Prevent Zotero from auto-opening in Firefox 4 in tab mode

The Zotero (2.1 RC2) tab automatically opens every time I start Firefox 4. How can I prevent this?

I prefer to use tab mode, but I only want to have the tab open when I'm actually using Zotero. Most of the time I'm not.
  • You can set Zotero to load in a browser pane in the preferences, and open it and click the Toggle Tab Mode button in the upper right when you want to use it.
  • In other words, you're saying that it is impossible what I'm asking for. That's a bit disappointing, it really doesn't make any sense for most users to have Zotero open *all the time*.
  • It doesn't load until you click on it, so it's not really open all the time any more than the Zotero pane is open all the time, and it takes up about 20px x 20px of horizontal space in the tab bar instead of the whole window width x 20px of vertical space in the add-ons bar. This is what app tabs are designed for.
  • edited March 15, 2011
    Except app tabs are not forced on you ... I can't make it not an app tab and have the problem gone, like in Fx 3.6.

    I still think it's bad design. Apparently everyone else who uses my computer sooner or later ends up with a window with only the Zotero tab in it, staring at my paper collection.

    I was very happy to be able to have Zotero as a tab, but it appears that since I switched to Firefox 4, that's impossible without additional unnecessary annoyances...
  • Apparently everyone else who uses my computer sooner or later ends up with a window with only the Zotero tab in it, staring at my paper collection.
    If you're concerned about that, other users of your computer shouldn't be using your Firefox profile and/or your system user account.

    Nobody is forcing you to use tab mode as the default. As Simon noted above, you can have Zotero load in a pane and open it in a tab when you want to with a button click or keyboard shortcut.
  • I'm of course not concerned about that, it's just papers. But it's confusing for other people, and unnecessary.
  • Well, you did bring it up. I'm just saying that that's not something we would give much weight to in any design decision, because there are adequate mechanisms for separate user access in both Firefox and all modern OSes.
  • I think this is a fair point by Szabolcs - I too would like to keep Zotero out of the way until needed. Perhaps just a regular bookmark would be good, if technically possible?
    Thanks for all the hard work
  • The app tab feature is great, but I'd also like an option to not have the app tab present at Firefox's startup. I currently have the Zotero button in my Navigation Bar. If the app tab wasn't present by default, I could click on the Zotero button when I wanted to access it. (This appears to be the current behavior if I close the app tab: the Navigation Bar button will reopen it.) This would be more in keeping with the way I access Zotero when it's in a browser pane: the pane is completely out of my way until I want it.
    Would it be possible to add a checkbox to the Zotero Prefrences window? Underneath the "zotero", "Z", "none" selection for the Status bar icon, could there be a checkbox for "Separate tab present at startup"? When unchecked, it would cause the behavior Szabolcs, Roger, and I are looking for.
  • edited April 8, 2011
    I was expecting a similar behavior from Zotero's "tab mode", without realizing that it is actually an "app-tab mode". As such, it is actually working correctly.

    I think this should be more of a feature request for a "tab mode" which does not require Zotero to be an app-tab, that is, the possibility to open a tab containing chrome://zotero/content/tab.xul in different ways, e.g. from a bookmark or toolbar button.

    This would be consistent with how other xul pages in Firefox behave, for example chrome://mozapps/content/extensions/extensions.xul or chrome://browser/content/preferences/cookies.xul

    Please note that bookmarking the Zotero tab is a natural action for those who choose to disable the "Tab on top" option in Fx4 and thus can always see the address bar. At the moment, reopening this bookmark has various effect ranging from opening Zotero to silently crashing Firefox.

    As Zotero is already contained in a xul page, I believe most of the changes required would be restricted to the initialization code (which might already need some work), making this a feasable improvement.
  • No, it is not working like an app tab. If I close an app tab, it won't come back on browser restart. Zotero does come back. I wish it behaved like a normal app-tab.
  • Well, there's no way for a site app tab to come back without your navigating back to the site and manually recreating the app tab, so that's not entirely relevant. The point is that app tabs are intended to be semi-permanent and present when you start Firefox.

    But it seems like there are basically two requests here:

    1) An option to have Zotero, when set to tab mode, not create an app tab on window open, and instead to have Zotero create an app tab if one doesn't exist when Zotero is opened via a button or keyboard shortcut.

    2) The ability to open Zotero in a normal tab (including via a bookmark).
  • How do people manage to open Z in a tab automatically on restart? I've been trying to make that happen, but it doesn't work for me.

    I also asked about this on another thread:

    Would it be possible to create a shortcut for "Create New Item from Current Page" to work in a tab mode? Currently I have to click on shift/command/z to get to the Z tab, then command/shift/f to exit the tab mode, then click on the "Create New Item from Current Page" button. It would be nice if this could be done in one shortcut.

    Is this possible?
  • About the first question, you have to select "Separate tab" under Zotero's Preferences\General.

    The second is just thread hijacking...
  • edited April 8, 2011
    Szabolcs, I'm not sure you understand what an app tab is.
    All of the App Tabs you have set when you close Firefox will open as App Tabs when you start Firefox again.
    There are two options for adding another tab behavior. We could either play tricks with the app tab functionality, to prevent it from showing up on restart (although Command/Ctrl-W still won't work, because it's an app tab), or we could just not pin the tab and make Zotero open as a normal tab (which takes up as much space in the tab bar as any other tab, disappears during scrolling, and isn't pinned to the left side of the tab bar). If people can decide which they want, we can do one of these, although probably not until the next major Zotero release.

