way of handling item headers.

    A couple suggestions:

    - There should be a faster way to change behavior of the item header from the main menu (an alternative to the right click method). I know there is an option under edit -> settings, but why not also have this option under "view" considering it is a part of the way the interface looks?

    Perhaps: View -> Layout -> Item header -> (copy, view as...)

    - The item header as a static pane should be more visually differentiated from other item panes. Perhaps with a bold outline and/or different background color. In the attached image, a blue outline has been added to the item pane to match the blue outline when selecting an item in the main panel. I made the outline extra bold to emphasize it here, but perhaps a slightly thinner outline might look better.

    https://s3.amazonaws.com/zotero.org/images/forums/u9633166/pz0q0fp8za3tulccq8rx.png
  • This is very helpful, thank you. And thank you @Adam Smith for the preview format as well. I would also echo the request to somehow set the title apart a little bit. Any chance to set the color of the text through the biblio preview format?
  • That's why I made it bold and on its own line -- CSL doesn't do text colors, I'm afraid.
  • This is a huge improvement in usability. Thanks so much.
  • I have to agree with so many here: it's a great feature and improvement! As is the zotero 7 beta in general (just to iterate, from time to time, the gratefulness for all of your work)!
  • Great feature! But the display of fields is messed up when I use the bibliography option.
    https://s3.amazonaws.com/zotero.org/images/forums/u40/jxy42srptl7mn4bcjayp.png
  • @erazlogo: You are probably observing the bug reported here:
    https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/114519/zotero-7-beta-title-field-2nd-one-is-pushing-against-creator-field-and-tabbing-skips-creator
    It is due to the resizing of the Item Pane when using the "Reviewed Author" after another type of creator.
  • @mjthoraval Yes, that's exactly it, thanks! Hopefully it will be fixed soon
  • edited 9 days ago
    @erazlogo it is told in the linked discussion https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/114519/zotero-7-beta-title-field-2nd-one-is-pushing-against-creator-field-and-tabbing-skips-creator that it has been solved in beta 80. Have you tested?

    Sorry, I see now only "tab bugs" were fixed
  • edited 9 days ago
    @iagogv: No, that was about a different bug reported in that thread.
Sign In or Register to comment.