Move entry to a different collection/folder (not just "copy")?

I'm organizing a collection (folder) into sub-collections (sub-folders).

If I drag and drop an element into a sub-folder, it will create a "copy" of that element in the sub-folder. So then I have the same element into the original folder, and in the new sub-folder. I have to manually remove the element from the original folder so that it is present only in the sub-folder.

Is there a a way to move ("cut+paste") an element into a different folder/sub-folder without leaving a copy of the element in the original folder/sub-folder?
  • (as of Zotero 4.0.21)
    Items can now be be moved (instead of copied) between collections with a modifier key

    Cmd on OS X, Shift on Windows/Linux
    Known issue: No cursor feedback on Windows

    (i.e. hold the key while dragging)
  • Excellent! Thank you adam!
  • edited April 19, 2016
    Cmd on OSX was allowing me to move (instead of copy) but now is not. Any thoughts as to why? That is, I hold Cmd key and drag the item. It copies instead of moves said item.

    Thank you!
  • On my Linux (Ubuntu 14.04) it is the Shift-Key.
  • Shift also just copies.
    It is truly odd because within the same working session the Cmd function to move (rather than copy) stopped working.
  • @anne -- Have you tried restarting Zotero?
  • I have not. Always the simplest solution, isn't it... ;-) Will do that now and report back.
  • edited April 19, 2016
    Turning off Firefox and turning back on does not seem to have helped. Or, it helped momentarily but now I'm back to having it not work again. Do I need to reboot computer?
  • I was having this issue too and I realized you have to use the shift button in a very specific way. You have to single click on the item so it turns blue. Then hold down shift. And then drop and drag.
  • In addition to leahkayclarke's comment, the item has to be selected, and the destination is WITHIN THE SAME library / group library, then you can SHIFT+drag to MOVE the item.

    If the item is moved to a DIFFERENT library / group library, then SHIFT+drag doesn't work - only copy happens.

    Please someone verify my observation

  • That's correct. There's no "move" between groups/libraries, that's always going to be a copy operation (and since moving an item out of a library effectly moves it to the trash and thus is pretty consequential -- e.g. links to citing documents will break -- I think that's the correct choice)
  • edited November 17, 2021
    I just found this thread and am really glad that this feature exists. To add to this discussion: Is there a way to move (cut and paste) items to a different collection using keyboard shortcuts? Coming from Anki, one of the great things about that software is that I can select items, then hit Crtl+D to select a new deck (=collection), then type some letters to find a deck and hit enter to complete the action. The same thing could be possible in zotero.

    EDIT: Is it possible somehow to find all items that are part of more than one collection?

    On a sidenote, I am really curious why anyone would actively pursue a workflow in which items are used in more than one collection. It just strikes me as so counterintuitive.
  • No keyboard shortcuts for collection assignments and no way to find items that are in 2+ collections, no.

    Lots of reasons to have items in multiple collections: they fit systematically in two categories n& you don't have to decide, you create a collection for each paper you write, you use collections for.each database you search in a lit/scoping/systematic review to name just some common scenarios
  • edited November 25, 2021
    I see, those are actually very valid points. At the moment I am thinking about using subcollections to group my literature research into "I have cited these before in the project" and vice-versa. At the same time, I would like to group the literature review in another subfolder "Topics" that helps me differentiate literature based on the general topic they cover. I suppose such a workflow would be totally in the spirit of placing articles in more than one collection.

    While I really like this possibility, I do also feel like a lot more could be done with this. For instance, when I add a new article, I now have to add it both in the "not cited" subcollection and in one of the "Topics" subcollections. I feel like this approach will become increasingly messy the larger the scale of my literature review. I think what would be cool is to have something like integrity rules in the collection database system. For instance: Throw an error if the collection "Cited/Not cited" and its subcollections have more, less, or different articles inside them compared with the collection "Topics" and all its subcollections. Or: "Always create copy of item in collection X if item is added to collection Y." Or: "Add tag X to item Y if it exists in more than one collection of the list of collections (would be useful in my case for finding items that I put in more than one topic collection)." Are ideas like these somewhere in the development pipeline?

    In any case, thanks for your reply and your work!
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