Dear all,
I moved my zotero folder to my Icloud to have better sync but now if I open Zotero app it says "The Zotero database cannot be opened.Make sure you have read and write permissions for all files in the Zotero data directory and that security software isn’t preventing Zotero from accessing that directory.Data Directory: /Users/myname/Zotero"

the problem is that the directory should be changed, do you know what can I do?
  • You absolutely can't put your Zotero data directory in cloud storage.

    You should move it back to the default location.
  • In general this is a really bad idea to put your Zotero directory into icloud
    - you could use icloud for file sync with the pdf files in the external folder (like icloud or Dropbox) with Zotfile plugin (but then you cannot preview them in ipad/ios app)
    - if you really need to use icloud (which is discouraged by developers) you could change the path for zotero folder somewhere in the settings/preferences
  • Hello, I have the same question and find this tutorial :
    I'm just starting to use Zotero and I'd like to know if this solution seems satisfactory to the specialists because I don't understand why the developers advise against linking Zotero/iCloud (where I've already stored many files that I'd like to integrate into my Zotero library... )
    Thank you!
  • @adelida -- symlinking storage as described in that blogpost is fine. As it says there, don't put your entire data folder into icloud (or any other syncing solution)
  • edited April 16, 2024
    That link suggests using a symlink to iCloud for the zotero\storage folder (where PDFs and some other things are stored). The Zotero database remains locally stored (one level up from that). Whether (meta)data syncing (free/unlimited) can be turned on and 100% safe under that scenario I am not sure. The earlier link from @dstillman that stresses you should not store that database in a cloud location does also have a link to the Alternative Syncing Solutions support page, where alternatives for attachment file storage are discussed:

    The last para there says:
    "Alternatively, you can use a symlink to sync only the storage directory from your Zotero data directory using the external sync service. This will sync your attachment files without touching the main Zotero SQLite database. This is an advanced technique, and if you don't fully understand how to create symlinks and how they interact with your cloud storage service, you should not use it. This method may also interfere with Zotero's full-text indexing processes, so you may need to take manual steps to index newly added files on some devices."

    So as a new Zotero user, it is not advisable. If you are IT savvy and have used symlinks before (eg know how they can break), you might consider it later on when you also understand more about how Zotero works 'under the hood'. And have good incremental backups in place. If you have a large collection of PDFs already in iCloud, you could also consider linked PDF attachments (also described there), noting their limitations (don't work for Groups, on the mobile apps, or the web library).

  • A huge thank you for all this information and advice, the forum is as impressive and agile as Zotero ;)
    I will indeed use simple links for my documents already stored in iCloud and wait to better master Zotero before considering other possibilities.
    However, I point out that I have had access to a temporary Zotero group library, which included PDFs placed in a Google Drive: they were easily accessible to all members.
    To be continued and thank you again!

  • But when I upload "storage" file in Zotero folder to OneDrive, I find it function well. Just don't put all your Zotero folder into cloud sync server
  • Sorry, can someone confirm that it's acceptable to use the link attachment base directory with Box or other cloud storage, as long as you don't set the data directory there? I'm advising a grad student on her options for cloud storage of her Zotero attachments, and she's very reluctant set her base directory to Box (ie, Preferences-advanced-files and folders-linked attachment base directory). Thanks--I'm confident this is an ok way to go, but she'd like confirmation from someone on the forum. Which I totally get, as I'm just a librarian and not super wise when it comes to the technical side of Zotero :)
  • Sorry, can someone confirm that it's acceptable to use the link attachment base directory with Box or other cloud storage, as long as you don't set the data directory there?
    Yes, absolutely fine, though note that the base directory setting does not actually move any files. You'll need an additional utility like ZotFile (or attanger or so for Zotero 7) to do that.
    Also, neither of the mobile apps support linked files.
  • edited 10 days ago
    I wrote this as @adamsmith was writing his response, and it expands somewhat on those considerations.

    If a user needs cloud storage of *linked* PDF attachment files, setting a Linked Attachment Base Directory (LABD) only facilitates a rather small element of such a setup - the situation where access to linked PDFs is required on more than one computer using Zotero desktop (linked PDFs don't work for the mobile apps or the web library) AND when those PDFs are at a slightly *different* path location on each computer.

    A LABD setting only modifies where Zotero *looks* for linked files. It has no effect on where they are stored (but is sometimes misunderstood to affect that). When one contemplates a linked attachment file setup, one typically already has a mechanism in placed to ensure that attachments get *stored* to a cloud-mirrored folder. How that storage is achieved (eg via Zotfile in Zotero v6, or via zotmoov or attanger in Zotero v7, currently in beta) is really the more important issue. That issue requires a good understanding of the difference between Zotero data and Zotero files, and their respective locations and syncing.

    The Zotero data directory cannot be stored in a cloud-mirrored folder ...

    To the actual, rather limited role of a LABD setting, if the cloud-mirrored folder for your linked attachment files has the *same* path on each computer, there is no need for a LABD setting. When you try to open a PDF on any computer, Zotero will simply look to the same location on each computer. But set a LABD on each computer if that path is different on each computer.
  • Thanks to you both for that info--super helpful!
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