Is there a way to get the Zotero pane back under the browser window?

It seems that Zotero no longer functions as a separate pane under the browser window as it used to. I understand that the change was introduced by Zotero to have a standard design. But this has caused a major inconvenience for me because I have many collections and subcollections as well as multiple group libraries in my Zotero library so I need to see which collection I am in to be able to save a particular page. The way I work is, I browse through several documents, web pages, etc, and then when I come across something that I want to save, I open up Zotero, go to the relevant collection and save the page or document there in one click. Now after the pane is gone, I have to minimize Firefox, go to Zotero standalone, select the collection I need, go back to Firefox and then click to save to Zotero. Very frustrating and time consuming. So is there a way to get back the Zotero pane? Is it possible to downgrade my Zotero to a previous version where the pane worked? Or is there a chance that it will come back in the near future?
  • (The change was because Mozilla no longer allows the extension framework that Zotero uses in Firefox.)

    You can arrange the two app windows on your desktop to have essentially the same layout. On windows you can do this using the Windows key and arrow keys. On Mac, you can drag the widows or use a tool like Moom or BetterTouchTool.

    It's also very fast to switch back and forth between the two apps using Alt+Tab (Windows) or Cmd+Tab (Mac).

    The Zotero extension for Firefox will very shortly no longer work at all (disabled by Mozilla), so there isn't really a point in trying to downgrade.
  • edited October 25, 2017
    works fine for me. however, it would be even better if it was possible to reduce the height of the zotero window to very small size, in order to see more of the browser window. on my small notebook screen the smallest possible size takes more than 1/3 of the whole screen height.
    Anyway, thanks a lot to all zotero 5.0 contributers, I guess it was an effort to integrate most of the functions firefox extension users were used to.
  • Yes it works fine on another computer of mine where I have an earlier version of Zotero. But if what bwiernik says is true, then soon those won't work either.
  • I think ccba means that using the new version works fine for them.
    And yes, what bwiernik says is correct.
  • I think the new version is not a Zotero extension but a Zotero connector and it is the connector that doesn't have the pane anymore. It looks like there are a few options like downloading a 4.0 version Zotero extension and Firefox 52 ESR. But even then, this will work until June 2018 when Firefox will discontinue this version as well. sigh...

    Does anyone know if Zotero-extension version will work with Google Chrome?
  • No it won't. We'd really tell you if there was an in-browser version. It's going away; it's not coming back, I'm sorry to say.
  • Well, sigh... I guess I need to get used to using the standalone in a side-by-side window with Firefox.

    I've been writing to Firefox about this as well. I don't expect a solution but maybe if there are enough people who complain - esp when they discover that their in-browser Zotero does not work anymore - they will consider another way.

    In any case, I love Zotero and I am so thankful that it was created and will continue to use it no matter what.
  • In addition to the above (particularly the Alt-Tab/Cmd-Tab advice, which applies to any programs — minimizing windows is almost never a good idea), we'll be adding a way to choose the target collection directly from the Zotero Connector in an upcoming version.
  • I often work with at least 8-9 windows open - several different Firefox windows plus 2-3 Word documents plus email reader plus a few windows explorer windows and sometimes Adobe reader on top of Zotero. So Alt-Tab is not a good option for me.

    But if there will be a way to choose the target collection directly from the connector, that would solve the issue. I will be looking forward to this.
  • It might not work for you, but for what it's worth, using many windows is definitely not an argument against Alt-Tab — quite the opposite. Once you get used to it, Alt-Tab/Cmd-Tab is much faster than any other option when working with lots of windows. (In case you're unaware, when navigating between more than the two most recent windows, you keep Alt held down and press Tab repeatedly until you select the right window, or Shift-Tab to go the other direction.)
  • hey alevcinar, how are you contacting Firefox, do you know of a unified location to submit such a request?
  • (For what it is worth, there is zero chance that Mozilla will restore the technologies Zotero for Firefox used. They have been planning to end them for years.)
  • Hi feroneil, I had posted on the Firefox support page here:

    It doesn't look like they'll go back to the former technology but maybe if there is enough demand they'll cooperate with Zotero to come up with something new. Right now I am trying to work with two split windows - Firefox and Zotero standalone side by side. But it is not nearly as efficient as the former technology.
  • I don't see this happening. I don't like the choices that Mozilla made here, but a) I think they're understandable, and b) they're committed to them for reasons unrelated to having programs like Zotero running in FF.

    Mozilla re-instating XUL/XPCOM would be like asking Microsoft to re-instate Windows 3.11 at this point. To them, the previous tech has served its purpose, and they now move on to tech that caters to a new world (and there are good reasons for the incompatible change in architecture, even if I dislike the effects on me).

    Zotero is going to move to a better-supported platform anyhow in the foreseeable future. Zotero never was really unambiguously welcome in Firefox anyway, it's not like Mozilla is going to reverse because Zotero dropped off.
  • Also, the better supported platform Zotero will be moving to will enable it to make long-requested updates to the interface, such as more flexibly showing your library, search results, formatting, etc. it should lead to an overall better experience for users.
  • "Zotero never was really unambiguously welcome in Firefox anyway, it's not like Mozilla is going to reverse because Zotero dropped off. "

    Well, Mozilla may not reverse because Zotero dropped off, but they will lose customers like me. As far as I'm concerned Zotero is much more important to me than Firefox, so had Zotero made arrangements to make the in-browser pane system work in Chrome or Explorer, I would have switched to them without a second thought. I hope Zotero introduces a new system where we can select libraries and sub-collections (or add new ones) directly from the browser page. That is the one function I am terribly upset about for losing.
  • The option to select collections from the Zotero Connector in the browser will be added in a future version. For now, items will save to the currently selected collection in the Zotero app.

