Downgrading from Zotero 5 to 4


I upgraded to Zotero 5 on my Linux Mint machine, but I realized afterwards that Better Bib Latex is not compatible, and I rely on it to generate Cite Keys. While that issue is being resolved, I wonder if there is a way to keep my data directory and settings and plug-ins and just downgrade to zotero 4?

I tried using:

> sudo apt-get install zotero-standalone=

But it says no version of is available on my system. Which is confirmed when I run:

> apt-cache showpkg zotero-standalone

Where the only version of zotero on my system to downgrade to is my current one (5.0.4).
  • Make a backup copy of your Zotero data directory (default for Zotero 5 is ~/Zotero).

    Then, download and install Zotero over Zotero 5.0.

    In your Zotero data directory, find zotero.sqlite.77.bak (this is the backup of your Z4.0 database before upgrading). Delete/rename zotero.squlite and then rename zotero.sqlite.77.bak to zotero.sqlite.

    You should be running Zotero with your pre-upgrade data.
  • A doubt: if zotero.sqlite.77.bak is a backup of Zotero 4, does this mean that by downgrading I am also losing all the items that I have included in the database once I upgraded to Zotero 5?
  • If you're fully in sync in 5.0, the new items will sync back down to 4.0.
  • Ok, so it's all based on having a complete online synch. I definitely don't have it, as my library consists of 42.000 items library and obviously I don't synch the pdf attachments. Under these circumstances, I fear that downgrading is no option. I wish I had known it before.
  • edited July 31, 2017
    You can alternatively sort by Date Added, export recent items to Zotero RDF, and import into 4.0, though you'll lose the link to those items in word processor documents.
  • Thanks, that's actually an excellent idea!
  • That's a doubt I am having. I don't have Zotero on sync and I worry that going back to Z 4 I won't be able to read my files. Is that the case?
  • edited August 4, 2017
    @kasimt : did you read bwiernik's comment above: ?
    A sync would be useful to keep (more exactly, bring back) items added after your upgrade to Zotero 5.0.
  • I have been slow in making this downgrade. I am trying to follow @bwiernik 's advice about renaming zotero.sqlite.77.bak. But I don't find the file in my zotero directory. Any advice on how to proceed?
  • BetterBibTeX is now Zotero 5 compatible, so I’d recommend just sticking with Zotero 5.
  • oh wow. I didn't realize. Thanks.
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