word plug in very slow inserting a reference

Zotero is my main tool writing my dissertation. My dissertation is over 100 pages and my Zotero has about 4000 articles. So now I have a scalability problem. When I insert a reference using Zotero word plugin, sometimes it takes 10 seconds for Zotero to find that article, and it will take another 10 seconds to insert the in text citation. I tried Mendeley and it is able to do it instantaneously (about 10x times faster). (Both Zotero and Mendeley have amazing features, but Mendeley has major flaws so I stick to Zotero). I wonder if Zotero can make it faster somehow?

thanks a lot
  • Do you get any speed benefits if you minimize the Tags window? I've heard having the Tag window open can slow down Zotero. Also, I wonder if choice of citation style can make a difference - such as using a number based style versus author-date style.
  • hey... thanks for your quick reply... I am actually trying to make a suggestion to fundamentally improve the product--i guess mendeley must has a superior algorithm...
    what's the tag window? I use zotero standalong for the most part.
    style is not what I can choose -- it's the discipline not of my choice. but I tried another style and there is no difference..
    when the word document is 20 pages, inserting citation is pretty fast. it slows down as the document grows bigger. Also, a very fast computer makes inserting citation faster too. for mendeley, it's instantaneous so I do not even notice the difference. I hope zotero just gets better.

  • edited July 30, 2016
    edited to correct errors that auto-spell check inserted

    The tag selector window is at the bottom of the left column. If you can see several tags at the bottom of the column, then it is 'open' and can be slowing things. At the bottom of the collections and the top of the tags list there is a bar with a thingy. drag the bar to the very bottom of the column so that tags are no longer visible.

    That said, adding references to a lengthy document can take a few seconds -- especially on an older computer with a slower processor and less memory that more recent models.

    One way to get back up-to-speed is to separate your manuscript into several smaller documents or chapters and only at the end (or when you must submit a draft) do you combine them to generate a bibliography.

    Be certain that you keep regular backups of all drafts and each iteration of each of your chapters. I recommend that you not remove the field codes within any of your documents. Although I do recommend that, unless your professor demands otherwise, you turn in printed or pdf versions. There are many things that can damage a live document if it isn't handled correctly. These include saving the document in another file type, making edits that damage one or more field codes etc. I recommend implementing your professor's edits and change requests by hand and not by cutting from your professor's document and pasting parts into your live document.

    I don't believe Gurdas was recommending that you switch to a different style -- only pointing out that with some styles there can be greater demands on computing capacity.

    Are you certain that Mandeley is quicker than Zotero when inserting references into a document of similar length. My students who have switched from Mandeley to Zotero report that Zotero is quicker.
  • Another thought and a question... Are you using both Mandeley and Zotero in the same document? (To the developers: Is this even possible?)
  • Hi, I have the same problem. My document is about 30 pages (Microsoft Word), I use Zotero standalone with about 200 documents in the folder I use for the document and in total 1000 documents in my entire database.

    When I add a citation to my document, after I press enter, the blue loading bar takes about 5 to 15 seconds to fill and add the citation. It is really annoying because in the meantime, I cannot type anything in Word. I have tried to type while the blue bar is loading, and the typing is subject to lags. Once it even caused Word to crash completely.

    Any solution one year later ?

    Thanks a lot in advance!
  • Some styles spent a lot of time for redrawing all references in document (typically note styles). I am not sure if this is your situation but you can try any author-date style. Sometimes helps restart MS Word and Zotero.
  • Hi, thanks for the comments, but as a previous user mentioned, I am also limited to a footnotes style of references (such as OSCOLA, which is the one I am using) because I am in a legal disciple.

    So, unfortunately, switching to author-date in brackets is not possible.

    Thanks though.
  • @johnsmithtexas Also do wait for the loading bar to complete. You are risking corrupting your citations in the document by interacting with the document while Zotero is processing it. We are working on a way to significantly speed up inserting in Zotero 5.0 at a later point in the year.
  • @johnsmithtexas you can still switch back to the note style as the last step before submission.
  • @adomasven Yes, now after Word crashed, I wait until the bar is loaded and the citation has been correctly added to my document before interacting with Word again. But thanks for the reminder, I would really hate having a corrupted document!

    Maybe, I should say that I am still using Zotero I guess my problem might be solved by updating to Zotero 5.0, but since I am in the middle of a big thesis, I haven't got around to update it yet, for fear of any problem happening.
  • @LiborA Yes, I understand that, but I have so far 200 footnotes (99 percent of them added with Zotero only, and a few of them added with Word footnotes that only contains text, no citation).

    The problem is that I would switch right now from OSCOLA to APA style which is a common in-text in brackets style, then at the end of my work, when switching back to OSCOLA, I fear that the correct positioning of the footnotes would be messed up.

    Could you enlighten me with that? I am going to try that with a dummy document right now.
  • Don't worry about updating to Zotero 5.0 until you finish the thesis. There haven't been any big changes related to performance yet, so you're not missing out on that front.
  • edited July 25, 2017
    @adomasven Ok thanks

    @LiborA I just tried switching to APA in a dummy document, and then adding a new citation, it was nearly instantaneous. Then, when switching back to OSCOLA, it seemed all the footnotes went back to the correct place. So, I think I will try that with my real document (and of course a saved copy before making the switch, just in case something goes wrong).

    Thanks again for suggesting that solution.

    Would be great though, if they could improve the speed with footnotes citation style.
  • but since I am in the middle of a big thesis, I haven't got around to update it yet
    It is a good decision, but if you are in the middle of the thesis and the date of submission is somewhere in the far future, then I think the upgrade is not so high risk (of course create a full backup before migration).
  • @adomasven Just one last question, before realising I could mess up my Word doc, I interacted a few times with it before the citation was properly added. Is there any way I could check if the document is corrupted ?

    @LiborA I have a first draft submission later today (Brussels time) and it is still a very rough draft. Final submission is end of August, so still time, but not super far in the future. I guess I will update Zotero after that.
  • @johnsmithtexas If changing the citation style went through without problems then you're good
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