Clicking "Yes" will prevent Zotero from updating this citation if you add additional...

Sometimes when I add page numbers to a citation, I get this pop-up message:
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.

Then there's a YES or NO button.

It sets off a chain reaction asking me if I want to do this for EVERY citation, which in my 100,000-word dissertation is a lot, and yet, I can't seem to keep it from doing this! How do I make it stop!?
  • I need to add more... the only way to make this stop is to hit "NO" at which point, Zotero actually changes some of my citations. I don't mean little changes - I mean BIG changes, like attributing a comment to someone completely different. As this has happened several times now, I feel like I need to go back and look at every. single. quote. in my entire dissertation to make sure it's being attributed correctly. WTF!? Help!? e
  • It sounds like you're not using Zotero (in Word?) right: don't manually add page numbers to a citation:
  • I am using it in Word. And when I press 'yes' that's when the chain reaction thing starts going. But not always. I'm not sure what's triggering it. I've been adding the page numbers in the Zotero window (not in my document after the fact), that might be the trigger. But thank you for the link. e
  • Generally, if you're having problems in a specific document, see Debugging Broken Documents.

    This sounds like potentially a problem involving Track Changes, or some sort of document-wide change. The only reason you would get that message is if something modified the text of the citations directly in the document after they were inserted, which should almost never be done. But it shouldn't cause the sort of cascading problem like you describe, in any case, so see the debugging steps.
  • I just added a citation, using the drop-down menu in Zotero to add a page number, and received the same message, which again set off the chain reaction I mentioned. Short of going through my entire document and rebuilding every single citation, what can I do when this chain reaction message starts happening? There doesn't seem to be a way to turn it off.
  • It's not a chain reaction. It's just that the message appears once for each previously modified field, and you haven't yet gone through and told it what to do. The "Original" and "Modified" lines should show you what the changes were.

    If you want to send an excerpt of the document to with a link to this thread, we can take a look and see if we can tell you what happened. But the message means what it says — something caused the text of those citations to be modified, and you need to tell it whether to keep the changes or revert them.
  • I have the same problem (the text document concerned is a PhD thesis in its final stage, hence >100 pages, >250 citations, working on it for a few years, ...)

    To facilitate finding information in the original source (sometimes years after I orginily read it), I oftentimes include more details to the citation, such as page and exact paragraph, e.g. Rob et al (1990 p. 9 ii). Yet, the usual citation styles do not "permit" such informartion to be present. Hence, I use word's hide-text-function to simply hide >>p. 9 ii<<

    I do/did this a lot. For each citation that I adapted, Zotero asks me

    "You have modified this citation since Zotero generated it. Do you want to keep your modifications and prevent future updates?"

    Adding a button "yes for all citations" (and potentially "no for all") would be a tremendous help! - Or, even better, but certainly more complicated, it would be great if you would provide a means to enter additional information that will be marked as hide-text in word - if you understand what I mean :)

    By this as it may, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for providing Zotero! It is such a tremendous help!!
  • You definitely shouldn't manually edit citations with that type of information. You can include it either as a page number or as a suffix:
  • Thank you for your quick reply! I see your point, but often enough I write an argument and a few days/weeks/months/... later I re-read my argument and I am not too certain anymore, whether I correctly understood those resources that I am citing. Then I go back to that reference to read the relevant part once again.

    To facilitate this "double checking", I tend to always add a "locator" (usually page + paragraph number). It is more or less a note to myself - I know of many colleagues and students who do the same and I think it is very sensible to do so. Thus, adding a button "yes for all citations" would be amazing, but also not extremely important. It is a little pain to click yes, yes, yes, ... for a couple of times but it is bearable. – I considered simply adding the locator behind/before the citation, but found this to be inferior to clicking a couple of yes’s once in a while.
  • To be clear, I'm not saying not to add this (certainly not if it's useful to you), I'm suggesting to add it in a different way that doesn't interfere with citation updating (and thus require clicking "Yes")
  • I checked once again, but all ways to add this kind of information in Zotero will also be printed in the end.

    Hence, I first add the information in the field page number. Later, when the citation is in the document, I simply hide those bits that I do not want to be printed in the end. This permits me to easily find the necessary information, and at the same time, my supervisor is not bothered by this unconventional locator.
  • This problem comes up for me because a lot of times I want to write the citation as part of the sentence rather than just put it at the end of the sentence. Like this: "Smith (2001) found that x was correlated with y", rather than: "x is correlated with y (Smith, 2001)". If I'm not supposed to change this manually, how am I supposed to do it?
  • @Franz2021 I haven't had this problem, but now that you describe it, I can see great value in being able to have a hidden comment field in a citation. This could be valuable both for going back to it later, and especially in collaboration so that a collaborator could easily find the specific part of the text that is being referenced (without a page number being "printed" in Word). What would make this especially useful would be some kind of visual indication (perhaps analogous to the flagged cells in Excel that indicate there is a hidden comment/field), though I'm not sure what that would look like (colored text?).
  • edited April 16, 2022
    @SteffenAskSleire: Click the entry in the Add/Edit Citation dialog and check “Omit Author” (“Suppress Author” in earlier versions of the Word plugin). No need to make manual changes.
  • This wording choice is very confusing. The real answer I want is yes modify this citation and allow me to switch styles, add additional citations and modify the item..." I do not want to click "no" and erase my changes? I want to keep my new changes and be able to modify ,switch styles and add additional. I want to allow future adaptability

    Would someone clarify what these "yes" and "no" choices actually mean if i want to modified my style , add citations and want the document to adapt as I write.

  • No you are just not reading it right. It tells you that you _have_ modified try he citation and now queries what you want to do in a situation it would need to update:
    Yes keeps the previous modification (of that specific, highlighted citation) and won't update it, No will overwrite the modifications and update the citation (e.g. to the new citation style). As I say several times above, you should try to avoid manually modifying Zotero citations in Word. That's the only way for you get that message
  • (For what it's worth, the Yes and No buttons are a technical limitation of this dialog within Word. While the dialog text does say what they do, a proper dialog would use clearer button names (e.g., "Keep Edits and Prevent Updates" and "Revert Edits").)
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