Find-as-you-type is slow in a large library

This discussion was created from comments split from: only first typed letter recognized with 'find-as-you-type'.
  • Hi, I also now have a significant delay between typing even the first letter and having the list scroll and select the first item with that letter. In my 12k item library, it is a full 2-3 seconds between typing a letter and selecting the item. Is this fixed as well in the latest version?
  • @realtime99 Is this a slow or heavily loaded machine that you are doing this on? Does it get better after Zotero runs for a while or after you perform a few searches. If you disable the attachment column does it get faster? Is scrolling over the list of these items relatively fast?
  • @adomasven thanks for the troubleshooting suggestions! The machine isn't overloaded, it's a 8-core and Zotero takes only one processor, and I have plenty of RAM. Scrolling over the list is fast. Disabling the attachment column *does* help significantly—why? It does seem to improve after Zotero runs for a while. So, I guess I have to hide attachment column and just be patient after opening Zotero for it to work well? Any way to keep the (useful) attachment column open and retain performance?
  • Zotero queries attachment status to the disk when navigating the item tree if the attachment column is open, although it only does it once for each item after opening the software so after scrolling around the tree (or navigating by typing) for a while it should speed up. Is Zotero data stored on an SSD or a HDD disk?
  • It is on an HDD. Does it do this even if the attachment column is not displayed? I just restarted Zotero and it still has some (smaller) delay even though the attachment column is hidden.
  • It does not, it only looks up some item information in the zotero sqlite database. Of course, on a database of this size navigating by typing won't be instant, but it shouldn't cause 2-3s delays either if the attachment column is hidden. Best way to speed this up as you may realize now is to move Zotero data to an SSD.
  • Hey there,

    I'm also having trouble with Zotero's speed, while using the Word plugin for Mac. It's really slow to pull up the quick citation window, slow to search, and especially slow to insert the citation once I've finished typing (it can take 5-10 seconds).

    Specs: I've only got 1100 items in the library, but I'm working on a book that runs 275 pages, with lots of citations. I'm running a 2015 MacBook Air with lots of memory left (not sure how to check how much RAM). The machine is definitely showing its age, but it's rare that anything else is as slow as Zotero plugin has regularly been.

    Is there anything I can do to speed it up? I'm seeing this attachment column thing here but not sure how to disable that.

  • Quoting from here:

    The bug discussed there was fixed with 6.0.7, but my comment still applies, similar to the question in this thread:
    I also noticed since the update to Zotero 6 that this feature seems to hang a bit. Previously the library was very responsive and would instantaneously jump down (even when I had thousands of entries in a single collection). In 6, there is a delay of a few letters (even at a casual rate of typing) and then the library catches up. The effect might look a little "smoother" now (rather than rapidly jumping as you type), but it's less responsive and doesn't give the immediate feedback of whether you typed the right letters and/or whether there are (approximate) matches in the library. It's a minor inconvenience, but I preferred the previous version.
    I'm on a fast Macbook with SSD. This seems like a UI issue, because it used to be very fast in Zotero 5.
  • @djross3 Could you produce a video showing the issue which records keypresses so that the delay can be observed? Can you also produce a Debug ID for the slow typing after Zotero has booted up and sat idle for a bit? How big of a delay are you seeing?
  • edited May 18, 2022
    @adomasven sorry I didn't get a chance to record this yet.

    Following the update posted by @dstillman (6.0.8) -- -- this issue seems to be resolved, or at least a lot faster, maybe especially once the whole library has been loaded for a bit and searched (by typing) already. (That didn't seem to be the case before. I'm not sure if that update was intended to fix this, but at least for the moment I will assume it has.)

    I'll keep an eye on it and try to record a video if it seems problematic in general again.

    (I'd still describe this feature with the new UI as a little jerkier or very slightly delayed (on the order of 10s of ms, probably), compared to Zotero 5, but probably only because I'm still looking for it. If you think the debug info would still help I could submit it, but I'm guessing you're seeing something similar with this new UI. And it's certainly functional.)
  • Just FYI, under the hood the collection and item trees have been completely reworked due to technical reasons and we're still ironing out some discrepancies between the previous and current version. On the other hand we don't have a compelling reason to believe the current find-as-you-type behavior should be materially slower than with the previous tree and we cannot reproduce it ourselves, which is why we're looking for more info and video proof as these things often are "feel" related.
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