Chrome Zotero Connector - Save Zotero Snapshot from Current PDF Page


What I like about Zotero in Firefox is the ability to save a Snapshot of a PDF which is opened in the browser.

I just have to right click on a free space in the PDF and have the option "Save to Zotero".

With the Chrome connector the equivalent is not possible. There is not context menu entry.

Can this be implemented?


  • some way to take snapshots that doesn't involve right-clicking in the page is planned for the connectors - most likely an unobtrusive Zotero button somwhere at the top of the browser. Presumably that would take care of the PDF issue as well - devs are definitely aware of the problem saving PDFs from non-Firefox browsers.
  • Thanks Adam.

    Good to hear that an implementation is planned.

  • Any updates on this?

    I am opening PDF documents quite frequently and would appreciate it to add the directly to my collection instead of manually creating an entry and then attaching a local copy of the document.
  • no, not yet, sorry.
  • I think Zotero has to move with the times and (if this is possible) build an app for the Chrome web store. I find that Firefox runs more and more slowly these days. The only reason I continue to use it is because Zotero is integrated with it.

    Is there any prospect of this on the horizon?
  • You can use Zotero Standalone and the Chrome connector

    A full-featured Zotero extension for Chrome is probably not going to happen. Certainly not any time in the foreseeable future.
  • I was really liking the chrome experience...firefox was getting too bloated and slow. I even installed the standalone to try and fix issues. But there's no getting away from the ease of use in Firefox and just clicking the journal article you're reading and saving it to your zotero database. What a pain to switch back to firefox.
  • But there's no getting away from the ease of use in Firefox and just clicking the journal article you're reading and saving it to your zotero database.
    I don't quite understand why you think that's not possible in Chrome?
  • What makes it so difficult to implement the functionality in the connector of saving a PDF when viewed in Chrome directly?
  • If there is no URL bar icon, then there is no metadata associated with the PDF (sometimes if the PDF is displayed in an iframe there will be metadata available). If you just want to import the file, you should be able to drag and drop the URL into Zotero Standalone.

    If possible, we suggest that you avoid doing this and import via URL bar icon (e.g. if you opened the PDF from the publisher's website, you might get the URL baricon on the page where the PDF link was)
  • Sorry, I do not understand what you mean.

    Let's assume I want to add this [1] PDF to my collection.

    Here on my system the PDF opens automatically in a Chrome tab but does not display an URL bar icon. Yet in Firefox I have a right-mouse context menu entry which nonetheless allows me to add the PDF to my collection. This entry is completely missing in Chrome.

  • AFAIK, it is technically not possible to add that option to the PDF context menu.

    In Firefox, you have the option of opening your PDFs either with Firefox's built-in PDF viewer (PDF.js) or a third-party plugin (typically Adobe Reader). If you choose Adobe Reader, then the right-click (context) menu that you get is from Adobe Reader itself. Zotero cannot integrate into that context menu and there will be no option to import into Zotero. If you choose to use the built-in PDF reader, the PDF is actually rendered as an HTML document and displayed natively in Firefox (just like any other web page). Firefox controls the context menu for the page and Zotero is able to integrate into it, so you do get the option to import into Zotero.

    In Chrome, I don't believe there is a built-in PDF viewer, so what you are likely using is the Adobe Reader plugin, which does not allow Zotero to integrate with the context menu. PDF.js viewer is available from the Chrome store, but unfortunately, it looks like, while the option to add to Zotero is available in the context menu, the PDF is imported as and HTML page and is not displayed correctly (we'll see if that can be fixed).

    Having covered the technical details, are you not able to drag and drop the URL from Chrome into Zotero Standalone (since it has to download the PDF, it may take a few seconds for the PDF to show up)?
  • Chrome ships an internal PDF viewer:

    As for the drag and drop of URLs, do you mean the small white paper icon in the URL bar?

    Well, I can drag that to Zotero Standalone but it always adds the PDF to my library and not the selected collection where I dragged it to.
  • You're right about the built-in PDF viewer. Unfortunately, I don't currently see a way for Zotero to integrate into this context menu. I'll take a closer look though.
    As for the drag and drop of URLs, do you mean the small white paper icon in the URL bar?
    Dragging either the icon or the actual URL should do the same thing.
    Well, I can drag that to Zotero Standalone but it always adds the PDF to my library and not the selected collection where I dragged it to.
    I believe you are hitting the same bug as described here:

    This should be fixed in the next Zotero release. However, to clarify, what's actually happening is that the PDF is added to the correct collection, but the view shifts from the current collection to the root of your library. If you then go back to that collection, you will see the PDF there.
  • You are right. It indeed just jumps back to the library but still adds the pdf to the right collection. Good to hear that the bug will be resolved in the next release though.

    Thanks for your help!
  • What a pity. Whilst your suggestion is working great for Standalone on Windows, it does not work on Linux. When I drag the URL it is not placed in the collection, nor in the library.

    Any ideas why?
  • I investigated the issue and another Linux user just confirmed [1] that drag&drop does not work on Linux.

    Can this bug please be fixed?

  • drag&drop in linux is more generally broken - you cannot, e.g. drag attachments from Zotero to a folder (in your file manager) on linux either. This has been broken for a long time, not sure to what degree it's fixable.
  • So who should be adressed to fix the problem?

    Developer of the Desktop Environments, file managers, etc?
  • My guess is that it's mozilla related (Zotero standalone still runs on mozilla software) and super low priority for them (how often do you perform that type of operation in a browser with normal use?), but Dan or Simon would have to confirm
  • edited May 29, 2013
    Do you think it is useful to file a bug report in Mozilla's bug tracker referencing to this thread?
  • No, please don't create Mozilla bug reports based on forum threads here. We report confirmed issues to Mozilla as necessary, but that usually takes significant debugging and either a code snippet or dummy extension to help them reproduce the problem. In this case, I don't think we've look at this in depth in a couple years, so I can't say conclusively what the problem is or whether it could be addressed on our end.
  • (If something can be reproduced within Firefox itself—which may or may not be the case here—that points to a Mozilla problem, of course, but there's usually an existing Mozilla ticket when that's the case.)
  • Hi Dan,

    There is a patch [1] that seems to fix the issue to drag and drop the URL from the browser to Zotero and by doing so save the attachment (either the page or PDF) in the collection.

    The bug report:

    Is this patch compatible to be used for Zotero Standalone on Linux?

  • When that patch makes its way into XULRunner, this will be fixed in the following version of Standalone (assuming it's the same issue). It's possible you could build your own version of Standalone with that patch in the interim, but you'd be on your own for that.

    (Also, not sure if user "quidam" there is you, but as I say above, Zotero users should never post to Mozilla's Bugzilla regarding issues with Zotero.)
  • Excellent. They integrated the patch into upstream:
  • I'm also having issues with getting PDFs attached when using the address-bar icon to add new references to Zotero standalone using the Chrome Connector. Looking forward to an update that fixes this.
  • I just installed Standalone 4.0.9 but it does not support drag&drop yet.

    Has the patch already found its way into upstream of Xulrunner and thus Zotero?
  • quick look at the ticket suggests the patch is targeted for Firefox 25 (and the corresponding xulrunner version), which is in line with their general practice for normal priority patches.
    Unless something changes, that means it'll be in the first Zotero version released after October 29.
  • Wow, that is a long time.

    Thank you for the information. I may try to compile it myself then.
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