Zotfile on Android (Moon reader Pro)

Hi guys, I'm new to ZOTERO, so please be gentle. I was introduced to it 3 days ago.

I have read the entire documentation and watched about 2 hours of YouTube tutorials. I am familiar with the basics, I think. I will soon have to start doing academic research and reading. I have Zotero 5.0 set up on my PC. All good to go there. I have download the Zotfile plugin as well.

The thing is that I like to read on my tablet a lot. Sure, I will do most research on the PC, but prepared reading like PDFs I would like to read on my tablet mostly. I use MoonReader Pro (Android). I do highlights, notes, bookmarks and everything in it. MoonReader syncs with Dropbox.

I saw in the documentation that Zotfile offers this function to. I set it in the Zotfile file preferences too. However, the Send / Receive from tablet function doesn't work. It gives error "Skipping...."

Zotfile confirms by "green tick" that it is linked properly to my Dropbox folder. What am I doing wrong? Or is there a better way to link highlights between tablet and the standalone on PC?

  • What is the full text of the "Skipping" message? And what exactly are your ZotFile preferences in "General" and "Tablet" (either describe them here or take two screenshots, put them on a free image hosting site (Dropbox, imgur) and link to them.)
  • For ZotFile to move items, they need to be attached to a Zotero item with metadata (that's the "top level item" part of the error message).

    Right-click --> Create Parent item to create that.
  • edited October 11, 2017
    Oh thanks. That fixed the issue. But there are still 2 things.

    1) I exported a file to Tablet. The file was exported to the share Dropbox folder. After I realised I forgot to match the name of the pdf with Parent. So I did that. It created another pdf file in the dropbox folder, instead of just renaming the existing file. This way I could have tons of duplicate pdfs in dropbox and not even know :\

    2) I successfully extracted notes and highlights from the tablet. (Although it's just black and white). Excellent. But I can't seem to be able to send notes to the tablet.
    For example, on a particular day I might do reading and notes on PC and would like to send it to the tablet as well, so I know where I left off. I realise that practically it's the PC that will be doing the citations, but it'd be nice to have the notes and highlights the same between devices.

    If I understand it correctly: Send to Tablet only sends file (no Notes, etc); Get from Tablet only imports File (no Notes, etc); Extract Annotations imports all highlights, notes, etc (in black & white). But is there a button "Send Annotations"?


  • I'm not sure what you mean by notes and annotations here exactly. If you annotate in a PDF, those notes are saved to the PDF and so they're sent to the table as part of the PDF file -- or what am I missing?
  • I could be wrong here, but I don't think apps like MoonReader make the annotations in the PDFs directly.

    Here is where MoonReader exports the entire file

    And here's where MoonReader keeps the annotations, I think.

    I am sorry if I have it all wrong.
  • That's a problem with Moon Reader then -- I don't know the app, ZotFile relies on standard PDF annotations of the type created by Acrobat, Preview, FoxIt, pdfXchange (and e.g. iAnnotate on tablets).

  • I will try to contact the dev of MoonReader.
  • edited October 11, 2017
    (just to be clear -- by "problem" I don't mean it's a bug; writing PDF annotations is a perfectly valid approach taken by some other software, too. It just won't work with ZotFile)
  • You are alright, don't worry :). Thanks.
  • I don't know if I should create a separate thread for this question.

    Every time I extract notes, it creates a new [note] child item. The items share the same notes, only the newer ones have the updated extras. Is there a way to just replace the old child item with the new one?

    One of the reasons is this. I might want to tag the note. This would mean that every time I extract new annotations, I would have to do the tagging over and over again.
  • I am making a new thread pertinent to note-taking. We can mark this thread as finished. Unless I bring more news from the MoonReader devs, then I return here to update every one. Moon Reader is a very popular PDF reader on Android. Thanks for the contributions.
  • @adamsmith just downloaded Acrobat Adobe on my Android tablet. Oh, what a blessing. Works perfectly! Why wasn't I using that for PDFs earlier? :D
  • P.S.

    Now it works so fine that I don't even need to press Send To Tablet :). This brings me to the question, what is "send to tablet" for actually. Is it for let's say if the PDF isn't on my tablet, so I can export it there? And vice-versa, that if there is a pdf matching the title in my cloud folder it will importing by pressing "get from tablet"?

  • how are you accessing the PDFs on your Android then?
    Send to Tablet is for a scenario where you don't have any Zotero files on your tablet initially and then use send to tablet to send individual ones
    (but generally, the philosophy of Zotero and many of its add-ons is that there are different ways to do things; there are many set-ups in which send to tablet is completely pointless, so don't assume that it needs to be for something you may want to use)
  • I kept the location of the file unchanged. It is the location initially created by MoonReader actually

    I downloaded Adobe Acrobat on my tablet, linked it with Dropbox and just opened the file from there. Immediately it had all the notes made on PC.

    In Zotero I am only linked to that file.
  • yeah, send to tablet is irrelevant if all you use linked files and Dropbox.
  • Right. Thanks.
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