Downloading PDFs to my PC from Zotero.

I want to download all my files from a specific folders on Zotero directly to my PC. However, I'm seeing that the only option is to go in one by one and open each file and save it. Is there a way to download my files in bulk?

(I have already downloaded the Zotero app onto my PC)
  • It's not totally clear what you're trying to do. Where exactly are you looking at your data and files? In the Zotero desktop app or the Zotero web library? And what do you mean by "download"? What are you trying to do with the files?
  • I am looking at my data on the Zotero web library. It's in a group's folder. By download, I mean extracting files from the web library to download onto my computer.
  • If you just want your library to exist on your computer, all you need to do is set up syncing in the Zotero desktop app. And the desktop app is how you want to be using Zotero normally. The web app is just for accessing your library if you're not at your own computer and can't install the desktop app.
  • Okay, I've set up syncing on the desktop app. I see the files inside the Zotero app, but I want to download them to my actual PC. Is there a way to take the files out of the app and save them in a folder on my computer?
  • edited January 23, 2020
    Can you say what you're actually trying to accomplish? E.g., email them somewhere, stop using Zotero? The desktop app already stores data on your computer, so those files are on your local disk already, and if you copy them you'll just have duplicates. You can drag one or more attachment items out of Zotero to copy the files to other folders, but unless your goal is to send the files somewhere (for which there might be a better approach) or stop using Zotero (which is fine, and we can tell you how best to do that if you provide more details), it's not something you would normally do.
  • The goal is to download the files and delete Zotero. I have tried opening the desktop app and dragging the PDF into my folder, but that isn't working. I also have more than 100 files I need to download, so I would like to try and avoid dragging the files in one by one (each pdf lies insode a title tab. I have to open each title tab to reveal my pdf and then drag the pdf. When I drag it to my desktop, I see the "add files" icon, but when I let go, the file doesn't appear).
  • Have you confirmed that you can open the PDF within Zotero? Assuming you can, dragging the attachment item to a regular folder should work. It's also possible to select all attachments at once by using a search and Select All.

    But if your goal is just to get all synced files out, the easiest thing to do is just to do a search in your file manager for all PDFs within the Zotero data directory and then copy or move those somewhere. (If you're going to be deleting the data directory afterward anyway, it'd be better to move them.)
  • Yes, I've confirmed that I can open these in the web library. However, when I try to drag it from my desktop app, nothing appears. Even when I search for PDFs specifically, I cannot move the files from the app into my folder on my PC. It seems the PDFs are hidden under top-level items?

  • When we say Zotero, we always mean the Desktop app. Forget the web library for the purpose of this.

    If you double-click on a PDF in Zotero (i.e. the desktop app) does it open? If so, it sounds like the files are synced.

    As dstillman says, to just get all of the PDFs out of Zotero, the easiest would be not to use Zotero at all beyond the syncing. You find the folder where it stores PDFs locally (see link in his last post) and the do a search with your operating system (i.e. windows explorer or Mac Finder) for PDFs in that folder including subfolders. That will show all PDFs which you can then drag anywhere you want on your file system.
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