How to recover from disastrous error?

I have been using Zotero successfully for a couple of weeks but I have suddenly run into a serious problem that I hope someone can help me with.

I am using Zotero Standalone in conjunction with Microsoft Word 2013. I have my Zotero data bases separated by chapters. I completed Chapter 1 citations successfully but while working on Chapter Two citations, I suddenly tried to make a change in midstream to a reference, and Zotero came up with the following message (somewhat abbreviated):

“You have modified this citation since Zotero generated it. Do you want to keep your modifications and prevent future changes?

“Clicking Yes will prevent Zotero from updating this citation or …modify this item.”

“Clicking No will erase your changes.”

I actually wanted to just cancel the whole change but it wouldn’t respond to either Clicking Yes or No or hitting Escape and it finally said that my Zotero was closed & locked.

I have gotten into Chapter Two and tried to resume skipping over the problematic citation and going to the next one and the same message comes up about clicking yes or no and again not able to do either one. It seems like I can no longer use the chapter I was working on with Zotero.

I started a whole new file for Chapter Two and it seems like it is working okay. So I guess the only solution is to start the chapter from scratch—is that correct

Here are my questions:

(1) Is there any way to recover from this problem without having to redo Chapter Two?

(2) What should I do if this message comes up? Would stopping the whole Zotero application avoid it? Hitting the escape key doesn’t work.

(3) Are there any problems that I may run into as a result of this error? Could it affect my work on chapter 1?

Thanks very much for whatever help you can provide.
  • 1) depends on what you mean by redo. The worst case, of course, is that you'd have to re-insert the Zotero citations. Before doing that, I'd try
    but if you're getting nowhere with that, you can remove all Zotero field codes in the chapter and then replace the, now unlinked, citations with fresh Zotero ones

    2) You're misunderstanding the message. It doesn't necessary refer to the citation you're currently editing, but instead to the one that is highlighted. And by the nature of the message, yes or no are the only options. Zotero has to do either of the two (keep your changes or update the citations and overwrite them). "Cancel" is just meaningless here. Of course clicking yes (or no) should work. (Are you sure it doesn't? It's not unlikely that you'd be getting multiple such messages in a row. Check which citation is highlighted in the text.

    3) Not per se, but you should worry about why you're getting that message in the first place. Are you ever manually modifying citations (e.g. moving parentheses or the like) after inserting them? That's typically a bad ide.
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