Improve citation update speed in Microsoft Word

edited August 12, 2018
If you have around 100 citations in a MS Word document, it take a very long time to refresh citations (more than 60 seconds).

1) the document should not be editable during this process. I have MS Word crashing on me several time because I moved somethings during the update process. It should have some kind of progress bar.

2) can we improve the speed? My CPU is not moving during this process, I have plenty of resources left on my computer. I don't understand why refreshing 100 citation take so much time.
  • Is this Mac or Windows? -- Mac Word has had API-related speed issues for a long time. There's probably still some room for improvement, but unclear how much.

    Also, you're aware that you can disable updating in the Document Preferences, right?
  • edited August 12, 2018
    On macOS with Microsoft Word 16.16 (latest version).

    I do disable updating document in the preferences (otherwise, it's not usable), but when I click "refresh" it take forever. I will check on Windows when I have the chance to see if performances are better.

    A good first fix would be to have a progress bar, so users know when updating is done and I when they can start editing again.
  • edited August 12, 2018
    A progress bar would be useful.

    More technically, I have always found it odd — and problematic, as you point out! — that we can edit the document while Zotero is doing something.

    This is because a shell command is sent to Zotero which runs asynchronously to whatever is going on in Word. ( So we could for example delete the whole citation field where Zotero is working. I've definitely had minor glitches from time to time when I accidentally keep typing while Zotero is still updating.

    I suppose there is an argument for allowing us to work while Zotero is running "in the background", but that seems risky, as well as confusing, and I'm not convinced. And now that we can disable automatic updates, the need to allow us to work while it is updating is much less.

    If it were possible to have a synchronous alternative to that shell command so we cannot edit the document while it is running, I think that could be better.

    I wonder if it would be possible to show a progress bar: either technically (because the progress is via the shell command in the background) or practically (how would it know how much needs to be updated? I suppose it could count pages and assume an average, but I don't know that it would know how many more citations to expect throughout the document). Simply freezing the program while running this (synchronously) could give a similar effect, along with a message "please wait while Zotero updates your document".

    Also interesting to know that Windows is an alternative if I need a faster way to update my document sometimes, but that seems like a lot of work to switch computers, etc., just for that.
  • edited August 12, 2018
    If it's simpler to implement a "loading animation" would be enough instead of a "progress bar". But in case of progress bar, counting the page would be a good enough estimation I think.
  • I agree. I am using Zotero for a document with several hundred citations, so it can take a few minutes to refresh and there is no way of knowing when it's done. There should be
    1. a progress bar
    2. a lockdown on changing the document while refresh is running
    3. a notification when it is finished
    I am running on Mac OS, latest version with local Zotero database.
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