File Not Found between two Macs using different usernames


The answer to this question is probably somewhere in forums but after a few hours of searching I'm going to bite the bullet and just ask.

I have two Macs (one personal and one work). They have different usernames but I'm logged into both using my Apple ID. All my documents (PDFs, Jpegs) for my research live in a folder on my iCloud. I linked them to Zotero using the standard (/Users/username/Zotero) path when setting up my library on my personal computer.

Long story short - my personal Mac is in for service and I decided to download Zotero to my work Mac to get a few things done over the holiday weekend.

Also my linked files were accessible via the web version of Zotero a few weeks ago and now they are not.

What have I done wrong? Is it because my personal Mac is in for service? Do I need to use Zotfile?

Thank you for your patience and understanding with a Zotero newbie!


Here is a screenshot of the FILE NOT FOUND error I'm getting. The blacked-out part is my username from my personal Mac and I'm on my work Mac.
  • edited 27 days ago
    Your linked files where never available in the web library. Only files synced through Zotero File Storage ever have been. I can't tell you what you saw/remember seeing (could have been a file that you did sync through Zotero, say).

    You can see what happens if you set the Linked File base directory in the Zotero preferences to User/xxxx/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~CloudDocs generally that should work, but ideally you want to set this to the same base folder on all computers (though I think it will try to find the files either way)

    Edit -- but wait, I'm also not clear what you mean by this:
    I linked them to Zotero using the standard (/Users/username/Zotero) path when setting up my library on my personal computer.
    a) you absolutely should not put that path into iCloud and
    b) that's not the path that the file you're trying to open shows.

    It's possible I'm just misunderstanding what you did, but you want to make sure you really understand what you're doing if you're going to operate outside Zotero's own sync infrastructure.
  • Your A and B are correct. A is a given. But B is where my confusion is. Yes it is not the path that my files are trying to open from. I mistyped there.

    I've attached a screenshot of my Zotero Settings/Advanced. As you see I don't have a Base Directory. That field was blank when I opened it to take the screenshot.

    But when I Choose my Base Directory, it automatically gives the user name for Mac 2 and not Mac 1. And then wants to redirect each file. Which will break the links when I'm back on Mac 1.

    I'm a user on each of these Macs. But I don't have the same user name on both computers. Which might be the problem.
  • You can set the base directory on each computer and it will by definition be different, i.e. correspond to the path for Mac2 on Mac2 and to the path for Mac1 on Mac1. Otherwise you wouldn't need a base directory.

    So what you're describing sounds exactly right.
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