cannot open pdf files "File not found. It may have been moved or deleted"


I updated Zotero yesterday and since the update I have been unable to open pdf files (newly added after the update or ones present before update) saved in Zotero. When I click to open a file MANY tabs open on my computer saying "File not found. It may have been moved or deleted".

I tried to sync my folder but it says it is too big for the online storage yet I still cannot open any of the files.

I also went to Preferences -> advanced -> "files and folders" and showed the data directory (appears to be the same one it always was with a bunch of pdfs and notes it in but I cannot open the pdfs from the directory location either.

When I click to open a file from Zotero online it opens the website/article online (not in a PDF form).

How can I open pdfs that are saved to Zotero from the application?

  • When I click to open a file MANY tabs open on my computer saying "File not found. It may have been moved or deleted".
    Tabs in what program? If you double-click a PDF in Zotero, it should just open the PDF in your default PDF reader. If you're getting multiple tabs somewhere, that's a problem with whatever program is configured on your system as the default PDF reader.

    If you right-click on a PDF that exists locally in Zotero — i.e., one that you added on this computer or one that you've synced, assuming you have adequate storage space to do so — and click Show File, it should show you the file in the filesystem, and you should be able to double-click that as well, though there shouldn't be any need to do that normally, since it should be equivalent to double-clicking from within Zotero.

    If a file doesn't exist locally, you should get a message from Zotero saying so (and in that case you likely just need to sync from the other computer after making sure you have enough storage space online). But that wouldn't result in tabs in another program, because Zotero wouldn't try to open the file at all.
  • "File not found. It may have been moved or deleted"
    Seems like this might be from Chrome? What's the URL in the address bar when you see this?

    Chrome's not a common choice as a default PDF reader, so you might want to set that to something else.
  • I'm having this same issue. I have been opening PDFs in Chrome with no issue for years. When I do what you suggested above (right click, show file), it opens the file in Zotero storage. Storage should not be an issue. Here is the file path:


    I'm not exactly sure what that folder corresponds to within my Zotero folder.
  • edited 8 days ago
    So based on your other thread, it looks like it's trying to open each word in the filename as a separate file. We'll see if we can reproduce this, but in the meantime try setting a PDF reader other than Chrome as either your system default or as the PDF reader in the General pane of the Zotero preferences.
  • edited 8 days ago
    I was able to reproduce something like this once, when first prompted by the system for the app to use, but on subsequent attempts it's working fine, even opening PDFs in Chrome. You can try changing your system default for PDFs to another app (and possibly even back to Chrome, if you want).
  • edited 8 days ago

    I downloaded Adobe Acrobat and made it my default PDF reader. Now the files open fine in Adobe Acrobat Reader when I click on the file directly from my Zotero library, so maybe you are right about it being a Chrome issue.

    Thanks so much for your help and please post back if you figure out a solution with Chrome.

  • edited 8 days ago
    I was having the same problem with it opening each word in the file name.

    I was opening in Chrome before but just switched my pdf reader to the new Edge and that seemed to fix it. Thanks for the help! Seems that the problem is with Chrome.

  • You might be able to switch it back to Chrome if you want. Both Edge and Chrome work for me. (I'd use a dedicated PDF reader, personally.)
Sign In or Register to comment.