Zotero 6 Note Editor HTML View

The new Note Editor has some nice features--the citation tool in particular. However, is there no way to view and edit the raw HTML of the note? In the past, this was helpful in certain cases.

As a side note, I miss the less bare-bones toolbar of TinyMCE. I use the styles quite a bit (e.g. Heading 1), and though still functional, the new interface makes them less visible.
  • The new editor isn't HTML, so no HTML view, sorry.
    What did you use that for previously?
  • Thanks for your response. Well, for example, in some cases I would render a table of contents into an HTML table. It's easy to use a text editor to substitute the library catalog's -- and / to the right tags. Even without a GUI for working with tables, small modifications are easy in HTML.

    I just tested out copying from Excel into the new editor to see what it would do, and I don't really understand it. It copied the cells as elements with text, but the text is not editable. The individual cells are selectable, and there are handles around the entire table, but they do not seem to be draggable. So....what is it? With HTML, I could take a look at see whether it's a table or a set of DIVs or something else. With the new editor, since it doesn't use HTML as you say, then I'm surprised that it even attempts to copy the table from Excel at all.

    The same oddity happens when copying the table from https://www.w3schools.com/html/html_tables.asp as rendered by Vivaldi into the new Zotero editor. It clearly renders it like a table, with text and individual cells, but the text is not editable and the table is not resizable.

    Another use case: let's say I copy something from a web page and paste into the editor and it adds some unwanted formatting. Yes, I can use the new editor's "Clear formatting" button, but that would in theory clear all the formatting. What if I want to keep most of the formatting, but there's one aspect I didn't want, which could be changed easily in HTML mode. Some pages, for example, can have weird oddities where a small portion of the text happens to be in a different font. Moreover, if the copied selection is large, I could copy the HTML into my text editor (EditPad Pro) and search-and-replace to fix the formatting issue thoroughly.

    In short, I did use it for a lot of things. It's not strictly necessary, and many users will never use it, but I did appreciate it and find it quite useful.

    I suppose that if the new editor isn't based on HTML then there's no chance of adding such functionality back in. But it's unfortunate because this removes a certain flexibility and intercompatibility that comes with HTML. Moreover, I'm surprised if it doesn't use HTML at all, since the annotation templates (which control exporting PDF annotations into notes, right?) take HTML. I wonder if it might be possible to simply allow the user to reactivate TinyMCE via preferences, since the two editors are probably interchangeable in the code?

    Thanks again.
  • Hi !
    I have been using a lot of tables inside individual notes, thanks to the html editor.
    It was a really convenient way to display complex datas.
    Yesterday, without any notification, Zotero 5 was removed and replaced by Zotero 6 !!
    For me, it is a catastroph !
    Zotero 5 was totaly removed from my hard disk. It is not correct !
    I tried to reinstall Zotero 5, but the database was changed and locked for Zotero 6.
    Without any html editor, I cannot work anymore. I am now loosing my time finding a Zotero alternative and exporting all my datas into another software.
    I am really desappointed.
    B. Merlier (France)
  • Bertrand: See Restoring from the Last Upgrade Backup.

    Zotero 6 was in beta for over a year, and very few beta testers mentioned tables during that time. We'll consider supporting them in the new editor if there's enough demand.
  • edited March 21, 2022
    I use Zotero primarily for storage of genealogical data. Many of my items, files and notes are accompanied by information copied from Ancestry or FamilySearch web pages, many of which include tables and images, which require html editing. It may be as simple as changing html tags. It might involve cleaning up a broken table or formatting an image width. None of that seems to be possible with the new editor.

    Other work I do involves chemical data. I am afraid to open those databases with Zotero 6.0.

    On the upside, the new notes look really nice.

    (I notice that html tags still work in these comments.)
  • My comment under "Unable to edit html source code," may have been ambiguous. I meant to say that With the latest update to Zotero it appears that the capability of editing html source code for notes has been disabled, and it has also been disabled for html source code attached to items and file attachments.
  • Thank you.
    I wasted my time re-installing Zotero 5 (as well as testing other new software).
    Below is a philosophical reflection (not only for the Zotero team).
    We are still able to perform J.S. Bach music because music notation and instruments have not changed whithin 3 centuries. In computer science, every 6 months, software are upgraded, functionnalities and encoding very often change too. How can we work in such conditions? How can our human society survive in such a moving context ?
    Bertrand
  • I use tables and would like to see easier interface for them again.
  • I'm using Zotero for all my Genealogy Files and add the transcription for them in the Notes with a Picture of only this part of the document.
    As I enter the transcription in tables I change the style and width of this tables in HTML.
    In this case the new version 6 is useless for me which is very sad.
    As soon as there is an option to add Pictures and tables and have them in the report as well, I'll give Zotero 6 another try.
  • I just realised that it is not possible to edit the source code anymore. I preferred the note editor the old way, no question! Why these unneccessary restrictions? Why would you force users to limit the design of notes in such a way?

