is it possible to download PDFs directly from google drive into zotero?

apologies if this has already been asked, I couldn't find a thread.

I want to use zotero to store scans of archival materials, so i can use the note function for each PDF archival document. this also means i can have all my archival materials and secondary sources in one place.

i am using scanner pro to upload scanned PDFs into google drive. i am wondering if there's a way to download these PDFs directly from google drive into zotero - so without having to first download them onto my computer or hard drive, and then uploading into zotero.

i'm also wondering if there's a way (in addition to backing up zotero on the cloud) to only have the zotero library stored on a external drive and not on my computer. my plan (if i must download them and then upload to zotero) would be to use an external drive to transfer the files from google drive to zotero, and have my entire zotero library backed up to the cloud and an external drive - but not my computer because this is a huge amount of PDF documents.

  • I don't think there is any possibility to load PDFs directly from google drive into Zotero. But you can donload them all at once and load them into Zotero all at once (e.g. per drag & drop). So that shouldn't be too much extra work.

    It should be possible to switch in preferences > advanced > files and folders to a external drive. It's than important to have the PDF as links not copies in your library otherwise the PDFs will still be stored in your zotero folder on your drive. But the links only point to the PDFs on oyur external drive.

    You could use the Zotfile plugin ( to mass convert the the PDF copies into links and push all the files to the external drive.
  • @MrMo I have a similar situation. I have about 5GB of PDFs that currently are shared between two computers and synced hard-drive/dropbox. They need organization and indexing. It sounds from your comment like the thing to do is just drag all of them into Zotero. Is that right?

    Does that take the files out of the current folder and put them in Zotero's default folder? Or does a duplicate remain?

  • You can remove them from the current folder when you drag them into Zotero by holding down the Shift key (Windows, Linux) or Cmd key (Mac) as you drag.
  • @adshiller Yes, you can just drag & drop PDF files into Zotero. I don't know if there is a limit to how many files you can drag & drop at once. 5GB must be a lot of files!

    As @bwiernik pointed out: If you d&d the PDF they will be copied into Zotero, when you d&d while holding the shift key the will be moved.

    You might also wanna check the option in the general preferences pane for automatically retrieving PDF metadadata (should be set as default). If most of your PDF are journal papers or ebooks and not scaned papers or books you get a good chance that Zotero automatically will generate correct items for the PDF.
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