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Reporting Problems

Is something in Zotero not working correctly for you? Here's how you can provide feedback that will allow others to help you most effectively.

If you haven't yet, be sure to follow steps 1 through 4 on the Getting Help page for searching through documentation and the forums.

1. Provide a Report ID

Zotero for Firefox or Zotero Standalone

If you're experiencing a problem, before restarting Firefox/Zotero Standalone, check the Actions menu (gear icon) in the Zotero toolbar for the status of the “Report Errors…” menu option.

If a potential Zotero error has occurred, “Report Errors…” will appear in black; otherwise, it will appear in gray and will not be selectable. If it is active, you can first use the error reporting wizard to submit an error report and then post the Report ID you received (not the contents of the report) to the forums. We don't read error reports sent via Report Errors unless there's a forum post pointing to them, since they're generally not helpful without context and/or follow-up.

Not all problems will show up in the wizard, and not all errors that show up in the wizard will necessarily be related to Zotero, but this is the first thing to try when encountering a problem.

If you are unable to provide a Report ID, be sure to include your Zotero version, Firefox version (if applicable), and operating system in your forum post.

Zotero Connectors (Chrome and Safari)

If you're experiencing a problem, before restarting the browser, open Zotero preferences:

  • Chrome: type chrome://extensions into the address bar, press return, and click the “Options” link underneath “Zotero Connector.”
  • Safari: right-click anywhere on a webpage and select “Zotero Preferences…”

If there are no reportable errors, the Report Errors section will contain the message “Zotero Connector has not experienced any errors since it was first started.”

If a potential Zotero error has occurred, a text box containing all error will be displayed along with a “Report Errors” button in the Report Errors section. Clicking the button will submit the error report to Zotero servers and will display a popup with a Report ID. Please post the Report ID to the forums. You may not be able to select text inside the popup dialog, but you may still be able to copy the complete contents of the popup using Ctrl-C (or Cmd-C on Mac).

Not all issues result in a reportable error, and not all errors that are displayed will necessarily be related to Zotero, but this is the first thing to try when encountering a problem.

If you are unable to provide a Report ID, be sure to include your Zotero Standalone version, Zotero Connector version, Chrome or Safari version, and operating system in your forum post.

2. Provide Steps to Reproduce

The most important thing you can do to help us fix a problem is to explain how to consistently reproduce it: if you can, we can almost certainly fix it quickly or tell you how to fix it. Note that after a problem occurs, other things in Zotero may temporarily break, so it's important to restart Firefox or Zotero Standalone and try to repeat what you did before it occurred.

Post a message to the forums with the follow info:

  1. The exact steps you took to reproduce the problem (or, if you're unable to, a what you were doing when the problem first occurred), including, in order, any buttons or other interface elements that you clicked on
  2. What happened, including include exact error messages or other relevant text that you see on the screen
  3. What you expected to happen (unless you're reporting a clear error message)

Bad:

Zotero keeps crashing while I'm using it! HELP!

Good:

Report ID: 1892199645

When I drag an item from the Unfiled Items into another collection while a tag is selected in the bottom left, Zotero tells me it has to be restarted.

Steps to reproduce:

1. Start Zotero.
2. Click on “Unfiled Items” in the left pane.
3. Click on a tag in the tag selector.
4. Drag an item to another collection.

Zotero displays the message 'An error has occurred. Please restart Firefox.' in the middle pane.

Bad:

I can't figure out how to add a web page to Zotero.

Good:

Report ID: 19672347

I can't figure out how to add a web page to Zotero.

Steps to reproduce:

1. Click the leftmost toolbar button above the middle pane in Zotero, with a white plus inside a green circle.
2. Open the “More” menu.

I expected to see “Web Page” in this menu. I see “Artwork”, “Audio Recording”, “Bill”, etc., but nothing about adding a web page. How can I add a web page?

Reporting Startup Errors

For serious problems that prevent you from using the reporting wizard — such as the Zotero pane not opening at all — we may need more information:

Zotero for Firefox

1. First, be sure you've tried restarting your computer. Many startup errors will go away after a computer restart. Also ensure that you have the latest version of Zotero.

2. Close Firefox and delete extensions.ini, extensions.cache, extensions.rdf, extensions.sqlite, and extensions.sqlite-journal from the Firefox profile directory (some of these files may not exist). These cache files will be recreated automatically the next time you start Firefox. Note that any disabled extensions will be re-enabled.

3. Start Firefox.

4. Go to the Tools menu or the main Firefox menu (depending on your OS) and select Web DeveloperBrowser Console. In the new window that pops up, make sure the JS button is selected and, when you click the arrow next to it, that Errors is checked in the menu that appears.

5. Look in the console for lines that contain a URL beginning with “chrome://zotero/…” or a message without a URL. (You can ignore any lines with URLs beginning with 'http://', even from zotero.org.) Highlight the relevant lines, being sure to include any filenames and line numbers, right-click and select Copy (or press Cmd-C (Mac) or Ctrl-C (Win/Linux)), and paste the errors into your forum post.

Zotero Standalone

1. First, be sure you've tried restarting your computer. Many startup errors will go away after a computer restart.

2. Start Zotero via the command line. The steps for that depend on your platform:

Mac OS X
  1. Open Terminal in /Applications/Utilities (or open it using Spotlight).
  2. Go to the Terminal menu and open Preferences. In Settings→Window, make sure Scrollback is set to “Limit to available memory”.
  3. Paste the following into the terminal and hit return.
    /Applications/Zotero.app/Contents/MacOS/zotero-bin /Applications/Zotero.app/Contents/Resources/application.ini -jsconsole
Windows
  1. Start, Run
  2. Click Browse and locate the Zotero Standalone directory. This is typically "C:\Program Files\Zotero Standalone\" or "C:\Program Files (x86)\Zotero Standalone\".
  3. Select the "zotero.exe" file and click Open.
  4. The complete path to the "zotero.exe" file will be displayed in the text box. Add " -jsconsole" to the end of the path (note the space before -jsconsole)
  5. Click OK.
Linux
  • From a terminal window, run 'zotero -jsconsole' within the Zotero program directory.


3. Zotero should start with a separate Error Console window. For each line in the console, click on the pink background, press Cmd-C (Mac) or Ctrl-C (Win/Linux) to copy the message to the clipboard, and paste the message into your forum post.

reporting_problems.txt · Last modified: 2015/02/16 01:34 by aurimas