file attachment question


I just started to use Zotero, loving it but also having a very basic issue with file attachment sync. I am using Zotero only for metadata; I have disabled the file sync in my Preferences. However as I am importing files from my (local) OneDrive subfolders -- which I am only doing in small batches at this point -- the file attachments keep getting uploaded. I understood that was only to happen if I have file sync enabled? I do not wish to have pdf copies of my research items in my Zotero library.

Thanks for your feedback!
  • What do you mean by "uploaded"? Files are indeed only uploaded to the Zotero servers if file syncing is enabled. But Zotero will still store files within the Zotero data directory by default. If you don't want that, you'd have to add them as linked files.

    (Also, I'm not sure what you mean by "I do not wish to have pdf copies of my research items in my Zotero library". If you're using Zotero, you want the attachments to be in your library so you can open them. Whether they're stored in the data directory is a separate question.)
  • Thank you for your response. I may be misunderstanding how it is, that I can use Zotero. From reading some other forum commentary, I was under the impression that it was possible just to use Zotero to store metadata on my references, or in other words citations only. I thought that I did not have to also have the actual pdfs stored in my Zotero library (which is unnecessary since i have already have the pdfs stored in my OneDrive). Is this not the case? Please correct my understanding ~ thank you!
  • You can use Zotero without copying files into it, yes (uploading is a completely separate topic: you can use Zotero without uploading anything ever; it's principally a local application).

    To extract metadata from existing PDFs, they do need to be somehow linked to Zotero, but you don't need to store copies of those files with Zotero to do this. You can just link to them in their current location (e.g. on your OneDrive folder). See for that distinction and for how to add files as linked files instead of storing a copy in Zotero.

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