Changing the base directory for all Links to Files

I'm storing my library attachments as links to files that used to be located in various directories. Recently, I moved all my files to a common base directory. Is there a way to tell Zotero to update all the links to files to this base directory without having to relocate them one by one? I can't find anything in Zotero or Zutilo that allows me to do this.
  • edited May 10, 2019
    I'm afraid if you moved the files manually, such as with Windows File Explorer, then there's no way for Zotero to find the files and update the links. If you can go back to the previous folder organization, then you can use Zotfile to move your files and that will also update the link to those files in Zotero. There is some confusion if Zotfile will let you move files without a name change to the files. But it will certainly move them with a name change.

    After that, you can make an additional change of switching from absolute path to base path schema in Zotero > Edit > Preferences > Advanced > Files and Folders
  • @jmlyawb: You may be able to use Zutilo to batch-change the paths to point to their current directory.
  • edited May 11, 2019
    @dstillman, but only if the structure inside the new base directory is identical or at least comparable as pre-move, right? I thought the OP is saying the files were moved and directory structure was changed/simplified.
  • Sure, but I'm assuming at least some batches of files were in the same location beforehand.
  • Ok, thanks. Was just making sure I did not underestimate or misunderstand the feature in Zutilo.
  • @gurdas yes I did move the files manually, I really thought it would be no problem to let Zotero know where to find them, especially if they're all in the same place. Very strange that this appears complicated to do. Thanks to you and @dstillman for your comments, I think I'll just relocate as I go along.
  • You should consider what Dan is suggesting - use Zutilo to update the paths. How much can be fixed depends on how the new location structure (folders and sub-folders) compare to the old location. Are all the files in one single folder, with no sub-folders? Or are they in one base folder, but there are sub-folders with the same names as previous location sub-folders?
  • It's a good suggestion and I've tried it but it didn't work because I completely destroyed the original directory structure and put everything in one place. That was my original motivation, since Zotero provides the structure of the library, I though it redundant (and potentially very confusing) to also have a directory structure for the files.
  • I don't use Zutilo for the feature Dan mentioned, but I wonder if the file names are same, can all the original paths be replaced to that one folder.

    I think moving all files to one folder is a good move. So much easier to manage! I stopped putting files in sub-folders because it was more pain than benefit. I still have some PDFs is various folders from my early days.
  • Unfortunately not in my experience but I can't believe it would be hard to implement that feature. And yes, although I have a relatively small library, a dual directory structure was quickly becoming a mess to manage!
  • It's a good suggestion and I've tried it but it didn't work because I completely destroyed the original directory structure and put everything in one place.
    Just to make sure you understand what I'm suggesting, though, the question is just how many different folders there were before. If you had files in, say, 10 different folders, and moved those all to one place, you would just need to replace that path in Zutilo 10 times across all attachments and you'd be done.
    Very strange that this appears complicated to do.
    Mostly it's just not something that comes up. But also, in Zotero you can both add the same file more than once and have different files with the same filename, so it wouldn't always be possible to do this reliably.
  • Aha, looks like selecting all files in the library and modifying the path applies the modification across all of them, that's great! Previously I was just checking the box "Replace all instances of partial path string" and I thought it didn't work. I can totally live with that, thank for clarifying! Do you know what checking "Replace all instances of partial path string" does?
  • I think that replaces the search text any number of times within a path instead of just looking from the beginning.
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