In-built PDF reader beta/pdf annotation coherence

Hi, I've silently hoped for this addition for years, and am absolutely loving where it's headed!

In terms of using the in-built pdf reader in conjunction with the annotation features, it's brilliant to be able to keep the notes separately within Zotero. However, it's rare for me (and I assume others) to be working on a project where I do not have my zotero library open and visible, alongside the pdfs I am reading. That's a challenge, given the way the editor currently moves you over to the pdf you've opened – making it a fairly significant commitment to that document. Often, I'll be reading a PDF, see a footnote, remember it's in my library, glance at my library, open it to see if it's relevant, find the quote or fact that's relevant, then close it again immediately. Conversely, if it is relevant, it will stay open amongst a number of tabs far too large to clog up my main database.

In either case, if I make annotations in Zotero's editor (which has particular features I can't use elsewhere), then I'm not able to seamlessly switch over to another editor when I notice myself in this situation. Of course, I could export the PDF, were this an on-occasion problem, but the way I work it happens multiple times in an hour. It may be that my workflow is just too difficult to cater to, or that it's just not that common. But I actually find the implementation as it stands /almost/ perfect for exactly this style of working, and a huge boon to my productivity, were the database to sit in a separate window, and to open the tabbed pdfs (with annotation) by its side.

This post ( identified a desire to have two windows open, but I just wanted to note the importance of having one window for the database, and the other for tabbed pdfs, in order for the two new features to cohere for users like me. Others might be quite different, but I've had to abandon ship on the in-built aspect for this reason, but I'm loving the individual aspects.

In any case, thanks for continuing to add to and rethink this application

Best regards,

  • I'm not really following all of the above, but if the question is whether the ability to open PDFs in separate windows is still planned, then yes.
  • Super happy to hear that! My point is about the actual implementation of the windows.

    Imagine you're working with Zotero on the left, and a pdf reader on the right. You'd have Zotero open to consult, and when a file is opened from it, it appears on the right side of your screen. But you wouldn't expect the pdf to open on top of zotero in this workflow.

    This may be obvious and exactly what is planned anyway, but if and when windows are implemented, I think it's important that the main database window works the same way – with the main database window controlling a pdf-viewing and annotation window on the right. I'm actually able to hackily force another window to open at the moment, but every time I open a pdf using the in-built reader on either screen (say to find and open a bunch of pdfs I think will be relevant) the program switches to the new tab, so I can't keep working on that task without looking at the pdfs one at a time.

    I can use an external viewer, but then I can't use the annotation – which is a shame, because it's fantastic. But if the actual implementation of the pdf viewer means that you're forced to work in this way in order to use the annotation, then this forces a choice for users like me to abandon the annotation and the in-built viewer to avoid the disruption.
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