Export library as files and folders maintaining hierarchy


Is there any way of exporting the library in the format of files in folders reflecting the collections, and, if possible, with the files having as name any of the metadata information (title/author/year..)?

Before starting using Zotero, I used to manage my articles "manually"; i.e. I created folders and subfolders according to the subject (what in Zotero would be collections and subcollecions), and I saved the pdf's on that folders with a "readable" name (e.g. "title_of_article-journal-year.pdf"), so I could navigate easily through my folders and find the papers I was interested in.

This system worked well for me, but I started using Zotero for the faster way of adding a new element with the automatic recognition of the metadata, the possibility of searches in the library, and the plug-ins for LibreOffice and Word.

When I started using Zotero I imported my previous files maintaining the same folders hierarchy for the collections, and I stopped using the "manual" way of storing the pdfs. I was expecting that zotero would be using a way for storing the library based in folders reflecting the collections, but I have realised that files are stored locally in a way where each article is saved in a single folder named with a label that does not give you any information about the content.

I am now worried that if someday I need (or want) to stop using Zotero, although I could recover my files, it would be a mess as they won't have any organisation. So I would like to have a way of converting my zotero library back to my old-days "manually" style of files in folders.


  • Zotero RDF export stores hierarchy information on export, though not in the way it actually organizes the files.

    If you need to recreate your collection hierarchy in a file system, use ZotFile.
  • Thank you very much. ZotFile looks like what I was looking for.
  • @ysayed Can you clarify how you did it using Zotfile? I have installed ZotFile and it seems I have to use the "Send to Tablet" feature. However, it won't properly create the hierarchical structure. I have manually go through each collection/sub-collection and then right click on the items and do "Manage Attachments >> Send to Subfolder on Tablet". Even this method don't properly recreate the hierarchical files/folder structures.
  • @01baftb You need to specify the subfolders in the Tablet Settings of the ZotFile preferences
  • @adamsmith Assume my library structure as show below.

    My Library
    ---- Folder A
    ------ Item n1
    ------ Subfolder A1
    ---------- Item n4
    ---------- Item n5
    ---- Folder B
    ------ Item n6
    ------ Item n8

    Under Tablet Settings I enabled the radio button that says "Create subfolders from zotero collections". However, I have to select all the items in each of subfolder then do Right click >> Manage Attachments >> Send to subfolder on Tablet (Folder A\Subfolder A1). In addition, if I click on "My Library" and select all of my items, then it puts all the PDF files in one folder and does NOT maintain the foldered hierarchy.

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