Adding existing PDFs without creating new copies

This is likely a noob question but I can't seem to find a way to add my existing PDF collection to Zotero without it insisting on creating new copies of them within the storage folder. Similarly, when I import my Mendeley library, Zotero rather than accepting the current file locations starts creating new copies of them all. I am assuming there is some check-box in the settings I am not seeing?

Regards, Abe.
  • When dragging files into Zotero you can
    - Cmd-drag on OS X, Shift on Windows and Linux to move the files into Zotero and remove them from their original location
    - Ctrl-Shift-drag on Windows/Linux, Cmd-Option-drag on OS X to leave files in their original location and link to them from Zotero.

    The former doesn't have a GUI equivalent, the latter is the same as link to file from under the green plus menu.

    It is, however, not possible to do the same when importing from Mendeley (or any other software). Zotero assumes storing a copy of your files as the default behavior, and while it's generally planned to add an option to allow importing with links, I don't think it's super close to happening.
  • Thanks for the reply. Shame about no option for importing with links but been meaning to ditch Mendeley for a while now so will import the main folders without the PDFs from Mendeley and match them up manually in Zotero - and then set aside some time each week to work through checking metadata and adding tags to the rest.

    Thanks again! Abe.
  • HI Adamsmith,

    I can't seem to move pdf into zotero and leave files in their original location and link to them from Zotero.

    I'm on a mac and tried the "Cmd-Option-drag on OS X" you recommended, but it still created a new file.

    note: I've zot file installed if that affects?

    I have lots of pdfs that I want to link w zotero, but I don't want to create duplicates in Zotero. I would like to make annotations to the same pdf file and have it accessible BOTH in Zotero and natively.

    Thanks in advance for your help. Really looking Zotero (since ditching Endnote).

  • Where does the duplicate end up? In the Zotero storage folder? What happens when you use add link to file instead?
  • Yep. When "Cmd-Option-drag on OS X" it ends up a duplicate in zotero storage folder.

    and Yay! When I add link to file as you suggested instead, it doesn't create a duplicate! BIG THANKS!

    Are there any constrains for not creating a duplicate in the designated storage file?
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