unreliable pdf search results for word fragments

I have devised certain keywords which I insert into my own zotero notes, or more recently pdf's I have created from word documents - for example ZIZC4CHA (don't ask why I chose that! The "I" stands for Important, the C4CHA is for the 4th Church Council held at Chalcedon in 451. The Z just makes sure you are unlikely to encounter the phrase by mistake). So that keyword means 'here's something important from the Council of Chalcedon". Its kind of my own tagging system

If I go into the search box above the centre zotero pane (I'm using the integrated firefox version) and choose "Eveything" in the dropdown (choices are "Title, Creator, year", "All fields & tags", "Everything", and then type "ZIZC4CHA" (the quotes forces the advanced search mode) every occurrence of ZIZC4CHA will be found in every zotero note or pdf in my library - all good, and very powerful. However, if I put only "ZC4CHA" no results are returned. If I go into the individual pdf and do a standard pdf search ctrl +F then type ZIZC4CHA or ZC4CHA, in both cases the text is found. Any idea why the zotero pdf search fails to pick up word fragments, when the in-document pdf search finds them? Or can you direct me to any documentation explaining what search parameters to use. I have tried all the standard wildcards liek Z*ZC4CHA, Z?ZC4CHA with no joy.

It seems like a very tedious question when I write it out, but its crucial to be able to rely on the search correctly picking up word fragments.


  • That search should still work in notes, and does for me. It won't work for full-text (i.e., attachment content) search because that's left-bound by default for performance reasons. If you want the full-text search to search non-left-bound fragments, you can open about:config from the Advanced pane of the Zotero prefs and set extensions.zotero.search.useLeftBound to false, but I don't think that option has been tested in years and it will make searching slower. Whether it's usable probably depends on the size of your library.

    Full-text search in Zotero will be getting an overhaul in the not-too-distant future, and when we do that we should remove the useLeftBound setting and support asterisks instead. I've created an issue to track that.
  • yes it does still work for notes for me too. Thanks a lot for the above, its very helpful.
  • I changed the extensions.zotero.search.useLeftBound to false in about:config and it appears to work, and doesn't seem to be much slower than when set to true, for my library at least.

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