    I used far more than 3 different headline styles that are now available, and also integrated tables and more fine-grained list styles.

  • It does seem odd to switch to a new-fangled note editor with fewer options than the old. I'm realizing that I really do use HTML quite a lot, and it would be a huge benefit to be able to work with tables. Wouldn't it make more sense to go back to TinyMCE and include advanced features such as the TinyMCE table plugin? Since TinyMCE is a separate project, doesn't that make it much simpler for the Zotero team, having that part of the code managed by someone else?

    Alternatively, what if Zotero could have an option for simply passing the notes in HTML format to an external program? Then we could use the editor of our choice.
  • edited March 26, 2022
    The new note editor is much more powerful and deeply integrated into Zotero, with support for annotations, citations, and embedded images in notes, and various dynamic functionality related to those things (e.g., toggling annotation colors, jumping back to items and annotations). See the Zotero 6 announcement for more on the changes. Most formatting options are still available, and you can use Markdown syntax to trigger them more quickly.

    The new editor is the foundation for many more Zotero-specific features to come. The catch is that, since we're no longer using a stock HTML editor, we don't get HTML features by default and have to implement them specifically. As I said above, very few people mentioned tables during the year-long beta, so that's not something we focused on, but since there's clearly demand, we'll work on support for tables in a future version.

    @birdy113: Earlier versions of Zotero didn't support images in notes — the fact that they worked at all was a fluke, and they broke syncing and ruined performance. In Zotero 6 we've added official support for images in notes. Currently, you drag them in from the filesystem or paste from some web browsers. We'll add more ways to insert them in the future.

    @gideonnoss: You can use other heading levels using Markdown.

    Font color options will be returning soon.
  • Seems Zotero is evolving following the path of firefox. I mean, it's not good.

    @dstillman You could use the excuse that not many feedbacks about table were provided. But you cannot eliminate the possibility that most heavy users may have no interest in your years-long beta development at all, like me.

    Just my two cents, I don't need a fancy pdf reader like that in Mendeley, so the deep coupling of the new note editor under the hook cannot be justified by the introducing of that reader.

    Personally, I would like to see a more conservative and reliable development path of Zotero.
  • edited March 28, 2022
    But you cannot eliminate the possibility that most heavy users may have no interest in your years-long beta development at all, like me.
    That's absurd. Thousands of people used the beta, including many of Zotero's heaviest users, and there were countless posts over the last year providing feedback. This just wasn't something that came up very much. (And I'm not sure why you think something that required going into a nearly hidden "Source code" mode would be a remotely common thing.)

    An integrated PDF reader, by contrast, was by far the most frequent reason people gave for not using Zotero, and there's been an overwhelmingly positive response to the new features in Zotero 6. If it's not for you, it's not for you, but your experience of using Zotero is not universal.

    Anyway, let's not waste more time on this. We've heard the feedback that some people valued the ability to edit tables in the old editor, and we'll work to restore that functionality — likely in a much more user-friendly way — as soon as possible.
  • @dstillman Okay. It may be my fault to use the word "excuse" and also my expression, but you misunderstood me about my opinion.

    I'm not saying it's bad to have an embedded pdf annotator. As you said, I also realized it's not for me, at least not for now.

    As for the feedback, I just want to remind you that user feedback is of course very important, but a great product needs to have its own soul other than just to meet the users' desire. That's the main reason I dislike and gave firefox in past years. If you insist "your experience of using Zotero is not universal", okay, fine, just take my feedback and ignore it.
  • I would love too to have back the html editor
  • A few days ago, you told me to re-install Zotero V5. That's what I did. I also removed the automatic software update in the hidden preferences. However, every morning, Zotero suggests me to upgrade to version 6. This is really boring. This morning, Zotero V5 refused to sync and told me : "This version of Zotero is too old to sync. Please upgrade." This insistence on updating the software is misplaced.
  • edited March 29, 2022
    Bertrand: I don't know who the "you" is there or what advice you followed, but if it's saying your version is too old to sync then you're running a version from many years ago. All versions of Zotero 5 from the last couple years still sync.
  • Another problem with the new Note Editor is that you cannot copy text from within a table. You can (if you are lucky) copy the entire table, together with all formatting; however, you cannot select text within a table and copy that text and only that text.

