[Feature request] Three click Add annotation to Note

Currently, making an annotation and adding it to a new item note (to maintain atomicity of notes), takes six steps it seems:

Click colour
Click arrow to show all notes
Click plus sign
Click Add item Note
Drag annotation to Note

I would like to request, if possible, allowing the setting of a default colour and the addition of a context menu item "Add to new Note."

This would reduce the number of steps to three:

Right-click annotation
Click Add to new Note

Even better would be the ability to "Ctrl-drag" the annotation to the right pane to create a New Note even if an existing note is open.

Thank you for the great work on Zotero.
  • Annotations are already objects on their own, and will likely be accessible from the library view in a future version — there's no real reason to be creating separate notes from them, and it's not something we recommend or want to encourage. You don't say why you want separate notes, but your use case may be addressed by additional annotation features in upcoming versions.

    The new note editor is designed to let you start drafts that combine multiple annotations with embedded citations, and that's the workflow it optimizes for. As long as you have a note open, it's just two clicks to add a quote to a note: select some text, click Add to Note. If you want to highlight with a color as well, enable the the highlight tool in the toolbar and choose a color (which I think is basically what you're looking for re: "default color"), and then it's three clicks for any further text: select the text to highlight it, right-click on the highlight annotation, click Add to Note.

    "Add to New Note" when no note is open isn't an unreasonable request, but there'd likely need to be both "Add to New Item Note" and "Add to New Standalone Note" options for consistency. And I don't think we'd want to show those when a note was already open — since that would mean three separate options for adding to notes, which would be ridiculous — so it wouldn't actually do what you're asking for.
  • Hi Dan. Thanks for your quick reply.
    From what I understand, you now see the note editor as (also) a drafting tool designed to gather annotations from any number of items.
    Please excuse my confusion. The common method of "note-taking" most often involves individual annotations with comments on them. The result is usually referred to as a "Note." A rule regarding such notes that is often quoted is "one idea per note." This rule is often referred to as "atomicity." When one writes a draft from these notes they may be strung together in any order, interspersed with other writing and notes from a variety of sources.

    The majority of note-taking apps available today facilitate this process by allowing you to store your notes from all sources and then search these notes by keyword etc. and collect them toward making a draft. (Most also allow bulk exporting of all notes as individual text files - to prevent "lock-in.")

    Zotero (at present) appears to have substituted "Annotations" for "Notes" but the search function for annotations only searches within one item's annotations whereas the excellent search function in the main pane allows searching text and tags of Notes (but not annotations) throughout a whole collection. That is the desirable function that allows notes relating to one idea from different items (and standalone notes) to be collected toward writing a draft. You did say that annotations will likely be accessible from the library view in a future version. That would be highly desirable.

    The workflow you seem to have in mind would, at present, require me to have all the items I want to refer to open in order to write a draft section of my paper, so that I can add annotations from each of these to the note-editor. If that is correct, it does not provide the functionality of most note-taking apps. The power of such apps it that you don't need to know the source of the idea you are looking for, you simply search for a tag, then use that "atomistic" note in your writing.

    One of the many advantages of Zotero is that the citation is automatically added to the note when you "Add Note" to your writing in, for example, LibreOffice writer.

    I have been using Zotero's note editor in the way I describe to make "atomistic" notes. However, the capability to add comments and tags to annotations is a great addition. The ability to use the note editor as a drafting tool is also an excellent addition to Zotero's power (even if the note editor is rather confusedly doubling as a draft editor.)

    For these new features to be most useful, the ability to access the annotations and their tags and comments in search "All Fields and Tags" of the library view is essential. I look forward to seeing this feature in an upcoming release.

    Many thanks again for all the good work.
  • edited July 26, 2021
    I see that I can search for a tag or text in notes and save the search and then build the draft - in any new note opened in its own window - from the notes and/or annotations in the items in the saved search.

    The note in which the draft is built can be a standalone note from any collection as long as it is opened in its own window.

    This is a really huge advance - it is what I liked most in some other apps I have used in the past - Bibliographix and Nota Bene.

    The ability to search in annotations would cut out the currently required step of making them into notes for the workflow I just described.
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