Unable to edit existing citations in Word

ID 1073369325

Every time I click inside an existing citation and click "add/edit citation," the citations which are already cited do not appear inside the addition box; when I add a citation in that isn't already in the current list, the entire citation in the text is replaced with only the single citation I just added.

Reproducing the problem:
1. Click inside existing citation like so: 2,5,7,|9
2. Click "add/edit citation" in toolbar
3. The existing citations do not appear and instead an empty box appears
4. Add a citation (10); old citations disappear (2,5,7,9)

This has occurred sporadically with random periods of resolution interspersed with times of non-functionality; I am unsure what is changing between these periods. Clicking "refresh" seems to help, but only sometimes.
  • Restart Zotero and Word and try again. If it still happens, but works in a new document, see Debugging Broken Documents.
  • Update: whenever I refresh, I get a message from my Mac that says "Zotero is an app that was downloaded from the internet. Are you sure you want to open it?" like when I first installed Zotero, even though Zotero is already open now. If I click "open" it says "only one copy of Zotero can be opened at a time."
  • edited February 22, 2020
    I tried restarting both programs as well as trying to edit citations in a separate document, but the problem persists. I did download Zotero and then had to download it again as the Beta version to work in Safari, I wonder if this has something to do with it.
  • That's very weird, but it sounds like some larger problem with how you installed Zotero. None of the plugin buttons actually try to start Zotero — if Zotero isn't running, you just get an error message.

    While it shouldn't matter, do you have multiple copies of Zotero in Applications? E.g., both the production and beta versions?

    I would delete all copies of Zotero from Applications and then try again, make sure you get "Word could not communicate with Zotero. Please ensure that Zotero is open and try again.", and then and only then reinstall Zotero (either production or beta) into Applications.
    I tried restarting both programs as well as trying to edit citations in a separate document, but the problem persists.
    Note that that's only one of many steps on that page. Assuming this works in a new document, you'd have to try the rest. (But again, the "app that was downloaded from the internet" suggests there's some general problem with your installation, not something with a specific document.)
  • edited February 22, 2020
    I thought that got at the crux of the issue as when I tried to uninstall I got several errors about how Zotero couldn't be moved to trash because its extensions were in use. I was able to delete the files under "show package contents" and this allowed me to delete. I emptied the trash on my computer and then reinstalled only the Beta version. That worked once, but then the "box appearing without previous citations" problem occurred again. I tried "ejecting" zotero from the "locations" tab as well, and permanently deleted the disk image from the downloads folder. I don't get the disk image "app downloaded from the internet" warning from the Mac anymore, but I'm still seeing the box appear without previous citations in it when I try to edit.
  • I got several errors about how Zotero couldn't be moved to trash because its extensions were in use
    Yes, you need to close Safari or disable the Safari extension before you can delete an app that has a Safari App Extension.
    I'm still seeing the box appear without previous citations in it when I try to edit
    OK, so follow the Debugging Broken Documents steps in full.
  • edited February 22, 2020
    Did the debugging steps. Here's what happened point by point:

    1. Versions up to date
    2. I did have track changes on, so I disabled them, accepted all changes and marked changes in red text instead (required to mark all changes per journal revision guidelines). Helped for a couple tries, then problem persisted.
    3. No citations in image captions.
    4. Copied and pasted into new document. This worked most persistently (was able to click "edit" in 5 fields and the existing citations appeared. However, after this the problem recurred. I clicked "refresh," which worked for another 3 fields, but problem recurred.
    5. Copy made.
    6. Not using OneDrive or Windows.
    7. Switched to different citation style. Problem present from first attempt.
    8. Already deleted bibliography; problem still present from first attempt.

    9. Doing this led to an error that said "The Zotero field code corresponding to this citation, which tells Zotero which item in your library this citation represents, has been corrupted. Would you like to reselect the item?

    Clicking "No" will delete the field codes for citations containing this item, preserving the citation text but potentially deleting it from your bibliography." I clicked Yes in response to this and it changed the field to "{ ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM CSL_CITATION {"citationItems":[],"properties":{}} }. Still not showing previous citations in the editing box.

    10. Tried deleting both halves of the document and had variable results, but overall problem remained. Tried deleting individual sentences with citations and none of this worked. I then deleted the entire contents of the document, tried adding 2 citations and then attempted to edit them, and the problem recurred. Is this problem possibly inherent to the beta version?

    An additional problem I've noticed that isn't affected by the current problem - Zotero doesn't seem to be capable of editing a single citation that uses a single digit. Whether I click before or after the single number citation, it tries to create a new citation separate from the existing one. It seems to require at least two characters inside the field, such that you are able to click between those characters, for it to recognize it should be adding to the existing one rather than creating a new one.

    Submitted another error report (1870330952) which includes whatever happened during all of this. Not sure what else to do.
  • What exact version of Word is this?

