Zotfile: Custom Location not working

In Zotfile's pluggin, I've set the "Custom Location" to a pdf directory on our server, but when I add files to the Zotero app they are still copied to my local "storage" directory, filling up my computer's harddrive space.

In Zotero's "General Preferences", I have the "Linked Attachment Base Directory" turned on and pointing to the same pdf folder on our server, and my Data Directory is just the normal user location on my machine.

So, from my understanding, all my settings should be correct so that the data directory is stored on each local machine, but when files are added to the app, and more specifically a shared private group within the app, the pdf should be copied to the pdf folder on the server, but that's not happening. Any ideas what's going wrong?

The end goal here being that all users of my organization that have access to our private group will be able to pull up the pdf file off our server.

Thanks for any thoughts!

Windows 10 Pro
Zotero 6.0.8
Zotfile 5.1.1
  • Thanks dstillman, It is still not working for my own individual directory either.
  • ZotFile's auto rename&move doesn't trigger when you add files to Zotero as top level items. You need to manually trigger Rename & move for those using right-click --> Manage Attachments.
  • Thanks @adamsmith . That did work exactly as you said, but the original file is still in the storage folder. I presume the work flow is to:
    1) add file to zotero however I want
    2) right click on new entry-->manage attachments (#moves pdf to designated folder via Zotfile settings)
    3) go to the local storage folder and delete the imported version of the file
    4) Hit sync

    Do you know if there's a way to define the storage directory proactively? Specifically defining the storage folder's location to a server/cloud drive vs on my computer? I just need to have my new files imported into Zotero and have them saved to the server instead of my harddrive. For some reason this seems fundamentally unavailable.

    Or the option to open files via web browser instead of downloading to my computer.

    Thank you again for thought and input.
  • edited June 1, 2022
    I can't help with ZotFile, but you shouldn't need to think in terms of the 'storage' folder here. There's either a stored attachment in Zotero (which implies a file in 'storage') or there isn't. Note that a stored attachment in the trash would still have a file in 'storage'.

    Deleting files manually from 'storage' has no effect on your Zotero database and isn't something you'd want to be doing — that would just be orphaning stored attachment items in Zotero.
  • Thanks @dstillman . You're right, I definitely don't want to be trying to free up hard drive space by messing the the local storage folder but I'm still stumped as to how to prevent a pdf from being "physically" downloaded to my machine if I want to preview it. Is there not a "clear downloads after exiting" option? or "clear after 30 days" sort of thing, or "open pdf online"?

    If I click "View Online" I'm taken to the public doi listing which I may or may not have access to, even though I have my own copy stored online via zotero servers.

    The only work around I've found:
    It seems the only true way to not have to worry about filling up my hard drive with tons of pdfs is to use zotero purely online. When I double-click an entry online it opens the pdf as a temp file in my web browser and presto.

    Is there anything else that duplicates this feature via the desktop app? Otherwise I must be doing it all wrong.

    Thank you again for your expertise!
  • edited June 1, 2022
    You're still thinking of this the wrong way. Everything gets downloaded to your computer. The only distinction here is stored files vs. linked files. If you're seeing something in 'storage', it means you still have a stored-file attachment in Zotero, either because ZotFile isn't working properly or because it just moves the original stored-file attachment (which is all Zotero creates by default) to the trash. You'd have to look to see which is the case. But unless there's some more low-level problem, the file in 'storage' is not the relevant thing here — it's still having a stored-file attachment when you're expecting to have a linked-file attachment. You can paste the 8-character folder name from 'storage' into the Zotero search bar in All Fields & Tags mode in your library root and in your trash to find the attachment in question. (Note, too, that an attachment in your group library would also have a file in 'storage').
    Is there not a "clear downloads after exiting" option? or "clear after 30 days" sort of thing
    An upcoming version of Zotero will offer a way to delete local copies of stored files from your computer after they've been synced in order to save disk space, but that won't apply to linked files.
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