Zotero with Office 365

Can Zotero devs comment on stability of Zotero with Office 365? Would also love to hear from advanced users on Office 365.
Also, please update this page to show Office 365:

I recent asked about 64-bit Office 2019, but after spending more time, I think the writing is on the wall and Office 365 is the way to go. 32-bit or 64-bit is another question.

In another discussion, @danstillman commented Office 365 is supported:
But, it seems @adomasven has seen regular (if not frequent) issues being reported?

Overall, if I ditch perpetual office and move to Office 365, should I be concerned?
  • Office 365 is really just the most recent version of Office, and it generally just works -- it's not a real Word version, though, it's a release cycle, so "Office 365 compatibility" is a tricky thing to say.

    The linked thread with issues in 365 is about storing documents in OneDrive, so that's unrelated.
  • @adamsmith, I agree with what you are saying, and I was struggling to frame my question. Maybe what I am really asking is about the fundamental method of Zotero's integration in to Word. Since Office 365 will inevitably have monthly updates, what's the probability of those feature updates to affect Zotero's integration? I doubt they will, but still want to hear whatever little experts can speak before I take the plunge to Office 365 (I want to).

    My current push to Office 365 is not motivated by OneDrive, so I expect to keep most of my documents outside of OneDrive. But it seems the direction is that at some point, OneDrive will also become more prominent in my computing/IT setup.
  • Minor version updates in Word only very rarely break Zotero and major version updates aren't pushed to 365 immediately and afaik Zotero has always been compatible with new Word versions by the time they were, so I'd say chances of this breaking are quite small, though they're obviously never zero.
  • Thanks, that addresses my immediate concerns.
  • Microsoft is being kind of confusing with their branding for Office. Office 365 is essentially a subscription service for Office products, as opposed to their year releases (e.g. 2013, 2016, 2019) which are more costly to buy, but are supported throughout their lifecycle. Currently running Office 365 is the same as running 2019 and you get the same updates from Microsoft too, so Zotero support for Office 365 is no different to that of 2019 until Office 2022 comes along, at which point Office 365 support would be the same as 2022.
  • edited November 13, 2018
    @adomasven It's different than how you describe. Yes, Office 365 is a subscription service, but it gets regular feature updates, while perpetual Office (2016, 2019) only gets security and bug fixes. On the day Office 2019 was released, it was already "behind" Office 365 since the code for Office 2019 was the locked down version of the code for Office 365 from some months ago. One could think of Office 365 as Windows 10, in that it gets new features at regular intervals, while Office 2016/2019 are like Windows 7/8.1 in the sense no new features will be rolled out until you buy the next version (when it is released).


    Also, Microsoft is no longer being ambiguous that they want Office 365 to be the choice for everyone unless you have specific reasons not to. They have subtle and not-so-subtle wording all over their Office 365 and Office 2019 webpages, including the blog post where they introduce Office 2019!
  • I've seen all the articles based on MS's press releases, where they hype all the new "AI and Cloud" features of Office 365, but I've not actually seen a specific list of what's different. For what it's worth, I've been on Office 365 for at least 2 years now and the feature set and UI has been identical to Word 2016: even the loader said "Word 2016" instead of "Word 365" when you ran it. They've only very recently changed the loader to say "Word 365", along with some changes to the UI and additional features. The 2019 version with the same UI and features was released shortly after. So while 365 might have been ahead by a month, MS has not had two separate versions of Office for the few years that they have been offering 365, and have only kept 2016 slightly behind on update schedule. I would not expect this to change for 2019, given how much effort it is to maintain 2 highly divergent codebases, and how little need there is to do that (and I'm not even talking about Word for Mac, which *is* a separate codebase they need to maintain already).

    It might change in the future, but for now (this is purely my opinion, but an informed one) this is essentially a marketing/branding stunt, since subscription models are more profitable than one-time licenses. Plenty of people are still using Word 2007 or 2010 without any reason to upgrade to 2016 or 2019 since most of them are covered by the features available in the older releases. If MS starts experimenting with 365, Zotero support might start breaking, but for now, we do not expect MS to do that, and even if they do, we are ready to adapt and fix any breakage.
  • The difference between Office 365 and Office 2016 may be much less in the past, but it was there - for example, inking features. It seems going forward the difference will only grow larger. Anyway, for my needs "and even if they do, we are ready to adapt and fix any breakage." is all I need to know. So, thanks!

    One feature of Office 365 I plan to explore is the concurrent editing of documents via the cloud. At work we use Sharepoint, but that's not available to me at home (where I had Office 2016 and just purchased a few licenses of 2019). In Sharepoint we have the option to either "edit on the web" or "edit in local office" (not described exactly in those words). I know Zotero works when I edit in local office, but Zotero features are not available when I edit on the web, and that's expected and understandable.

    When I do collaborative editing in Office 365 using my local copy of Word, Zotero will work just like it was with Office 2016/2019?
  • edited November 13, 2018
    I've just tested collaborative writing with Zotero and it works on MacWord, but not Windows. We've had issues with OneDrive stored documents for a while now and after examining this more thoroughly I am hoping to have this fixed shortly.

    Note that OneDrive struggles with field edit sync a little bit and the result of concurrent document modifications while updating citations with Zotero is undefined, but could lead to citation or document corruption.
  • Thanks. Do we have to use OneDrive for collaborating writing/editing in Office 365? Since I have not used Office 365 outside of work (where we collaborate via Sharepoint), I do not know how actually collaborative editing works in Office 365 for personal use.
  • No, you can store files in any location with Word 365, just like with the static release versions of Word (2016, 2019)
  • @bwiernik Are you sure? From whatever I am able to find on this topic, it seems the document MUST be saved in OneDrive or be part of a SharePoint site. Please note that my question about save location is limited to documents that I am co-authoring with someone.


  • Do you mean specifically the simultaneous editing feature? Yes, that only works in OneDrive/Sharepoint. But the rest of Office 365 works fine with files stored elsewhere.

    Regarding editing documents in OneDrive with Zotero, I have been doing so regularly for years. The issues adomasven specifies don’t seem to be consistent, and they seem to primarily occur if the fires are not synced to your local OneDrive folder on the computer and only being retrieved from OneDrice when you open it from Word.
  • As you know, there's two kinds of co-editing and for the sake of discussion let's call one as "collaborative" writing where multiple authors are editing a document but not at the same instance, while the second is "co-authoring" where multiple people are editing at the same instance (real-time). My understanding is that for either of those two types, the document must be saved in OneDrive (or SharePoint).

    Good to know what OneDrive use cases are showing problems. Thanks.
  • No, “collaborative” documents work fine, for example, if stored in Dropbox or similar. From Word’s perspective that is just the same as editing a non-co-authored document.
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