    When this happens, what do you see in the citation itself, behind the citation dialog? Does the citation stay as it was, or do you see "{Citation}" (as you would get for a new citation)?
    I clicked Yes in response to this and it changed the field to "{ ADDIN ZOTERO_ITEM CSL_CITATION {"citationItems":[],"properties":{}} }.
    It didn't present you with the citation dialog to reselect an item? That text would be the Word field code version of an empty citation. You should delete that completely and reinsert the citation, and see if that helps.
    I then deleted the entire contents of the document, tried adding 2 citations and then attempted to edit them, and the problem recurred.
    Can you email the smallest possible test document where you can reproduce this to support@zotero.org with a link to this thread, and also provide a Debug ID for clicking Add/Edit Citation when this occurs?
    An additional problem I've noticed that isn't affected by the current problem - Zotero doesn't seem to be capable of editing a single citation that uses a single digit.
    For a single-digit numeric citation, where you can't be within the field, you just need to highlight the field instead.
  • It's version 16.16.19. Debug ID is D201046800. I sent the document I used to test the debug ID to that email address.

    Thanks so much for being here on a saturday. Have had many frustrations with many citation softwares and it seems help has never been as available as it is here.

  • In the test document, if I click on the citation, I can then reliably click Add/Edit Citation, see four citations in the citation dialog, press Esc, and repeat. Are you saying that if you do that exact process, without moving the cursor or pressing Return, the dialog sometimes fails to show the four citations?
  • edited February 22, 2020
    Exactly. After clicking inside the citation, sometimes I can edit the citation (with the four existing citations appearing as bubbles inside the edit box, as intended), but sometimes the existing citations don't appear inside the box. I've also tried waiting a bit when the box appears to see if it's a loading issue and waiting doesn't seem to lead to the citations appearing after a delay. I'm not clicking outside the citation or moving the cursor's position at all after opening the editing box.

    I will note, I had just been pressing enter and not Esc, but I tried again with Esc and it's the same issue. I took a screenshot of what it looks like with the edit box empty if that helps at all.
  • OK, @adomasven will need to look into this. It sounds like potentially some sort of timing issue with loading of the citation data.
  • Thanks so much for looking into it - hopefully it can be resolved soon. It still works sporadically so I can try to work around it in the mean time.
  • Can you reproduce the same thing in a completely new document, or is it only your existing document that is affected? When producing the Debug ID above did you eventually encounter the problem you're describing? If not, could you produce a Debug ID where you encounter the problem? If this takes multiple attempts, could you note down which attempt eventually produced the failure (or simply stop the debugging process on that attempt)?

    Also, when inserting references, do you ever get an error from Zotero saying that something went wrong? In one of your report IDs above there is an error logged which should have produced an integration error message (different from the one you were seeing about Zotero already running).
  • It did occur in several new documents. The debug ID I included does have several instances of the error during its production. I believe I have gotten errors from Zotero a couple times while using it, but these were more sporadic and I can't quite remember exactly what they said, what caused them, and why they went away. I'll watch out to see if these recur.
  • I tried again in my current document, and submitted another debug ID (D95945018); this ID includes one attempt in which the problem is present from start to finish.
  • So just to confirm, you were editing a citation "21,23,24" here with Saeger, Di Ieva and Cordeiro for respective authors of each item, yet the citation dialog came up empty and then you pressed escape to cancel the edit?

    When the citation dialog comes up empty, if you click on the Z on the left of the dialog and switch to the classic dialog are the cited items still not listed?
  • I tried looking at it again today, and it was working consistently in both the regular dialogue box and the classic view; thankfully, so far have not reproduced the problem as it's working very smoothly.
  • The problem is recurring again.
  • There is now a newer version of Word 16.16.20. Updating would be the first thing to do there. After that, check if you can reproduce the problem in a new document.
  • Updating worked in the short term. I'll be working on a manuscript later today, so that'll provide some extensive testing. I'll try to generate codes if it recurs. Thanks again for all the help!
  • It's acting up again. I submitted error IDs and did debug output logging. I did several of the things on the debug page (copied into a new document, switched the citation style, didn't include the bibliography etc), updated Word and still persisting.

    Error ID 1142369156
    Debug ID D1824195517
  • Do you have any idea what may have changed on your system when the problem started occurring again? Did it begin during a period of active editing, or after not having used Zotero with the document for a while?
  • It happened after not using zotero actively to cite during writing for about a month. I have been updating the program as prompted during that time however. This morning, I tried it again. First on a document where it had previously worked, and it worked again; then on the document I was trying to edit last night, and it worked there also.
  • It's doing it again now, without really any indication of what might have caused it. It was working earlier in this same session. Tried restarting word, restarting zotero, and doing it in a separate document that had previously worked, error still occurring. Pasting it into a clean document worked one time, but then the error occurred again. I got the output for it when I tried it in a new document: D1326353127
  • edited May 15, 2020
    Please update to the latest version of the Zotero Beta and produce a Debug ID if you can reproduce the problem.
  • edited May 15, 2020
    I installed the most recent update, and that seems to have worked. Thanks for the help. I'm noticing that when I use the function and it's working, it first opens an empty dialogue box which after a split second populates with the right citations. I wonder if the problem may have something to do with loading the citations as it seems to just stay in that empty box form without subsequently populating the citations. Notably, as goes the normal view, so goes classic view - when it's functioning properly the classic view also has the correct citations on the right side of the box, while when it's not working, the classic view doesn't show any existing citations either.
  • I wonder if the problem may have something to do with loading the citations as it seems to just stay in that empty box form without subsequently populating the citations
    That indeed appears to be the problem, although that part of the code has not been changed in years and worked fine. We're adding more debug logging information in each version to try and catch some error that is escaping unreported.
Sign In or Register to comment.