Slow performance on Mac 2015 for fields


I've just bought a Mac and I've been trying to get Zotero set up. Word 2015 runs incredibly slowly when using fields (typing slows to a crawl), but seems to function at normal speed when these are converted to bookmarks. Has anyone else experienced the same problem and is there a fix? (NB 8Gb Memory - so should be enough)

  • Which Zotero -- within FireFox or Z stand-alone? Which version number of Zotero.

    Are you running Windows on your Mac? Isn't Word 2015 for the Windows platform and 2016 for Mac? How large is your document? How many references? How large is your Zotero library?


    The following may not be relevant, however: Per AppleCare, if you are using recent versions of Firefox (Mac), there is a known issue (nothing to do with Zotero) that can temporarily slow down the appearance of characters typed into forms. (I don't have the problem when using other software.) This is particularly noticeable when using the backspace key repeatedly. I am not really a fast typist but when this slowdown is happening, I can easily exceed the appearance of characters on the screen.
  • Hi

    Zotero version is for Firefox

    Mac Word version is

    15.11.2 (Yes, it is word for Mac - it's installed via Office 365)

    It's a fairly average-sized file (probably about 20 pages, 30 refs)

    The slow down does not just affect using Zotero, but affects any sentence I type into Word. Is this the slow-down you're referring to?


  • The version of Word you're using is 2016 (yes, the numbering scheme is annoying). There is no version of Office called "2015" for either Mac or Windows.

    Does the problem persist in a new document or only the current one where you're getting the same issues? Does it persist if you Copy-Paste the entire current document into a new file?
  • Thanks - lag is notably less when copying and pasting into a new file...

  • edited July 27, 2015
    There's another issue. Word repeatedly crashes and when it reopens the zotero plug in has been disabled. There seems to be serious issue with this version of Word. This happens even when I've copied and pasted, as above...
  • I've not had those issues with Word 2016. You might want to try deleting and reinstalling Office.
  • I've reinstalled Word, and it seems to be more stable when working with bookmarks. However, performance still slows noticeably when working with fields (despite an MS update today...)
  • Okay. I spoke too soon. Word has crashed yet again, and disabled the Zotero add on.

    Should I try Zotero standalone? Perhaps try RTF scan?

    I'll definitely post this up under trouble shooting.
  • Okay. I've just noticed something. The Zotero set up panel says that the document must be saved in the .doc format. All documents I've been working from are in the .docx format. This could be the reason...
  • doc vs. docx shouldn't make much of a difference, no. Standalone doesn't differ in terms of Word integration and RTF scan isn't a real substitute, so those aren't going to be much help either.
  • Thanks. I've just converted to the files to .doc. There does actually appear to be a difference. I'm no longer getting a long typing lag when the document contains fields (though there is a very slight lag). The software also appears stable with no crashes so far. I haven't checked with bookmarks.

    So maybe the .doc / .docx distinction does matter?
  • Maybe it is the wrong with your input method?
  • Hi

    Thanks for the comment, but I'm not sure what you mean by the "input method". I use Zotero from the toolbar. Any document with fields in Mac Word slows down the editing enormously. Bookmarks seem to work fine.

    I'm not sure if this is a Zotero bug or something to do with the version of Word. In fact my particular version of Word for Mac is horrendously buggy, with text randomly disappearing from the screen, irrespective of whether Zotero is installed. Would buying an official copy of Word (rather than using the Office 365 version) resolve this? I could also consider moving to LibreOffice. The only thing preventing me from making this move is possible compatibility issues with .docx files, but I gather they're working hard to address these?
  • edited August 5, 2015
    I don't think that buying Word is any different from the 365 version. It's just a difference in the distribution/payment model. If you have to work with a lot of Word users, I'd also advise against LibreOffice. I've tried to do this in a business environment and compatibility was a constant source of problems.

    If saving as .doc works for you, puzzling as it is, I'd keep doing that. If we get more reports of this, we can investigate further.
  • Thanks for the feedback.

    I've just had another crash using Word with Firefox. This time with a .doc document. Word does only intermittent back ups so each time I lose work.

    I'm probably going to try LibreOffice...
  • I experienced some lag as well at one point, but it seems to have been fixed by a Word update. You can update Word by selecting "Check for Updates" from the Help menu.
  • edited September 9, 2015
    Hello. I am experiencing the same issue with the latest version of Word 365 for OS X using the latest standalone version of Zotero and the Safari Plugin.

    When using the Zotero citation function from the Add-On menu in Word, if the 'fields' option is checked (behaves like native Word citations) CPU usage increased from about 2% to 70%. This leads to unstable typing conditions. If the 'bookmarks' option is used instead, CPU usage returns to normal and typing is smooth. This is in a brand new document. Opening Word in safe mode did not change anything.

    For now, my fix is to simply use the bookmark style instead of fields.
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