Storage on Mac: Freeing up space without losing the attachments.

Most of my adult life I've worked on Unix- or Linux PCs with lots of diskspace ('lots' for the time). My main focus when buying laptops also was not on speed but on durability and disk space.

Yet, I run into the problem that my main tool Scrivener was dropped on Linux und the Windows version sucked big time. Twice on Wine.

Thus I'm now the owner of a Mac Book pro. And even though it is the second most expensive device I ever owned, the disk space is compareably tiny.

I still have a Linux workhorse desktop PC with all the diskspace, archives of my work, photo database, backup media, yadda yadda. I'm using Zotero since 2009 for storing all the research related stuff for my work as a journalist and writer.
Deleting old research isn't an option. My work involves research into topics with trigger- and sue-happy individuals and organizations. I want to be able to prove my sources even after a decade.

Thus my current Zotero setup is:

- Zotero on Linux = "Store all the attachments!!!"
- Zotero on Mac = "Download files as needed"
- Zotero Sync over an external WebDAV server.

The "Download files as needed" is exactly what I like to keep the Mac storage from clogging up. In theory.

As I said, my main tool is Scrivener thus I work more often on the Mac than on the Linux PC nowadays. Means I add new PDFs, attachments, MP3 files etc. from the Mac and not from the Linux machine.

Means, they don't have to be downloaded only when needed, they are already there and are slowly clogging up diskspace.

Sending the everything first to the Linux PC and then change from the Mac to Linux to add sources to Zotero only from the Linux machine would really mess up my workflow.

What I'd need is a function like dropbox for Mac has. I can flag directories for storage locally. Every file I put into a dropbox directory that isn't flagged for local storage, will be uploaded to the dropbox and then be deleted locally.

My question is:

- is there a way to delete attachments and files I added to Zotero from the Mac without deleting it from the Zotero database altogether?
- maybe based on the 'last accessed' date of the entry
- and for a whole collection or selected entries in one step?
- or automatically in the background?

If such a function isn't available yet, would it be able to consider it for future releases?


  • edited February 22, 2021
    An upcoming version of Zotero will let you choose the number of days to keep downloaded files when using "as needed" file sync mode, and it will automatically delete the local copies of older files that have been uploaded.

    For now, you can always right-click → Show File and delete the local file manually if you're sure it's been uploaded, but I'd recommend just waiting for the new functionality.
  • Oh, that is wonderful. Exactly what I need.

    Thank you!

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