    (Firefox was the only browser that ever had the XUL/XPCOM technologies that Zotero used. The changes Firefox made were really to become more in line with Chrome/Safari/Edge.)
  • Zotero cannot make arrangements to make the in-browser pane system work in Chrome or Explorer -- Zotero was forced out of Firefox because Firefox adopted the Chrome extensions model.
  • edited November 23, 2017
    There is a way to get what you want but you will need to pay US$100 or more. That is buy a second monitor. Even a cheap second monitor can vastly improve working with all software. So, to those who wanted an excuse to buy a second monitor; this is it.

    For me, there were only 2 reasons to use Firefox over other browsers. One was philosophical— it was independent of large corporations and supporting the “little guy” made me feel comfortably rebellious. The other, more important, reason was the UI. With Firefox when using a database site such as PubMed, I can use the spacebar to page-down. With Chrome, IE, and Safari clicking the spacebar, instead of doing a page-down, un-ticks the last-made check-box mark. So Firefox allowed me to display more lines of records and quickly scroll through them. With Chrome and Safari I needed to show fewer lines per page and go to a new page to show additional record lines. In my experience, a PubMed page with 100 records will load about as quickly as one with 20. Going to a new page takes at least a couple of seconds. I perform a daily search that results in over 1000 items newly added to PubMed. The search is very sensitive and only 10% of the results to my query are potentially useful. Thus, when I go through the process of accepting or rejecting records by quickly evaluating the article titles; it is much less tedious to have a delay from a new-page every 100 records instead of every 20 records. If I could use the space bar to page-down with Chrome I would immediately switch to Chrome.

    edit: addendum—

    Having a second monitor allowed me long ago to switch to the Zotero standalone. I wasn’t tied to Firefox and found that some websites worked better with browsers other than Firefox. I found that I mostly only used Firefox when working with Zotero and database sites.

    Please follow the link provided by @emilianoeheyns above to Dan Stillman’s fine essay about the disappointing and cliquish behavior of the Mozilla leadership. I believe that Mr. Stillman demonstrated that he is a caring and great man who strives to do good for the world. (Thank you, Dan, if you are reading this!)
  • I've had a second monitor for years, but I preferred the in-browser version, hands-down. In zotero 4 I would tests against and use the in-browser version exclusively. It's only with zotero 5 that I started using the standalone client. And zotero was the sole reason I'd start up Firefox - I switched to Chrome long ago - but I rather ran Firefox + Chrome than zotero-standalone + Chrome. Never used the Chrome connector; for academic browsing I'd use ff+zotero, for everything else, chrome.

    I really miss ff-zotero :(
  • edited June 18, 2018
    +1 - This breaks the workflow for me. I find myself never using zotero anymore because of the missing integration.

    *Edit* - Several other groups are finding themselves leveraging the developer's tools bar in lieu of the older functionality.
  • There no use +1ing -- as explained above and in various other posts & blogposts, this went away for reasons beyond Zotero's control and it's not coming back.

    But I'm still curious, especially since Zotero now allows you to specify collections and tags during save, which workflow specifically is this breaking?
  • Mozilla eliminated the capacity of Firefox to incorporate the very sophisticated sort of plug-in that is Zotero. While some simple tools are still "leveraging the ... tools bar" the older Firefox system allowed more than the current Firefox system allows.

    I usually use a large desktop monitor and can stack a browser window above a window where Zotero resides. However, I also use a notebook with an 11 inch screen. I position the two windows one-atop-the-other in a way that neither window takes up quite all of the screen. It is easy to switch from one window to the other.

  • edited June 18, 2018
    It's easy enough but nothing like the quick click I could do without having to deal with switching between apps (I usually have a ton open). I realize it's not coming back, but I really preferred it over standalone. That said, it's time to get over this, as it's just no longer possible. To my knowledge, FF was the only browser that had the plumbing to do this, they killed this plumbing, end of story. In this case "not using Zotero" for these reasons means "not using a ref manager" -- no ref manager can now do what Zotero once did.
  • But you don't need to switch apps to save — that's the point. The new save popup allows you to choose from among your recent collections with a single click or choose another one from any library without switching to Zotero first. You can just hit save without worrying about what's selected, and if it's not what you want, you can change it right there. You can also add tags right during the save process.

    Also, while you can arrange windows like DWL suggests, I want to be very clear that our official advice here is absolutely not that you need a large monitor or need to move windows around to use Zotero effectively. When you do need to switch to Zotero, there are efficient ways to do so (that apply to any program on your system, Zotero included).
  • I commonly used the in-browser zotero to add notes to existing refs based on a page I was browsing, or to do a quick check before importing a new ref. I'm aware of the efficient ways of switching apps, but none of them worked as well for me as in-browser Zotero.
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