Unresponsive fields in Word


I have some troubles with the word file that is my PhD thesis. Somehow I am not able to add or edit references any longer. When trying to add a reference nothing happens. When trying to edit an existing reference, the standard interface opens and I can change information (e.g. the page range). But afterwards nothing happens and the field is not updated. Adding and editing references in new documents works fine.

I have already tried to go through the nine steps of the “Debugging broken documents” section at https://www.zotero.org/support/word_processor_plugin_troubleshooting but to no avail. Concerning point five, I am not even able to switch to a different bibliography style. When arriving at step seven, I have submitted error report ID 968135177 (note that FF crashed too at some point… I don’t think both instances share any causal relationship, however ;-).

The file is saved in a MS Word 2003 format. I am using Windows 7, Firefox 34.0, and Zotero I am not sure where to look up the version number of the Word plugin, but I think all this information is included in the error report anyway, right? I use a script blocker in FF (NoScript but disabling it did not resolve the problem.

If useful, I’ll be happy to send the original word file. But I don’t want to upload it somewhere and make it available publicly.

Thanks for any help anyone can give me with this!

Best wishes,
  • Did you go on to test steps 8/9?
    Can you work normally in a new document?
  • Thanks for your attention, Adam!

    Yes, I did check steps 8/9 and could work normally in a new document. Anyway, I have experimented a bit more in the meantime and the nature of my problem has changed completely.

    After disabling all plug-ins in FF but Zotero, I was again able to edit citations. The problem is, however, that I need to wait around 15 (!) minutes for changes to become effective. This makes working with Zotero quite cumbersome (if not entirely impractical). When closing FF during these 15 minutes, I seem to consistently get an error pop-up (Zotero experienced an error updating your document. Database permanently closed; not re-opening). But if I am patient enough the citation is updated, eventually.

    So I guess my question boils down to this: Are there any known issues with Zotero when working with very large documents?

    Best wishes,

    P.S.: Btw, you may want to consider adding the advice to disable all other FF-plug-ins in the “Debugging broken documents” section. I reckon that might solve some problems, too ;-)
  • Yes, very large docs would cause massive slow down, though for 15 minutes that would have to be huge. Best advice I can give you is to author chapter-by-chapter.
  • Thanks, Adam!

    The document is now about 400 pages. Is that about "huge enough" for Zotero to take around 15 minutes to edit single citations?

    Second, frankly I would not want to work on each chapter in a separate file. So is this issue something that will be fixed in a future update or something that we will have to "live with"? (or get more potent processors ;-)

  • Still seems slow, though it also depends on the number of references. But yes, a document of that size would slow Zotero down a lot, I wouldn't be surprised by lags of a couple of minutes.
    There are some small steps you can try to improve this somewhat: delete the bibliography, maybe switch to an author-date style (which should be fastest).

    There are some ideas on how to speed this up on the Zotero side, but it's not going to happen soon and I can't give you any prognosis on when. Could be half a year, but could also be multiple years.
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