Word 365 for Mac: citations very slow & bibliography crashing

I'm working on a very large document (over 130,000 words), getting ready to submit my thesis. I do have some Zotero citations throughout the document, and have now started at the beginning and am updating/correcting some of the entries in my library. All of the new citations are underlined. Entering the citations is Very Slow. As other posts have suggested, I've tried disabling automatic citation updates, and turned the tag selector off (I don't think this made a difference). Adding/editing citations is slow, but it is working.

After getting all the citations updated in Chapter 1, I tried to add a bibliography. Each time I tried to do this, Word and Zotero both crashed. As a test, I created a new Word doc with only the Chapter 1 content and citations, and was able to create a bibliography this way. However, this won't work for my thesis because I need to be able to generate a single bibliography.

I'm working on a MacBook pro (High Sierra 10.13.6), Office 365 Microsoft Word 16.23, and Zotero 5.0.65. I've never had a problem with Zotero but haven't worked on something this large before. Any suggestions?
  • which citation style?
  • Could you try switching to a different style, e.g. Chicago author-date, see if that makes a difference.

    We're currently seeing significant performance issues with the APA style -- they're not a big problem in smaller documents, but with a dissertation they'd very likely matter. We're troubleshooting them and worst case we can point you to an earlier version of the style that doesn't have those issues, but it'd be good to know if this helps. This will still be slowish in a large document on a Mac, but much less likely to crash I think.
  • Thank you for your help.

    I tried Chicago author-date multiple times. This did not work to generate a bibliography but I had different problems. Sometimes it just did not work. Other times it crashed Zotero, and other times it crashed Zotero and Word.

    In updating my in-text citations, I've updated some of the library entries but not all. When generating the bibliographies, I get 2 warning messages before it crashes:
    1) "Warning: if you edit a citation in the editor it will no longer update to reflect changes in your database of the citation style"
    2) "You have modified this citation since Zotero generated it. Do you want to keep your modifications and prevent future updates? Clicking "Yes" will prevent Zotero from updating this citation if you add additional citations, switch styles, or modify the item to which it refers. Clicking "No" will erase your changes."

    Might this have something to do with the difficulty generating a bibliography?
  • On 2. What do/did you select? (in most cases it's best to avoid editing citations directly in Word, but it shouldn't cause any sort of crash)
  • Over the past few days I've tried both options, with the same result
  • Hmm, so the next thing I'd try to figure out is if the problem is really just the length of this or if there is something specific that causes the crash. I understand you kind of tested that with your chapter 1, but I'd want to look more systematically:

    I.e. what if you split the thesis in two parts -- can you create a bibliography for each half? (if both crash, try with four parts).

    If both (or all four) parts succeed, the problem is length alone and there's no need to further troubleshoot this on your end.

    If one succeeds and the other fails, try running through the last step here: https://www.zotero.org/support/kb/debugging_broken_documents
  • I followed your suggestions and am now able to create a APA bibliography in my full document. I think my main problem was saying "YES" to the warning message ""You have modified this citation since Zotero generated it. Do you want to keep your modifications and prevent future updates?". I also realized I cannot touch my computer or even move the cursor while Zotero and Word are doing their thing. It's not a good time to multi-task.

    At this point the in-text citations are only in the first chapter, which is short, so there will be a much bigger load coming as I enter all of the citations in the document. Thanks for your prompt responses and help in getting me this far!

    My last request in this thread is, based on the info I've provided about what hardware and software I'm using, if you have any suggestions to speed up the "add/edit citation" process. Thanks again.
  • any suggestions to speed up the "add/edit citation" process
    Can you provide a Debug ID for a citation insert that's slow with automatic updates disabled?
  • D653362968
    citation insert
  • I'm not sure if this would help, but I had this same issue months ago where my document crashed over and over again if I tried to generate an APA biblio. The problem for me was I had some track changes within word that were messing with the system. If I 'accepted all' and copied/pasted into a new document, it worked. Don't ask me why or how, but it worked.
Sign In or Register to comment.