File or attachment storage

I switched computers and am trying to restore the same means of operations from my previous Zotero into my new computer's Zotero. Specifically, file storage.

Previously, attached files automatically were stored in some subdirectory (not sure if that's the correct word) with each file in a folder titled (for example) P3472684. I don't remember ever choosing a specific setting for it to do this?

In my new Zotero, attached files were stored in the Downloads folder? Then I did a little research and found it had something to do with the Base Directory. It seems I can choose a specific place on my computer for the files to be stored. But I've noticed they aren't always stored there??

So my questions are:
1) How can I restore the settings so that files are stored in a Zotero subdirectory (with a name, such as P3472684) and are synced to my Zotero cloud account?

2) If I can't do that, how do I ensure the Base Directory I choose on my computer is where the attachment will actually be stored? And will they files stored in this location be synced to my Zotero cloud account?

Thank you in advance for the help!
  • The Linked Attachment Base Directory doesn't affect where things are stored. It affects whether linked files are stored with absolute paths or paths relative to that directory. Generally people using linked files also use the third-party ZotFile extension to actually move files to the same directory as linked files. I'm guessing that's what you did. The point of using relative paths is to let you access the same files on multiple computers without using Zotero syncing, but with an externally synced folder that may be at different paths on the different computers.

    Stored files — those stored within the Zotero data directory, within those 8-character folders within 'storage' — aren't affected by this at all. Those are managed by and synced by Zotero.

    Before we do anything else, let's confirm why you think your files are stored in Downloads. How are you determining that? You can see whether a file is a stored file or a link by 1) looking for a chain in the attachment's icon and 2) right-clicking on the file and choosing Show File and seeing whether it's located within your Zotero data directory.

    If you have linked files, do you have ZotFile installed? Did you mean to convert your attachments to linked files?
  • Thank you for your response!
    -Yes, I confirmed the files were being stored in my Downloads by right-clicking and choosing Show File.
    -I do have ZotFile installed. Typically, the process I follow when Zotfile doesn't automatically attach a file to the Zotero citation is to download the desired file and manually attach it using the drop-down paper clip in Zotero.
    -I don't have a need to access files across several computers without syncing so I should Revert to Absolute Paths, correct?

    Again, thank you...I appreciate your help and look forward to continuing this conversation to ensure files are stored correctly in my Zotero data directory.
  • Absolute paths vs. relative paths doesn't affect Zotero syncing. Those are just two options for linked files.

    If you want to use Zotero syncing, you need to use stored files rather than linked files. Even if you use ZotFile for renaming, you should be able to set it up to store files rather than creating linked files, though I don't know the specifics.

    You can convert existing linked files into stored files by using Tools → Manage Attachments → "Convert Linked Files to Stored Files…".
  • Hmmm, ok.
    I definitely have figured it out now to store in a specific file.
    But I don't know how I had it where each file was automatically stored in its own file (with file names something like 'P4387268')?? Maybe I don't need it but it sure was slick.
  • That's Zotero's default behavior, so you can just uninstall ZotFile unless you want to customize the renaming behavior.
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