Available in preview: Zotero PDF reader and new note editor

  • I notice that the questions from @robynlyn and me, in essence about whether, when the PDF reader is implemented for Group libraries, users who haven't updated to the Beta will still be able to use those libraries, haven't yet been answered (unless I missed it, in which case my apologies). Is that because everyone is overworked trying to keep up with the flow of ideas from these forums, or because the policy for this hasn't been worked out yet? Obviously I don't want to add unnecessarily to your burdens -- these changes clearly involve an enormous amount of work -- but I can see the problem coming down the track and it would be helpful to be ready for it.
  • @deepak-k Thanks. I just asssumed that would only work for text. Silly me. My cup now overflowing. Thanks Zotero Team!
  • Since we have to opt in within "Preferences," why would it impact group members not using it?
    @robynlyn: The beta creates data that can't be synced with older versions, which results in a warning at sync time. The latest release version moves into the sync button tooltip in group libraries, but not everyone has that version yet, and we want to avoid a confusing message for people who aren't running the beta.

    We're also just being careful. It's a beta for a reason.
    whether, when the PDF reader is implemented for Group libraries, users who haven't updated to the Beta will still be able to use those libraries
    @hgunz: Yes, the libraries will be usable regardless of version. Some data just won't appear.
  • Thanks, @dstillman -- that's a relief.
  • hi , my mac installed this Beta zotero. I want to use this new function. But I can not check“enable the zotero pdf reader" . I restart many times,but can't check this function. could you help me ? thanks
  • @estrellaliu -- when you say "you can not check" that option, does that mean you don't see it or that you click it and it doesn't get checked?

    If you don't see it, can you say exactly what you see in the General tab of the preferences and which version of Zotero you have (check under Help --> About Zotero)
  • I really like the new Zotero PDF Reader. I am getting good use of the Select Area tool to capture images from PDFs in addition to the highlighting, and it is great seeing the images in the extracted annotations notes. However, when I generate a report from those annotations the report doesn't include the images captured. Is this something you would plan to support? I think it would be a great feature.
  • Great job!
    Can you tell us when the new zotero will be available for download (not the beta release I mean)?
  • I plan on writing up a review of the new features soon (spoiler alert, I love them!). In the interim, I don't know if this feature request appears in this long thread, but I'd like to request:

    *please bring back the highlighting feature in notes*

    I used that feature extensively over the past 14 years of Zotero use and I would hate to see it go.
  • @dstillman : I just got the new beta 97-7 update. It seems that the navigation back/next commands are already available. At least, I succeeded to use them through the ALT+(Left/Right) Arrows...!!
    Thank you!
  • Is it correct that notes can no longer be seen and edited in source code (used to be html) and are larger? This leads to a fatal issue: note syncing does not work for long notes. Annotations to books can be quite long. A note with 93k characters does not sync. Formerly the maximum length was 250k, which means position data etc. seem to be stored within the note. Any work-around? Thanks!
  • @octavabasso text color and text background color formatting options will be added. Do you expect to have the same colors? How many colors are necessary for your workflow?

    @scholarium most likely citations are consuming the space. We're preparing a fix.
  • @martynas_b Thank you!

    Ideally, I'd like the same palette as before. But I used only about 1/3 of that palette, so about 10 or so.
  • This functionality is amazing - it was the last thing remaining that I preferred about Mendeley and will greatly streamline my workflow across a few different applications. Thanks so much for such a slick interface while still in beta!

    Some observations/bugs/requests:

    1. When I save a PDF to embed annotations, the 5 highlight colors all change to orange. This is the case in 3 different external PDF readers.

    2. It would be very useful if when you click (or perhaps double click) on a highlight to open the comment box, it would move the focus/cursor to the box instead of then having to click inside of it.

    3. I like what was said in [this comment](https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/comment/376823/#Comment_376823) about more highlighting/styling/command options in the quick toolbar. I appreciate your replies about clutter, but perhaps a solution is to make it a customizable quick toolbar - allow to select which colors, styles etc... we want to apply. If we want to make it a mess, that's on us. The calibre ebook manager/reader implemented this with their new annotation features (it's a great tool to look at for some inspiration, by the way)

    4. When you click a comment when the left-sidebar is open , I would like if the comment pops-up in addition to highlighting it in the pane. Or, at the very least, pop-up when the annotation pane is not selected (i.e. outline or thumbnails is selected instead).

    5. A button to open in an external viewer in the main library context menu and/or in the previewer. I see that other people have requested this, for various reasons. A toggle preference to show the button seems like it would satisfy your qualms about clutter.

    6. "Add Item Note from Annotations" in the right panel could really benefit from extracting the highlight color and adding a page link zotero:// URI, like Zotfile does with its Extract Annotations function.

