Adding PDFs: neither “Store Copy of File…” nor "Link to File"

By default, when dropping new PDFs to the main window, Zotero
a) “Stores Copy of File…” into its data directory.
b) Alternatively, adds a "Link to File" without making a copy.

I need to list certain large groups of PDFs without them being copied by Zotero to its directory or being linked to the original PDF file (they are not going to be stored in the same folder all the time).

Where in the settings is the option to bypass this "by default" behaviour? Or what would be a specific workaround?
  • So you want the metadata in Zotero from the PDFs but don't want them stored or linked? There's no option to do that (nor will there likely be -- it's an unusual request and doesn't work with standard workflows in Zotero), so the best option is to use either of those options (probably links are faster and don't take up disk space) and then delete the links after retrieving metadata.
  • edited October 1, 2020
    Thank you very much for the explanation!
    I didn't expect my request could be unusual, but it is exactly as you mention.

    Is it possible to "delete the links after retrieving metadata" for multiple items at once?
    I don't find such a command in the contextual menu or under Tools menu.
  • You'd do an advanced search for "Attachment File Type -- is -- PDF" create a saved search, go to the saved search, select all (ctrl+a or cmd+a) and delete (I'm pretty sure this works for linked files -- if not, the general idea will work with a different file type). If you only want to do this for a subset of your library, also search for the collection they're in.
  • edited October 1, 2020
    I am afraid that the above procedure does not exactly solve the problem:
    The advanced search does not discriminate between the "metadata item" and the "link item". Therefore, when deleting, both the link and the metadata are removed as a whole, which brings us back to the departing point.
    I would be interested in deleting "only" the links, all at once, while keeping the metadata.

    Thank you very much for your help
  • Pretty sure that's not the case -- the metadata item should be greyed out in the search results and when you use select all in the saved search won't be selected, so delete doesn't delete it. (I've just double checked this is indeed the case)
  • Ok, now it has worked but only by introducing a slight variation:
    1) The saved advanced search selects only the elements of the sub-collection that did not find metadata (the orphaned links). I have to check the box "Include parent and child elements" to include also the metadata items. However, "select all" selects both metadata and link items without discrimination, and the same goes for deletion.
    2) I have to save a second advanced search, without any check box, that retrieves the results of the first advanced search. This time, the metadata elements are effectively greyed out and "select all" selects only the links. Then yes, "delete" deletes only the links.
  • If that works for you, we can leave it here, but this two-step isn't necessary, so let us know if this is something you'll have to do a lot and we can troubleshoot what's going wrong.
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