Option to open PDFs externally

edited February 4, 2022
Zotero now opens PDFs using its internal editor, rather than externally as used to be the case. I am not opposed to Zotero using the internal editor by default, but it seems pretty disruptive to people's workflows to remove support for opening files externally altogether. Previously, I could open a PDF on the system default PDF viewer by just pressing 'enter'. Now I have to grab the mouse, select 'show file', wait slightly for the file manager window to open, and then double-click on the file. I do this dozens of times per day, so the inconvenience isn't negligible.

After some investigation, I was able to configure a keyboard shortcut on Zutilo to show the file externally, but this still creates the friction of having to temporarily switch to the file manager and then executing an additional keyboard shortcut to open the file. I guess I could also create a macro using Keyboard Maestro to replicate Zotero's original functionality, but it doesn't seem to me that users should go through all this trouble to do something as basic as opening a PDF with the system-wide viewer.
  • You can still configure the PDF reader you want to use from the General pane of the preferences, as you've been able to do for years. The only difference is that there's a built-in reader now.
  • Oops, my apologies.
  • It would be great if right-clicking would include in the drop-down menu a new option: "Open PDF in external viewer."
  • I strongly agree with kbarros's suggestion.

    Also, on the Mac side, the built-in PDF reader is pretty laggy and the font rendering strategy is not consistent with most of the PDF readers out there on Mac. The only reason I use it is because it syncs with the iPad side via native Zotero library.
  • I wonder if this would be a good task to try to incorporate into the file view as a good first task for a novice contributor (i.e., myself). Would love to try hacking at this. Not sure where to put options though. I guess in the right click menu next to show in library - adding options to open externally and to open to folder?
  • edited June 28, 2022
    There's now an add-on that adds this option https://github.com/retorquere/zotero-open-pdf
    Given Zotero's concerns with this (editing PDFs in an external editor can break annotations made in Zotero's reader), the add-on solution is likely preferable.

    Edit: Thread with details: https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/comment/410987#Comment_410987
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