Link pdf or store in zotero library?

Hi All I'm a new user. Fantastic product and I'm in the process of converting from endnote to zotero permanently.

I have a question which is more like user recommendations... my (large) pdf library is stored on my google drive and it is arranged by subject topic. Thereafter files are stored as author_keyword_pub_year. Bit of a clunky way to keep files so I want to move towards using zotero permanently as my goto place for accessing my fulltext pdf articles.

I can see there are two methods of "storing" pdf files 1. link to the file stored on your computer (in this case google drive) or 2. add them directly to the zotero library.

So what are the pros and cons of each? I prefer not to have a mix of both, and in the long run I feel that the correct decision is to choose the method that leads to the best time efficiency in terms of adding and retreiving the fulltext pdf file. I use a work laptop, home laptop and ipad.

Any advice or feedback would be much appreciated.
Thanks :-)
  • "Stored files" (those copied to your Zotero data directory) can be synced via or WebDAV, which makes them accessible from and via mobile apps like ZotPad and PaperShipApp. Stored files are also the only files that can be synced in a group library (this may change in the future though). You get 300MB of storage from specifically for file syncing (it's not used for anything else) and you have an option of buying more. With WebDAV, you have a number of options, but you will not be able to share synced files in a group.

    One other difference is that, because Zotero doesn't managed linked files, deleting such a file in Zotero will not remove it from your computer, which could cause a bunch of unwanted PDFs to accumulate on your computer.

    Other than that, the two are pretty much the same.
  • I guess I should say that trying to find a stored PDF from outside of Zotero would be difficult, because the files are stored in folders with arbitrary names. That's the main reason why some people choose to use linked files. Personally, I don't know why there is a need to access PDFs through a file manager, rather than Zotero.
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