    The problem with making

    open a Zotero tab is that you could potentially make very funky things happen, like have multiple Zotero tabs in a window, or a Zotero tab and a Zotero pane, or something else strange. In this case, it would be unclear which collection items would be saved into. I'm also not sure what the use case would be. f.figari, you are aware that if you customize the Firefox toolbar, there is a Zotero button to any toolbar you wish, right?
  • It sounds like Dan and Simon are both proposing the same two options. I'd be happy to see either (or both) of them implemented. If anyone is interested in my personal preference, I'd lean slightly towards making Zotero open in a normal tab. I tend to open Zotero in it's own Firefox window, so the extra space it would take up on the tab bar doesn't bother me.

    Also, part of my problem with the current app tab approach is that I get an app tab in every Firefox window I have open. Simon, with the app tab "tricks" that you're talking about, if I open Zotero in one Firefox window, then I open up a new Firefox window, would a Zotero app tab automatically appear in the new window? I'd rather have all new Firefox windows open without an app tab.
  • If these changes happen, it would be nice to keep a preference option for the current way the tab works.
  • I too would like to stop Zotero from auto-opening an app tab every time I start Firefox. I started using Zotero on Firefox 3, but switched to Firefox 4 recently and do not like this "feature." Before I upgraded to Firefox 4, I would open Zotero in a tab by clicking on a toolbar button and then close the Zotero tab when I was done using it. Now that I have upgraded, I find myself wanting to close the app tab every time the browser opens.

    I really like Zotero's tab mode, so I don't want to give that up. However, I don't really want Zotero open as an app tab all the time. Sure nobody is "forcing" me to use the tab mode, but I find it mildly irritating that these two features (tab mode and auto open app tab) are being combined into one preference.
    1) An option to have Zotero, when set to tab mode, not create an app tab on window open, and instead to have Zotero create an app tab if one doesn't exist when Zotero is opened via a button or keyboard shortcut.
    I would definitely support this feature with one minor change. How about having Zotero create normal tab (if one is not already open) and then let the user pin it themselves if they want it to be an app tab? This way the user is given maximum flexibility.
  • I have the same issue (Zotero forcing itself as a full app tab on browser restart and forgetting that I want it to stay in the "sidebar" mode). Has anyone filed a feature request for this yet?
  • Nope, I haven't submitted a feature request. (Don't know what's the best way to submit a feature request around here.) After thinking about the situation some more, I would like to throw out another suggestion:

    Currently there are only two options for loading Zotero: browser pane and separate tab. It seems that the best solution would be to add a third option to load in an app tab. So in this new solution the browser pane option would behave the same as it does now, the separate tab option would cause Zotero in Fx4 to behave like the current version does in Fx3.6, and the app tab option would cause Zotero to behave like it currently does in Fx4. This way users can have more control over how they load Zotero.

    At any rate, those who want to temporarily add the Fx3.6 tab behavior to Fx4 + Zotero 2.1.7 can unpack zotero.jar and comment out lines 59 and 295 of overlay.js. It will completely disable Zotero's app tab feature and cause it to behave as it did before the app tab stuff was added in. This is just a temporary fix which will need to be done every time a new version of Zotero is released. IMHO the user should be able to specify the desired behavior in the preferences though.
  • If you posted to the forums, you "submitted" a feature request.
  • So after doing a little code modification in Zotero 2.1.8, I was able to implement the solution mentioned in my last post. So now the "Load Zotero in" preference in my modded version has three radio buttons: Browser Pane, Separate Tab, and App Tab. The options seem to work fine, so I would like to submit the modified code so it can be included in a future version of Zotero. With this in mind, how do I go about submitting my code for review?
  • post to the dev list at
    you should post the modified code somewhere suitable, like github or so.
  • Just sent the message to the dev list. Hopefully this feature will be integrated into the next version of Zotero.
  • FYI, we've applied voxel's patch on the trunk, and the changes will be available in the Zotero 3.0 beta.
  • edited May 6, 2012
    I dont know if the moderator or developer will pick this up. I personally need zotero to load on startup when it is pinned as App tab DESPERATELY. I have a habit to use ALT+1 for gmail, ALT+2 google calendar, ALT+3 for zotero for quick switching. However, zotero does not load on firefox startup. To show consistency and intuition of firefox user experience, pinned App tab should by load on startup by default. To give flexibility to others who wish to go against the nature, I think it is necessary to provide a radio button in the preference settings to toggle this feature.
  • If you are running Zotero 3.0.x it's already there. Gear menu -> Preferences -> General, it's the top radio box setting in the panel.
  • I have played around with getting Zotero automatic start to stop upon opening firefox! In the firefox menu "Add Ons" -> "Extensions" -> "Disable". Zotero will no longer start upon opening firefox.

    Downside: if you want to use Zotero, you will need to enable it in the same way you disabled it, and then restart your firefox browser.

    Hope this helps.
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