Using Pre-Existing OneDrive Location for PDF Storage

Hi all, apologies if this is a frequently asked question, but the things I've been able to find (admittedly not on this forum) haven't been particularly helpful to me.

I used to use Mendeley for organizing my references, but it's been a few years since I kept it up to date, and now that they're owned by Elsevier, I'd rather not go back there. That said, there's some functionality there that doesn't seem to work the same with Zotero, or at least I'm not understanding the Zotero methodology.

I have a previously existing folder wherein I keep all of my pdfs of journal articles, textbooks, etc, that I keep in the cloud on my Microsoft OneDrive. It's big (>25GB), therefore I REALLY don't want to have Zotero keep a duplicate of it, which is what it seems to want to do. When I've searched online about how to enter my pre-existing library of pdfs into Zotero, everything seems to say "Just drag-and-drop the files into the center screen in Zotero", which is all well and good, but when I do so it seems that Zotero starts to make a duplicate of my library within its own directory, which seems to both be extraneous and wasteful.

So, I'll try to phrase my query succinctly...

I have a pre-existing directory that has all of my pdfs. I would like to tell Zotero to just look there for my library. If it can monitor that folder and automatically add add new files to the reference list as I put new pdfs in there, so much the better, but if I have to do that manually, so be it. But it's really a deal breaker for me if I have to make a duplicate of my library within the Zotero directory. So... Little help?
  • edited May 23, 2022
    I believe what you're after is Linked files. It's possible to drag a file onto Zotero with modifier keys pressed (see linked page) to add files as linked files to Zotero. Unfortunately there is no option to observe a directory.

    Also it's worth remembering that one drawback of using linked files is that these won't appear on other platforms (iOS or web library)
  • edited May 23, 2022
    Do you have the files stored an organised in subfolders? If not try Zotfilie (this will put all your pdfs to one folder, but you can store them on OneDrive location)
  • Thanks all, I'll give these options a shot.
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