Export pdf attachments of the collection in bulk

I often need to export the pdf files of some collections of my library. But I don't find any ways to do this in bulk. I usually just drag them one by one into the folder. But I think it is a waste of time. Is there something I missing? My OS is Win7 and I update the standalone version to the latest
  • ZotFile's send to tablet feature should allow you to do this with relative ease. (the reason this isn't easily possible in Zotero is that I don't really see why you'd do this in regular use?)
  • Thanks. Sometimes I will share some papers with my classmates. But they don't use Zotero. And sometimes I will export some papers into my USB disk and then print them in the print shop.
  • edited March 31, 2015
    You can actually do this easily in Zotero on OS X (and maybe Linux, though I forget). Multi-file drag is just broken on Windows for technical reasons.

    On OS X, you can just search for 'pdf' or create a saved search that matches just PDFs, do a Select All to select the search matches, and drag those files to a folder.

    The technical limitation on Windows may no longer be relevant, though. We'll have to take another look, though I won't get to it in the near future.
  • Just wanted to point out another use case for exporting PDFs. As a patent practitioner, I find Zotero absolutely essential for collecting prior art documents for filing as an Information Disclosure Statement. However...the USPTO also requires that PDFs of all non-patent literature be filed. Easy enough to attach in Zotero. Not so easy to export. Doable, but a one-click feature would be awesome!
  • Also, as Ao pointed out, sharing a folder of PDFs compiled on a specific topic is a use case I come across frequently - primarily because Zotero is so much more useful than just as a ref manager and browser, but as a reference organizer.
  • As I say above, ZotFile's send to tablet feature does this, and does it in one click (even if it's designed for a slightly different task). What's not working with that?
  • The main two restrictions on the ZotFile approach are:
    * doesn't work on group libraries (because it aims to provide a sync rather than an export)
    * it doesn't allow the export of files in sub-collections (you can export all files; files from a search; or files from a specific collection, but not, afaics, all files in a collection or library, including all sub-collections, and duplicated if in several collections)

    An export that allows me to say: export all attachments in these Zotero collections (including sub-collections) as folders on the file system, and ensure that each appearance of an entry in a collection results in a pdf in a such-named folder---would be great.

    I think there are many situtations in which this is useful, most particularly when sharing with others who don't use Zotero.
  • @ adamsmith:
    I use your described ZotFile approach to export multiple pdf's to my desktop to easily pass them on to others. This works really well, however, just one time with each individual pdf.

    If I already exported a particular pdf that way in the past, and then I want to export it again to my desktop, I get following message:

    "1 of the selected attachments are already on the tablet. Do you want to replace these files on the tablet?"

    I get this message even if the file from the previous export has already been deleted from my desktop. If I then chose "ok", I get this error message:

    TypeError: tablet_file.exists is not a function
    (chrome://zotfile/content/zotfile.js, 2790)

    and then nothing happens.

    Is there something that I am missing? thanks in advance!
  • @schibones -- I'd just regularly delete the _tablet tag, which should fix this.
  • @nicojx Hi, do you find a good way to do this? The search method works for export all pdf attachments in zotero library. However, how to pick up pdfs belong to a specific collection?
  • HI, everyone,
    I read all of your discussions, it seems that there is no way to reach my purpose. The search method works for export all pdf attachments in zotero library. However, how to pick up pdfs belonging to a specific collection on Windows OS? Could someone make it more clear?
  • edited July 31, 2018
    You can do what I say above — use the search bar (e.g., for "pdf" in "Title, Creator, Year" mode) in a given collection, Select All, and then drag to the filesystem. The drag-and-drop limitations on Windows (mostly) no longer apply.

    If the search bar alone isn't enough, things are a little more complicated, because of the way child items in collections are currently handled. Child items technically aren't considered to belong to collections, so it's not enough to choose [Collection] [is] [Foo] as a search condition. But you can do this:

    1) Create search A with [Collection] [is] [Foo] and "Include parent and child items of matching items" selected. Save that as a saved search.

    2) Create search B with [Collection] [is] [Search A], [Attachment File Type] [is] [PDF], and any other conditions you want. Save that as a second saved search.

    3) Use Select All in saved search B, and then drag the PDFs to the filesystem.

    We should be able to change this in the future to avoid the need for the extra search.
  • Has a way been developed to do this a little more efficiently?

    Following the instructions above, I selected my items (at the parent level) and drag/dropped to my windows desktop and nothing. But when I expanded all of the parents and selected each pdf file, it worked as described.

    I just discovered this post today and really like that capability, I was not aware of it before. I think it will improve much of my workflow and makes sharing content a lot easier.

    Thank you.
  • edited February 10, 2021
    No, it doesn't currently work on parent items, and doing so would be a little awkward, because an item could have multiple attachments, so you could end up with multiple files. But maybe it's worth supporting.

    We'd also have to confirm that it's possible on a technical level. I think it is, but file dragging works a bit differently on each OS, particularly when multiple files are involved.
  • Understandable. Maybe just providing the capability to select all of the attachments in the collection could provide equivalent functionality.
  • I am also looking for this feature. Would it be possible to restrict the item types that are shown in the browser? For instance, as CityPrincess pointed out, after filtering with "pdf" it's still necessary to select each pdf file individually because the parent document entry is also shown in the list, albeit greyed out.

    Why not get rid of these greyed out entries altogether? There could be a new drop-down menu with checkboxes next to the search bar which contains thing like "pdf", "notes", "citations", etc. Some people (not me) like to use the notes feature extensively. When they go over their collected notes, it could be very useful not to have the citation entries, pdfs, and other attachments clutter the view.
  • edited July 10, 2022
    Yes, currently, we can do a bulk export of PDFs easily within a collection. Just type "pdf" in the search bar within the collection page, and selection all items (ctrl+A), and drag them into a windows file explorer window. Done.
  • edited July 19, 2022
    For completeness sake, there's also now a custom translator you can install that will export attachments from the entire library or the currently selected items or collection, replicating collections as folders (and thus potentially duplicating items). https://github.com/retorquere/zotero-file-hierarchy (carefully follow the instructions for how to install, it's a bit tricky)
  • @adamsmith Thanks for sharing this, seems nice.
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