Feature request: PDF review in right side bar

  • The newer version with the option to place the preview at the top or bottom of the info sidebar works nicely!
    Keep up the good work @hsiangyu_wong
  • edited August 2, 2022
    @hsiangyu_wong I confirm that the update has fixed the problem. Thank you very much!

    Small ideas:
    - The preview in the Info pane seems to have a fixed height. It is possible to adjust the height on one item, but this change is reset to the default height if you change item. Having the ability to keep the same modified height across items would be helpful I think to adjust to a specific display geometry.
    - Having an arrow to collapse and expand the preview in the Info pane would give a quick tool to deal with items with long metadata, or on smaller screens.
    - This expand/collapse behaviour could be customized with a shortcut (in Zutilo?), with maybe a default like Ctrl + +/-, similar to the expand/collapse behaviour in the main library pane.
    - The standalone PDF files have the same sidebar view as when you select the PDF file directly as child item below a parent item. Having the preview work on both standalone PDF files and child PDF files would be amazing. It would help especially to see quickly which file is the main manuscript and which file is the Supplementary Material, and directly change the name in the main library pane accordingly. Or easily delete duplicate files left after merging.
    - In these cases, a vertical split view like you did in the Info pane would work nicely for me I guess, as there is no tab in the side pane. You would probably need to deal with the bottom information "Related" and "Tags", and probably keep them above the PDF preview. At the moment, I do not have any PDF file with notes directly in the notes in the sidebar of a PDF file. I remember that ZotFile was putting some table of content there? Otherwise I feel that this space is quite useless, so having the preview in there would be really nice.
  • @burgarth @mjthoraval

    v0.2.3 supports:
    - previewing the attachments without the parent item;
    - remember the preview height;
    - a collapse button for the split view in the Info tab/attachment sidebar.
  • @hsiangyu_wong Thank you very much for all the new features! The plugin really improves a lot the navigation experience in the library for me.
    I guess it can make it to the official list of plugins? https://www.zotero.org/support/plugins

    A few minor things I have noticed and comments:
    1) When I click on the arrow on the left of an item's title in the main library pane, to expand or collapse the view to see the child items, the preview disappears and becomes blank. The only way to recover the preview seems to be by going to another item and come back.
    2) Similar behaviour when I collapse and expand again the preview in the split view below the Info tab.
    3) Similar issue also when navigating between child items: view the pdf files from the attachment child item, then click on another child item of the same parent item without any preview (I have tested a link to URI, a video and a note), then go back to the first pdf file child item. In that case, the preview goes blank and does not refresh when going back to the first pdf, so stays blank.
    4) Same if you start from the parent item -> child item without preview -> first parent item. It even works if the intermediate child item is from another parent item.
    5) I find the arrows quite small, and not visible at all in Ubuntu 20.04. But I see that it is the same as for the panes in Zotero, so it is probably better to keep it consistent.
    6) The preview from attachment even works from the Duplicate Items folder. So it gives an easy way to remove unwanted files before merging.
    7) The split preview pane still appears blank below a link to URI child item or below a video child item, but does not appear for a note child item. I guess it would be better to set a consistent behaviour for all these child items without pdf preview. I am not sure if the best default would be nothing (like for the note at the moment), or the preview of the main pdf file of the parent item. Probably no preview at all would be more logical.
    8) The preview could be extended to other types of attachments than pdf later (djvu, videos, epub, webpage snapshots, word files, ...), but this is probably more related to Zotero features rather than this plugin.
  • @hsiangyu_wong, excellent changes! I think this really improves the browsing experience in Zotero, especially for big libraries like mine. I feel like this is easily one of the crucial Zotero extensions alongside BBT and ZotFile.
  • this is amazing; much better than the quicklook feature we have in the mac. thank you dear @hsiangyu_wong
  • @mjthoraval
    Thanks for the bug report!
    New fixes/features in v0.2.4:
    - fix blank preview after switching item/tab bug;
    - hide preview if the selected item does not contain a PDF attachment;
    - remove 'autofocus preview tab' in the prefs window

    A shortcut key for show/hide preview in the info tab/attachment view is planned. Any suggestions? Now I set the key 'P', which stands for preview.
  • @hsiangyu_wong Thank you very much for all the improvements. I confirm that everything is working for me now.

    The key 'P' as shortcut would work nicely for me I think. Having an option to customize it would answer all user cases, if it conflicts with their own settings or if they prefer something else.

    Some more comments and ideas:

    The double-click in the preview to open the PDF is very useful.
    From the main library pane, it is possible to open in a new window by pressing Shift when doing the double-click. I would be nice to have this similar feature from the PDF preview. At the moment, pressing Shift still opens the PDF in a new tab.

    Another thing that would be useful in this PDF Preview plugin would be the ability to see the preview in a new separate window. This would be especially useful when using multiple monitors.
    This preview could be opened through a right click on an item (or child item) in the library, showing "Open Preview in New Window" just below the "Open PDF in New Window".
    It could also be opened by a drag and drop of the Preview tab. Or a shortcut for quick access.
    I guess a single Preview window would be sufficient, as it should only show the information of the item currently selected.

    Another feature that could be useful, especially for widescreens, would be to have the Preview tab in a separate side pane. I am using a widescreen at the office, and I see that they are becoming cheaper and more popular. In a previous version of the plugin, I saw that geometry come up as a bug, with two side panes shown simultaneously. So that may be possible to do in Zotero. This would probably be the best preview geometry to check and update the metadata from the PDF file, with the Info pane and the Preview pane side by side. With a quick access shortcut, that could be even more powerful than the current two preview options, which each option best suited depending on the monitor geometry.

    Regarding the features for multiple child items:
    At the moment, when selecting an item in the main pane in the collapsed mode, we cannot see how many child items are including in this parent item. Zotero does not give any information on this in the "Attachments" column, or in the Info pane. So the only way to see that there are multiple child items is to expand the view in the main library pane. This means that the preview from the parent item will only show the "main" child item. It is possible to expand in the main pane, and then see the preview from the child PDF files. However, the preview from child PDF file will show the child item information, as controlled by Zotero.
    I would like to be able to get a preview of all child items directly from the parent item. I am not sure what would be the best way to do this with the tools available in Zotero. It could be a modified header for the preview tab, showing "Previews (2)" when there are 2 child PDF files, and then a quick way to switch between the previews (drop down menu, sub-tabs, shortcut, one-click button to switch between sub-items like in TeamViewer, ...).

    This limitation is more related to the design of Zotero, but this plugin could make a first attempt in improving the display of multiple attachments, starting with the preview of PDF files. All the information in the Tabs next to the Info pane take some time to explore. From the default view with the Info pane, we do not have any overview of what is in there, like number of tags, notes, PDF files, Related, ... Even after opening the tabs one by one, the view is a waste of space, with most of the space below left empty.
    I would like to see a much more compact overview of all the child items inside a a parent item directly from the Info tab, or below it with a split pane like you did for the preview. This is probably beyond this plugin, but it is nice that your plugin pushes in this direction, with more options to display the information.
  • Dear hsiangyu_wong
    Thank you very much for this great add-on as the covers image was one feature I was missing compared to Citavi but now this is much more better with more options and control. Having the cover images may seem trivial but it gives better familiarity with the references.
    Your add-on provide much more potentials as being able to quickly scroll through the table of contents, publisher data, as well as annotations..
    Thanks again for all your efforts as well as Zotero's Main team great efforts.
  • @mjthoraval

    Shortcut, open in a new window, and a separate preview sidebar will be supported in the next few releases. The preview for multiple items is a little more complicated and we may consider it later.

    Thank you for these suggestions!
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