Word document saved with new name, does not retain Zotero citation links

I'm finishing a dissertation and am about to have a heart attack. I just noticed that later drafts of documents which I have renamed are not retaining their Zotero links for in-text citations. So, the text is there ie (Smith, 2014) but when I click on it, there is no grey box around it and if I ask zotero to generate a bibliography, I'm given the message that I need to add citations first. I CAN go back to the original version of the document and the links are there and I can generate a bibliography, but often I add new citations into later versions of a document, meaning I would need to go to each version of a document to get all of the citations into the bibliography. I'm hoping there is an easier way to do this? How can I get the citations in re-named documents to be recognized by Zotero?
  • Renaming the document doesn't do this, something else is going on -- the most likely candidates would be
    1. Opening and saving the document in a program that doesn't support fields, lilke google drive, LibreOffice (if you're using Word or Word if you're using LO), Pages, etc.
    2. Saving the document in an unsupported file format such as RTF or .odt (when using Word) or .doc/docx (when using LibreOffice).
  • I AM saving the files in Google drive. How can I remedy this? I always save everything in google drive. But, strangely, even files that have been saved to google drive, but that weren't renamed seem to have the zotero links.
    Thanks so much for you help. Do you see a way I can fix it?
  • it's not saving in google drive, it's opening the file with google docs that breaks the links.

    No way to fix this for files once the links are gone, if that's the question.
  • It isn't exactly clear to me what software you were using to write your doctoral thesis. You said that you were using Word but also indicated that you were using Google Docs. If you still have a version of the file that contains some field codes I recommend putting it aside and working with a completely new document in Word -- a copy of the most recent version of your thesis without field codes.

    I will describe a process I used to add Zotero field codes to my doctoral thesis after my old management software (Reference Manager and then EndNote) failed me.

    There are other ways to accomplish this such as with ODF scans but I'm sure that you want something simple and straightforward, instead of learning something new. The other ways I mentioned will not save you any time.

    This assumes that you were using Word and didn't just use Word as a shorthand way of describing your work in Google Docs. If you do not have Word on your machine, I recommend downloading LibreOffice it is free and has been my primary writing tool for years.

    If items that were cited in your thesis are now in Zotero (and are correctly formatted with author names in the same form, etc.), this is less work than you expect.

    Below is a revised version of my comments/ guidance on an earlier thread from 2012. I'm sure that you will be able to improve on this after you complete the process I outline below. Please help others by sharing your comments to improve this.

    1) Make another electronic copy (with a new file name) of the document _without_ field codes.

    2) Print a copy of that document. Physically mark (dog-ear the page, use a sticky or paperclip) the beginning of your reference list. You will need to go back and forth from the mail text and the bibliography repeatedly.

    3) Open the new copy of the renamed document without field codes. This is the working copy you will edit using Zotero. Using the printed copy as a reference, edit the citations one-by-one. Highlight and delete each citation and immediately replace it by inserting the citation using Zotero.

    4) Mark the citation on your printed copy to indicate that it now has a live Zotero field code. Repeat this with each new citation.


    Using the working file, insert a blank page after the last page of your working file reference list. The Zotero version of your reference list will begin here.

    Click the button to make a bibliography for the working copy (with live Zotero citations). Compare the first item in your old reference list (above) with that in the new one. They should be exactly the same. If not, verify that you are using the desired style and that you didn't overlook an earlier citation.

    5) If the live citaiton looks right --

    Go through your document replacing each inert citation with a Zotero citation. You don't need to verify the reference list each time but only after you have replaced several citations. Do _not_ add any new citations while editing. Additions should be made only after all edits have been done and you have confirmed that your new reference list is the exactly same as your old one. Consult the inert reference list on your working copy comparing it with the live reference list below AND compare your live reference list with the printed version.

    When all citations have been replaced, verify that the new reference list contains all the items (and in the same order) as in the old one.

    If both lists match, you are ready to add new live citations to the working document.

    Important: Save your document throughout the editing process using a new filename with each save (filename-A.doc, filename-B.doc, etc.). Save using your local word processor not using Google Docs or some other remote software. You may need to fall back on one of the back-up files if you make an error that can't be easily fixed.

    --End of process--

    I write from experience. I began my doctoral thesis using Reference Manager. I had used Reference Manager for writing since before it was a DOS program. At the point that I was completing my final draft, Reference Manager failed me. I had to find a new citation management tool. I tried to convert to EndNote but was not successful. I discovered Zotero and found that (even those late 2007 versions) worked better than Reference Manager. After I brought the 426 referenced items into the Zotero database and verified that each citation item was correct. It required another 5 to 7 hours hours to follow the steps listed above.

    The effort wasn't lost time. The editing process helped me to find places where I expressed myself poorly and places where an additional reference was needed. I also found several typos that had gone unrecognized through several readings.
  • So I am not using Google docs at all, I'm using word, but saving files in Google drive. I think the problem might be that when I renamed the files, I inadvertently saved them with the .docx extensions. I had no idea I was doing this and it must be the extension that word defaults to? Once a file has been saved as docx, can I rename it with a different extension and save the links?
  • no, you're misreading that:
    saving files from Word with docx is fine. Saving files from LibreOffice with docx isn't.

    It's obviously hard to say from a distance what's causing this, though. Can you replicate this, i.e. can you _make_ this happen in a new file?
  • Hmm. I'm trying to figure out what's going on then. I'm not using google docs or LibreOffice, so I don't think that's it.

    You're right- some files that I've saved with the extension docx are fine. Some are not. I'm wondering if, when I save and send a file to my professor, then he adds comments (still all in word, not google docs) and send them back and I download them, would that make the links not work? So you are saying that saving them in google drive and saving them in word with the extension docx are both fine? What if I save it in google drive with the extension docx? I just can't figure out why some files have nonworking links and some dont. Would it have to do with an update to word?
  • I'd guess it's something that your professor does -- they could be opening the file with different software, e.g.
    Word versions don't matter (within reason -- you can't use Word before 2000) and how you save files to google drive -- as long as you don't open them with the google word processor -- doesn't matter.
  • Tangential comment/question:

    Should there be a section in the Zotero documentation concerning collaboration with a caution to share for comment only documents with no field codes; or with a filename different from the working copy of the document?
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