    For instance, if I want to copy the birth place "Bärweiler" from the following table, I must copy the entire table to another text editor (e.g., Notepad)


    Name: Philipp Karl Germann

    Event Type: Geburt (Birth)

    Birth Date: 22. Mrz 1794 (22 Mar 1794)

    Birth Place: Bärweiler, Rheinland (Rhineland-Palatinate), Preußen

    Father: Jakob Germann

    Mother: Maria Elisabetha Germann

    Author: Evangelische Kirche Bärweiler (Kr. Meisenheim)



    and then click on "Bärweiler" and hit Ctrl C.

    Extremely inconvenient.
  • We've restored the ability to paste images into notes on Windows in the latest Zotero beta, and if there are no problems it will be included in 6.0.5 soon. If you try the beta, let us know in a new thread if you run into any trouble.
  • I just found this discussion, and I want to echo what so many other people have said about the loss of the ability to edit raw HTML in notes. I use this feature all the time for all sorts of editing issues. I like for my Zotero reports to have a consistent look, and I like to be able to apply my own styles.

    The biggest limitation of the prior HTML code editor was no way to


    1. link to external style sheets or

    2. include a CSS header block.

    I got around this limitation by editing the HTML in Sublime Text, and then adding inline styles to every element. That approach could be painful, but, it worked. Now, not having any ability to edit raw HTML really dampens my enthusiasm for Zotero as a research tool.


    Even without being able to edit raw HTML in notes, I will still continue to use Zotero for managing my citations. However, without the ability to perform raw HTML edits for notes, the note taking ability of Zotero is now vastly inferior to Evernote and Microsoft OneNote.


    Fortunately, both of those software packages have the ability for their users to rapidly create external URLs to notes. I think my best approach will be to create and maintain my notes in one of those packages, create external URLs, and then paste these URLs into Zotero notes.


    I really wish you hadn't taken away that functionality.

  • @kmilgram: We didn't just arbitrarily remove HTML editing. As explained above, the new note editor is no longer based on HTML, so this isn't possible. Note features have to be specifically implemented.

    If there's specific formatting you're finding yourself wanting to apply in the new note editor, start a new thread and provide more details.
  • edited April 6, 2022
    @dstillman

    In the process of summarizing how I used Zotero's note-taking features, I explored the new features available in v6.0.4. I'm still learning the features, but, my first impressions are very positive.

    In previous versions of Zotero, perhaps I was leaning so heavily on the ability to edit raw HTML because these versions were lacking some of the newly added functionality.

    I created a new post to talk about some of the most critical features of the raw HTML that were useful to me. Please see Features that were enabled via being able to edit raw HTML in previous versions of Zotero.
  • We've added initial support for table editing in the latest Zotero beta.
  • Zotero 6.0.5 is out now with support for table editing.
  • Thank you for listening to concerns from users about the need to edit tables now that HTML is no longer supported in the notes. However, I was a heavy user of the html function in notes that did not involve tables. The main issue is copying text from sources into notes. The current "clear formatting" option in the notes does not fully strip styles such as paragraph breaks, making note-taking much more tedious.

    Even doing the extra step of pasting text into a 3rd space (like Apple Notes) and then copying and pasting into Zotero Notes does not resolve this issue (paragraph/line breaks still come through to Zotero Notes).

    The new notes may be unusable for me with the way I used it to take and store notes from articles.

  • @ahoehling: Paragraph/line breaks aren't styles and wouldn't be cleared by that option (in any program, as far as I know).

    It's not totally clear what you're trying to do, but if you're referring to blocks of text with many line breaks — e.g., when copying from a fixed-width email — there are lots of third-party utilities for fixing that. That's not really related to the note editor at all (beyond, perhaps, a feature request to be able to search for special elements like paragraph breaks in the Find/Replace bar).
  • I also just got automatically updated on one laptop and was wondering how to edit tables and formatted text copied from a website in the new version (6.0.8). Does anyone have a link for that part of the manual?

    It seems to me the more 'conservative' users amongst us never got to hear about the new changes precisely because we were entirely happy with the original product. How does one get a notification for feedback on upcoming changes?

    Thanks a lot!
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