Downgrading from Zotero 5 to 4


I upgraded to Zotero 5 on my Linux Mint machine, but I realized afterwards that Better Bib Latex is not compatible, and I rely on it to generate Cite Keys. While that issue is being resolved, I wonder if there is a way to keep my data directory and settings and plug-ins and just downgrade to zotero 4?

I tried using:

> sudo apt-get install zotero-standalone=

But it says no version of is available on my system. Which is confirmed when I run:

> apt-cache showpkg zotero-standalone

Where the only version of zotero on my system to downgrade to is my current one (5.0.4).
  • Make a backup copy of your Zotero data directory (default for Zotero 5 is ~/Zotero).

    Then, download and install Zotero over Zotero 5.0.

    In your Zotero data directory, find zotero.sqlite.77.bak (this is the backup of your Z4.0 database before upgrading). Delete/rename zotero.squlite and then rename zotero.sqlite.77.bak to zotero.sqlite.

    You should be running Zotero with your pre-upgrade data.
  • A doubt: if zotero.sqlite.77.bak is a backup of Zotero 4, does this mean that by downgrading I am also losing all the items that I have included in the database once I upgraded to Zotero 5?
  • If you're fully in sync in 5.0, the new items will sync back down to 4.0.
  • Ok, so it's all based on having a complete online synch. I definitely don't have it, as my library consists of 42.000 items library and obviously I don't synch the pdf attachments. Under these circumstances, I fear that downgrading is no option. I wish I had known it before.
  • edited July 31, 2017
    You can alternatively sort by Date Added, export recent items to Zotero RDF, and import into 4.0, though you'll lose the link to those items in word processor documents.
  • Thanks, that's actually an excellent idea!
  • That's a doubt I am having. I don't have Zotero on sync and I worry that going back to Z 4 I won't be able to read my files. Is that the case?
  • edited August 4, 2017
    @kasimt : did you read bwiernik's comment above: ?
    A sync would be useful to keep (more exactly, bring back) items added after your upgrade to Zotero 5.0.
  • I have been slow in making this downgrade. I am trying to follow @bwiernik 's advice about renaming zotero.sqlite.77.bak. But I don't find the file in my zotero directory. Any advice on how to proceed?
  • BetterBibTeX is now Zotero 5 compatible, so I’d recommend just sticking with Zotero 5.
  • oh wow. I didn't realize. Thanks.
  • edited July 10, 2021
    Dear dstillman, according to your comment, what else will I lose if I import Zotero 5-exported RDF of new items into version for Firefox?

    And regarding the "lose the link to those items in word processor documents", does this have the same effect as clicking the "Unlink Citations" in Zotero Word add-in for MS Word?
  • @testplayer: This thread is from 2017, shortly after Zotero 5 was released and before the Better BibTeX was upgraded to work with it. You absolutely shouldn’t be using Zotero 4 at this point in time.
  • edited July 10, 2021
    @dstillman: Thanks for your prompt reply. But as you can see from my previous story, it's still impossible for me to migrate from Firefox Portable + Zotero to Zotero 5.0, unless the alternative of my suggestion/request #(3) in that post is possible, namely, when I want to view a Zotero item's online link/local snapshot/PDF, Zotero can send the viewing request containing the online link URL or local path to Zotero connector, and after capturing the URL or local path, Zotero connector will pass it to Firefox (or any other browser) in which it is installed, and then Firefox will open a new tab or use the current tab to open the URL or local path.

    Or, if this is still too complicated to implement in foreseeable future, I recently noticed another alternative: I can drag-and-drop any Zotero item's attachment PDF or HTML snapshot from within Zotero 5.0 to any browser tab and view them there, which is close enough to the alternative above, except that I can't drag-and-drop the item *itself* to a browser tab to view the URL online (if the Zotero item indeed has a URL in the relevant field). If this can be implemented, then I think I can live with it and start the long and painful - but at least possible - migration process.

    If this is still not gonna be implemented in foreseeable future, then I probably have to use both Firefox+Zotero 4 and Zotero 5 like now, while not opening both of them simultaneously to avoid database corruption. Then, after adding some new items in Zotero 5 and exporting them to Zotero RDF, I will need to do some renaming work of the SQLite files and then open Firefox+Zotero 4 to import the Zotero RDF, but then I have the question above regarding what else I will lose by doing that, and whether "losing the link to those items in word processor documents" as you mentioned is effectively the same as clicking the "Unlink Citations" in Zotero Word add-in for MS Word.

    Many thanks in advance again.
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