MS Word integration using "track changes"

I believe it is already known that Zotero and MS Word's "track changes" feature do not get along well. Specifically, I've found that when inserting a new reference using Zotero when "track changes" is enabled, Zotero will delete all existing citations and clear the bibliography, and recreate them. This of course causes the "track changes" feature to mark all citations and the bibliography, even those that have not been changed. I assume may have something to do with looking for citations that need to be disambiguated. But it seems to me that it should be unnecessary to change citations and parts of the bibliography that are unaffected by a newly inserted citation.

I find "track changes" to be an invaluable feature when writing a paper with other authors. Having Zotero and this feature get along better would be a huge improvement in usability, at least for me.
  • Annoying isn't it. Unfortunately there is a reason why all references get reformatted - most styles require sorting in the citations (when citing simultaneously multiple sources), in the bibliography or in both places. In addition disambiguation also requires reformatting of references already in place.

    What kind of behavior would you like to see from Zotero with 'track changes' turned on?

    One option would be if zotero turns off 'tracking changes' while reformatting the old references and turns it one only when dealing with the fields that contain the newly inserted/modified reference.

    I am not sure how applicable is this to the bibliography list (I thing it is edited as one block), or even if it is possible to turn on and off 'tracking changes' from zotero.
  • I may still be missing something. Why is it not possible to simply insert the new reference in the correct place in the bibliography, thus not changing the preceding and following portions of the bibliography and, more importantly to me, not changing all other short citations throughout the document? I guess I primarily don't see why adding (Smith et al 2003) on page 10 requires reformatting of the (Doe et al 2001) reference three pages up.

    If it is possible to disable & enable "track changes" from Zotero (which can be accomplished by the shortcut key combination ctrl+shift+E in Office 2007, which makes me believe there should be some way for a plugin to do it?) that would be a decent solution, and is pretty much what I do now--disable, modify / add references, enable. But having Zotero do that automatically would make the process much less of a headache!
  • Even if track changes is on, it should actually not show the remade citations and deletions and additions. At least if I delete a section in word and replace it with the same text track changes ignores it.
  • @ ozydingo
    Zotero needs to handle much more than inserting unambiguous references in linear order using unsorted author date stile.

    Imagine you also have a second paper by Smith et al published in 2003. Then the first citation should be converted (depending on the style) to (Smith et al 2003a) and the second to (Smith at al 2003b).

    What about numbered styles, which are used in almost all science literature outside humanities? Inserting a citation would require renumbering of all citations that follow it. It gets even more complicated with numbered styles that require author-date sorting of the reference list. In this case you not only have to renumber the citations but also re-sort the reference list.

    I did a quick search but couldn't find a way to control track changes through the word or openoffice APIs. It is possible that I missed it.
  • Ah, I didn't even think of numbered styles and such. A lot of the papers I read actually don't have numbered citations (J. Acoustic Society of America, J. Assoc. Research Otolaryngology). I guess there's no elegant way of dealing with this issue that's independent of style. Thanks for the reply!

    Re: disabling track changes, does this apply? I admit I don't actually know much about how Zotero communicates with Word so I'm sort of shooting in the dark here--figured it couldn't hurt though.
  • Would a workaround for this not be to ensure track changes is switched off during an operation. Could this be an option on the 'set document preferences' screen?
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