How to export pdf files only

Hi there

I want to export a lot papers from zotero. But the 'export' function in zotero will export both pdf and other info in seperate folders. I just want pdfs in one folder. Is that possible? Thanks for your response in advance.

  • There is no direct export option, but there are two ways to do this:
    1. Entirely independent of Zotero, just search for file type PDF in the zotero data/storage folder:
    2. Search for attachment file type -- is --> PDF in a Zotero advanced search. Create a saved search. You can select the PDFs in that saved search with ctrl+a and simply drag and drop them to your file browser.
  • There is an easy workaround. Export everything, then open an explorer window and navigate to the 'files' folder. Search in this folder for *.pdf - this will bring up all of the exported pdf files and nothing else. You can then select and move all of these files to a convenient location and then delete the 'files' folder.
  • note that this is basically my option 1). You don't even need to export, you can just search and then (if needed) copy the PDFs.
  • you're right, although exporting can be applied to subselections of the whole library, thus by selecting papers either by folder or by keyword a useful pdf collection can be made. I wouldn't know what to do with the pdfs from my entire zotero library...

    (I am biased as I came to this discussion while working out how to export subselections)
  • you may also want to look at ZotFile's "send to tablet" functionality (which doesn't necessarily involve a tablet) for a one-click solution to this.
  • Hi,
    I was facing the same issue and as a workaround, hacked the BIBTEX.js Translator. The file can be downloaded from
    You may download and copy this js file in your Translators folder in the Zotero data directory.
    Then when exporting a collection, you will see another option "BibTeXPDFExport". Choose it and tick the "Export Files" option export. In teh export folder, another "PDFs" folder will be created with all your PDFs.
    Preexisting PDFs with same name will be overwritten
    I am using it myself with reasonable success. But please exercise caution when you are using it.
    For example I do not know what impact it will have on importing BIB files.


    The changes from the regular BibTex.js are


    "translatorID": "9cb70025-a888-4a29-a210-93ec52da40VG",
    "label": "BibTeXPDFExport",
    "creator": "Vivek's mod of Simon Kornblith, Richard Karnesky and Emiliano heyns"",
    "inRepository": false,
    "lastUpdated": "2015-04-25 20:50:00"


    for(var i in item.attachments) {
    if(Zotero.getOption("exportFileData") && attachment.saveFile && attachment.mimeType == 'application/pdf') {
    path = "/pdfs/" + encodeFilePathComponent(title);
    attachment.saveFile(path, true);
    } else if(attachment.localPath) {
    path = "/pdfs/" + encodeFilePathComponent(title);
    if (path) {
    attachmentString += ";" + encodeFilePathComponent(title)
    + ":" + encodeFilePathComponent(path)
    + ":" + encodeFilePathComponent(attachment.mimeType);
  • Thank you adamsmith,
    Zotfile totally worked for me.
  • Just a quick comment to note that the type:.pdf worked perfectly! Thank you-- was NOT looking forward to pulling 100 articles 1 by 1
  • If you're working on a Mac/Linux system, an easy way to do this is to first export the entire collection (I used BibLaTex as format and ticked the "Export Files" option) and then use the Terminal:

    1) Navigate to the parent directory into which you exported the collection:
    cd path_to_parent_directory

    2) Recursively copy all pdfs in the directory at the topmost hierarchical layer:
    find . -name "*.pdf" -type f -exec cp {} . \;

    3) Optionally delete the original nested export folder in Finder or Terminal:
    rm -r name_of_exported_directory
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