Storing PDFs in a separate location from Zotero database folder

Building on, is there a way to keep the database stored in the default location in your user profile (and thus synced with Zotero's database), but store the PDFs elsewhere? The preferences in Zotero just have a single option for "Data Directory Location" that has everything in it, both database and storage. I'm just looking for a way to keep the storage folder elsewhere.

The linked attachment approach has always been confusing to me and more complicated for importing files using the Zotero Connector.
  • edited March 27, 2022
    I am following up to this message to say that how I am addressing this now is by unchecking the file sync options in Zotero's preferences, then exiting Zotero, then moving the Zotero\storage folder to OneDrive, and then in Windows creating a junction in DOS pointing to the OneDrive location:

    mklink /j "C:\Users\myname\Zotero\storage" "C:\Users\myname\OneDrive\Zotero\storage"

    This fools Zotero into thinking that the document storage folder is actually located inside its own directory, when it's actually being stored in OneDrive. When I double-click a PDF, Windows downloads it and opens it (and that is nice, too, because OneDrive can be set to store in the cloud and to automatically download files when necessary). When I open Zotero on a different machine, Zotero starts and scans this folder and notices which files are there and which aren't. Important note - I only move the "storage" folder to OneDrive, not the entire Zotero folder, because the Zotero database (which sits inside the Users\yourname\Zotero folder) is supposed to be stored locally, not on OneDrive, due to the potential for corrupted databases.

    This would work with Google Drive, Dropbox, iDrive, or whatever else, I imagine. You can't access your files on the iOS Zotero app this way, but it's a low-cost and effective way to access your Zotero document archive on different desktop computers.

    All of this seems to be working well, but it's too complicated to explain to other users how to do that. It seems like it would be nice if there were a preference in Zotero to look for the document archive in a different location. Then we wouldn't need to create junctions in Windows or symlinks in macOS, and it would make it easier to helps others set this up, too.

    I hope all this helps someone!
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