    7. As others have mentioned, ability to edit bookmarks/TOC would be massively helpful.

    8. I cosign most of the requests in [this comment](https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/comment/377116/#Comment_377116)

    9. As various other people have commented, I would also like for some sort of markdown formatting/export of annotations/notes, if possible.

    Sorry for so many! If they're irrelevant, already suggested or implemented, or just not possible, that's perfectly fine. I just hope the useful ones can be added to your (surely huge) backlog and prioritized as you see fit!
  • Fantastic, I have been waiting for this for so many years, almost decades. Congratulations dev team!
    Everything looks working great here in Xubuntu 20.04.
    Zotero version: 5.0.97-beta.8+f690c666d
  • edited March 24, 2021

    1) It'll be fixed in the next update.
    2) You are right. But I guess you mostly care about focusing the comment box when it's empty or are you also editing them when they already have text?
    3) Customizable toolbar is not planned, but more options will be added.
    6) Why do you need another page link over 'zotero://'? You can navigate back using highlight popup.
    7) How bookmarks/TOC editing would help for your workflow?
  • @martynas_b

    In response to your question about @seeingtheforest comment #7:

    Editing bookmarks/TOC is something I do a lot with PDFs. Many PDFs, both books and articles, come without any bookmarks to guide navigation. If I am going to be using a PDF extensively (which is often), I will typically go through the document inserting nested bookmarks to make future navigation much more efficient.

    For me, bookmarks serve a very different purpose than highlighting. Bookmarks represent the permanent structure of the document, independent of the project I am working on. Highlights and notes are usually specific to a project.
  • Is there a size limit for the new notes? I have experienced twice now after having created notes from annotations that I receive an error message when syncing telling me: The note XXX is too long to sync. Shorten the note and sync again." If I cut the note into two halves the problem disappears, but this is inconvenient if it can be avoided.
  • @haraldaa: We're working on a fix for that.
  • Thank you, otherwise I enjoy the new features!
  • @martynas_b

    Thanks for the reply!

    2. I would want it to focus the comment box whether it is empty or has a comment that I want to edit. I see no downside to focusing it in either case.

    6. Because I export the notes/annotations to use in other apps (specifically using the mdnotes addon to use markdown files in Obsidian), so I'd like to be able to have a clickable link just as Zotfile does.

    7. As @bentle says, many PDFs have terrible or non-existent bookmarks. And even if they do have decent ones, sometimes I just want to customize it further for subheadings or whatever.
  • edited March 25, 2021
    6. Because I export the notes/annotations to use in other apps (specifically using the mdnotes addon to use markdown files in Obsidian), so I'd like to be able to have a clickable link just as Zotfile does.
    @seeingtheforest: That's a problem for mdnotes. This functionality is built into Zotero, and the metadata to enable it is available in the note markup and accessible to plugins. We're not going add a redundant link to the notes within Zotero. (If Zotero gains other export options for notes, we'll consider what's appropriate to export at that point.)
  • Scrolling with mouse on Windows 10 is not smooth. Please consider adding smooth scrolling support!
  • edited March 25, 2021
    This is a fantastic upgrade!
    What I am missing is the functionality to drag & drop my notes that are generated from the annotation to other notes or even Word. Right now I can drag them, e.g. to a new note in Zotero but will only see "null" after dropping it. It would be even better, if the citation / zotero link was available in Word so that documents I used quotes from will be included in the bibliography automatically
  • @christianau when you drag one Zotero note into another, the content of the first note should be inserted. If that doesn't work, can you provide more information how exactly are you doing that? Does it happen with all notes?

    Additionally, you can use the new "Add Note" button in Word to add any Zotero note with fully functioning citations.
  • edited March 25, 2021
    @dstillman Thanks and understood.

    A related thought: will there be a way to customize how the "Add Item Note from Annotations" formats the note using a template? I could see it being desirable to many people to be able to style (bold, italics, etc...), include highlight color, add line breaks, dividers (>, |, etc...) or include different metadata (year, author, publisher, etc...) in the note, rather than the current plaintext format of what appears to be something like [{highlight} ({title}, p. {pg #}) {comment}].

    Similarly, will there perhaps be a way for Add-ons to access and manipulate the annotations and their metadata in database?

    Keep up the great work!
  • @martynas_b I do not want to drag the whole note into the new note but rather certain elements from it (which are for example individual highlights extracted from the PDF). Pulling the entire note into the new note works just as you described.
    Same in Word. I would love to drag&drop elements from a note...
  • @christianau drag handles currently don't support dragging into another Zotero note, but they will in future. At the moment you can just select text and drag it.

    Dragging into word processor might be technically limited, but we will consider that.
  • Can the pdf reader suppport double click to select a word, for now I have to choose a word manually by mouse, hope will support double click to automatically select a word
This discussion has been closed.