"Date Modified" column is not updated when I annotated my PDF

I often highlight the PDF directly saves to the file (Using "PDF reader X" in Mac OSX).
When I did this, the file's "modified date" in my OS (OSX 10.9.4) is updated.
But, in Zotero (Standalone version), neither the Parent Item's "Date Modified" or the PDF's "Date Modified" was updated.

Is this a bug or a feature?


I need this function badly, because I always review the recently annotated PDFs.
Now my reluctant solution is using "conditional search" of Finder in OSX.
  • If the PDF file is actually changed, i.e. if PDF reader X (which I'm not familiar with) saves annotations directly to the file (to test--are they visible in a different PDF viewer like Preview?), then the date modified of the attachment (not the parent item) should indeed update.

    See if this works when annotating and saving with a different PDF viewer. Also, of course, make sure those changes are actually saved to the same file, not a copy somwhere else.
  • edited August 25, 2014
    Yes, the annotations are visible in a different PDF viewer, I tried Preview.
    Also can be seen in another computer or my iPhone.

    And I also annotated using Preview, the modified date appearing in Finder changed normally, but the "Date Modified" in Zotero was still old one.

    Here are screenshot:

    Before annotating, (I don't know why the modified date in Finder is different from in Zotero)

    After annotated, the modified date in Finder is changed, but in Zotero nothing happens. Even after I click the sync button, or restart Zotero.
  • then the date modified of the attachment (not the parent item) should indeed update
    That's not the case. The attachment's modification time isn't automatically changed just because the file is. (It's possible it is if you're using file syncing, but I'm not sure about that.)
  • interesting. As you can see, the modified date does get updated in the right-hand pane. Just not in the middle panel, where you could use it to sort.
    @Dan - that is a bug, right? Am I recalling correctly that we've talked about this before?
  • @adamsmith Yes, the second screenshot didn't capture the attachment's right-hand pane, but it indeed gets updated correctly.

  • It's not really a bug.

    The middle pane shows the date for the attachment item, the same as any other item, and would be updated if you, say, changed the item title, or edited the embedded note. The right-hand pane for attachments shows the file modification time — but all of those fields on the right for attachments are different from the usual item metadata fields.

    We could say that the middle pane should reflect the file modification time too for attachments, but updating it would be tricky. Zotero has to actually access the filesystem to show the file modification time, and we can't do that constantly just to keep the middle pane updated. We need to check the file modification time for all files for syncing, and there's a complex set of rules we use to determine when to actually do those checks.

    For this, the times we could check would be:

    1) Every time the parent item is opened (though that would slow down the expand all (+) shortcut)

    2) During the periodic sync checks

    3) When the item is clicked on (when we check it now for the right-hand pane)

    The biggest hole with the above would be if you had an attachment's parent item open and then switched away and edited the file. We could invalidate the modification time for all attachments with open parent items when Zotero is brought to the foreground and check them again as they come into view in the middle pane, but I'm not crazy about that — it'd be a lot of work, and in a search view (where parents were expanded) it could be pretty expensive (so, among other things, would affect laptop battery life).

    (Also, this wouldn't be useful for sorting anyway, since you can't sort by child item field, right?)
  • I am also having the same problem. I usually open the pdfs, edit and save them back with the original names but the "Date Modified" column still shows the same date as the "Date Added" column. How can I solve this problem? Thank you!
  • You can't. See dstillman's comment above.
  • Thanks Gracile. I have seen the comment above but since it was posted more than 2 years ago I was wondering if there was any update regarding this issue. As it seems there is not. Thanks anyway.
  • Hello, I see in the Zotero window the Date Modified of a PDF is more recent than the Date Modified of the parent item. Maybe because I edited the PDF without opening Zotero. If Zotero has the Date Modified of the PDF then is there a way to have it update the parent items? Perhaps an Add-On can do this?

    Or can we have an option to sort on the latest Date Modified of attachments?

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