When I double click an entry with multiple PDF attachment, how does Zotero decide which one to open?

edited July 21, 2017
Suppose I have an entry with multiple PDF attachments. When double click on it (on the parent entry containing all the attachments), how does Zotero decide which of the attachments to open? Can I influence this decision?
  • edited September 22, 2017
    You can't customize this. The order is :
    oldest PDF attachment matching parent URL,
    oldest non-PDF file attachment matching parent URL,
    oldest PDF attachment not matching URL,
    oldest non-PDF file attachment not matching URL,
    live URL,
    resolved DOI.
    Post from 2012: https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/comment/131213/#Comment_131213

    Edit: but in 2013, @dstillman indicated a slightly different order : PDF matching URL, PDF not matching URL, non-PDF matching URL, non-PDF not matching URL, see https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/comment/156584/#Comment_156584
  • By oldest, you are referring to the date the file was added to zotero, or the date the file was attached to the entry?

    The issue I have in mind, is that I added supplementary materials PDF before main text, and now whenever I double click, it opens suppl. materials instead of main text.
  • I'm not sure but I'd say the date added to zotero. I don't think Zotero saves the date the file was attached to the entry (but the "last modified" date of the file is updated when you move it to another parent item).
  • We should be able to modify this. Maybe add an option to change the "default open file" for each item in the library. At the moment many items in my library are opening the suppl. materials instead of main text.
  • Apparenty this behavior has changed in recent versions. Now when I attach a new PDF file to an entry (like a supplementary information), the newest PDF seems to be the one that is opened when I double click on the entry. This is very inconvenient. What happened here??
  • Actually, it seems that if I attach first a PDF by dragging it in from the explorer, and then attach another PDF that I imported through the Zotero connector, the later is opened by default. Is the precise rule deciding what PDF to open defined somewhere, so that at least we can understand it?
  • Why the oldest first? After people update an entry, we want to open the newest one.
  • Different strokes for different folks on this one. I also prefer the oldest, as that is likely the main article pdf, and the second one is supplemental data pdf. I'd delete any old and non-up-to-date attachments.
  • It should be a setting. For each entry in the library, the user should be able to select which is the file to open upon double-click.
  • I run into issues with this frequently. It would be great if I could pick which attachement has priority (for quicklook, double-click openening, etc.)
  • I also run into this. My standard use-case is when I add an entry from Google Scholar and the entry includes a review pdf. Then I scan the document by hand and want to attach it. I can delete the review pdf but they are sometimes useful as a summary. I want to leave the review attached but I certainly don't want it to come up as the default when I double-click the entry.
  • Agreed. It is very hard to link SI or any additional documents without it opening the incorrect document on double-click or with QuickLook.

    +1 for more customizability here.
  • Indeed, this should be customizable, as everyone has a different priority regarding which attachment is supposed to be open by default
  • This is a very pressing issue in my opinion. I have several entries where drafts or supplementary material is opened by default, instead of the article. There is a need to be able to set the default file to be opened.
  • I would also agree that ist is important to allow for user-desired behaviour instead of the current way of doing so.
  • Always annoy me. many of the first document opened is the SI.
  • Yeah. This annoys me too. I would like to change the order to at least the newest instead of the oldest attachment because when I accidentally duplicate an item, I choose to merge items to remove the duplicated one. However, both 2 attachments go under the merged item. Yes, I understand that this behavior is quite safe but if I have the right to choose the order of display of the attachment when I right-click an item, that will be awesome.
  • +1 for customization on this.
    Pre-prints, sometimes also comments, reply and corrections go into main element: it would be also useful having a "discussion" field keeping track of these elements, like the notes or attachment counter fields (though creating a note for each of these works well too)
  • +1 for customization on this
  • Has there been any update on this? I would like an option to choose the default attachment.
  • +1 for customization on this.
    Thank you!!!
  • +1 for change the order of the attachments.
  • +1 for changing the default behavior to open first the latest/newest (not oldest) items.
  • Why can't we just have a right-click option to mark a file as the default to open, out of the possible files contained in an item?
  • +1 (again) for customization
    +1 for changing default to open latest item
    Our typical example: preprint is first added, then published article is added and items are merged. Both files are stored as attachment, but quite obviously, it is the published version that Zotero should open by default, not the preprint.
  • +1 for changing default to open latest item (including image files not just PDFs)
    +1 for customisation

    If it opens the latest attached item, you can at least manually customise this by removing and reattaching the file you want it to open. But in most cases, I imagine the latest attachment would be correct.

    I'm currently removing and then reattaching multiple files to get the correct file to open. But if the correct file is an image (or any non-PDF) attaching any PDF takes priority.

  • @MartinCurrie As I mentioned above, in my field, almost every paper comes with a main pdf (which Zotero successfully downloads), and a supplemental pdf (which has additional data, figures, methods, appendix, etc.), which can be manually added to Zotero.

    If Zotero picked the latest pdf as default, it would pick manually added/supplemental files, and that's usually not a good idea. The main PDF Zotero downloads when the item is created is almost always the appropriate, official pdf file of an article in any field (unless that pdf is behind a paywall for you).

    On the point above about preprints: Preprints and journal articles are different item types, and they regularly have different bibliographic data (the titles and abstracts often change during review, new authors get added, etc. in my field.) Those items can't even be merged without modifying the item type of one or the other item.
  • @enozkan yes, I would imagine that the status quo works fine for the majority of Zotero developers, otherwise it would have been changed long ago.

    And sorry I should have been more careful with my +1s:

    +1 for **allowing the user to change** the default to open latest item (including image files not just PDFs)
    +1 for customisation
  • @MartinCurrie No need to apologize. Feel free to state your preference and +1 (as I do mine).

    Customization of the default attachment would indeed be nice, but the devs may have worries about implementation we are unaware of.
  • Any update regarding this? I would also be +1 for allowing the user to change the default file. This is annoying when you use other tools to organize your ideas and notes, such as Obsidian. It sometimes only recognizes the annotations in the SI, not the main file.
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