Storing PDF files in Cloud folder (Google Drive)


I've been looking through a dozen or so threads at this point and haven't quite found the answer I'm looking for. I only use Zotero on one computer, I would, however, like to store my pdfs in google drive, because I read and annotate them on both my ipad and computer. I've installed zotfile but it simply doesn't do this. I currently have two collections in zotero, in one of them, when i save a new source it will be put the pdf in the gdrive folder, if I have the other collection selected, it will not.

I'm trying to avoid using the "send to tablet" feature because I am often traveling without my computer and won't have access to initiate the send process. It would be a much better workflow if I could just have a cloud folder of pdfs that links to zotero.

Any ideas?

Thank you!
  • Hi, I have somehow the same issue. But another thing that I'm trying to mention is that Zotfile does not move the attached files to the newly selected folder path. I mean during the attaching PDF files, isn't it the case that it should be moved automatically to the desired folder?
  • @nanaken @alireza.akhavan

    Zotfile will automatically move and rename files if you have a Custom Location set in the Zotfile General Settings and have "Use Zotero to rename" unchecked in the Zotfile Renaming Rules settings.

    This is exactly the recommended approach if you want to use Google Drive or similar services to sync files in My Library. What Zotfile settings do you have, and what exactly happens when you add a new PDF?
  • @bwiernik Thank you for your suggestion. I have the same settings that you have suggested. When I add a new pdf Zotero just creates a new subdirectory for it within its library.

    I have discovered though that while I'm in Zotero and right click on the pdf file, select "manage attachments" and click on "rename attachments" it will send the pdf file to the desired folder I set up via Zotfile in gdrive. So it does require one extra step than what it sounds like the intended method is, but simple enough.

    Thanks again for taking the time to comment!
  • It should move automatically, without having to manually use Manage Attachments.

    Can you submit a Error Report ID (from the Help menu) after trying to import where the PDF doesn’t move automatically?
  • (ZotFile isn't aware of the new auto-retrieve metadata option so doesn't move files attached that way. Files manually attached or added by translators should be moved though)
  • Great, thank you for the updates. I'm using this for my graduate school courses, am i able to set each course as a collection and then use zotfile to set up different folders in my gdrive that the pdf files will sync too, or will all of my pdf need to sync to the same folder, regardless of which collection it is in?
  • No, you can set Zotfile to create sub folders based on collections in Zotero.
  • I wrote up some instructions for students who wanted advice on storing PDFs in Zotero on Google Drive (UCLA gives them unlimited storage). I showed them Zotfile -- and here is a link to a quick step-by-step draft. Comments/corrections appreciated
  • Thank you all again for your previous help. I still am not fully liking the way the pdfs are managed. For one of my courses.

    From a Gdrive standpoint, I have folders set up for each one of my classes. Those classes have folders with each week's readings in them, meaning they will have 2-6 pdf files in each one of them (times 15 weeks). Is it possible to have the files link into zotero, without having to move them? During the semester I often go back to reference readings from a tablet or school computer and know where to look based on the week and that week's topic. It would be great if Zotero could be used as the citation manager for the inevitable research paper that comes at the end of the semester and just left my files in their "original locations.

    Is that possible?

    Thank you in advance
  • I'm not quite sure how your last exchange with bwiernik didn't answer this?
  • Yes, as I stated before, Zotfile can organize PDFs based on collections in Zotero. That can accomplish what you are looking for, right? If not, please explain why not.
  • I must be doing something wrong, or missing collection thing.

    The only way I could figure out how to use Zotfile to organize pdfs was to either have all of the pdfs dump into one folder or have subfolders based on the pdf title, author, publisher etc.

    I could not figure out how to have the files that were grouped within a collection of Zotero mirrored in a folder in google drive. So If my collection name was "China" there was no folder that showed up that was also called "China" and if I then made a subcollection called "final paper" there would not be a folder in google drive that was "final paper."

    More useful to me though would be for the existing directory of folders and pdfs to remain intact, without moving the pdf file. For example, in Google drive I have the folder tree:

    GoogleDrive > Spring Semester > Chinese Foreign Policy > week one Readings

    There would be 15 folders, one for each week. When I drag a pdf into Zotero though, the file is copied into the Zotero default file structure. If I use Zotfile and drag the file into Zotero it creates a linked entry in Zotero, but puts a copy of the pdf into the original directory I chose for zotfile when I first set it up (which is where content goes when I use the Chrome plugin to download pdfs from online journals). I do not see a way to designate more than a single folder.

    Does my description make sense?

    Thank you
  • In Zotfile preferences, there is an option to place files in sub folders based on item metadata. Enter %c to organize them based on Zotero collections.
  • *Facepalm*, well that's embarrassingly simple. I saw that command on the zotfile website and misinterpreted it. Thank you so much for sticking with me on this!
  • No problem.
  • @nanaken have you found a solution wherein the attachments automatically to google drive without using the "manage attachments" 'cause I have the same problem as yours.

    I followed @zoepster 's instructions but it is still a problem and there is no error report as @bwiernik requested.

    I hope you can help me here. Thanks!
  • How exactly are you adding items to Zotero and what happens when you do? When you add and item, it should be moved by Zotfile automatically.
  • Not sure if commenting on old threads is allowed here, but that point about using %c for filing by collection within a backed up folder was very useful - also in my humble opinion it seems more worthwhile to just use one option to help keep the folder structures under control.

    On the issue with firefox connector import interacting weirdly with zotfile mentioned by those above, I still seem to be having a similar issue with the automated filing of the pdf (in 2022). The manual manage and rename does work, but it feels like it should be a bit more seamless in the process. Perhaps including a preference box/button that does that, but warns you that Zotero doesn't recommend it. If there exists a method to automate it though, please say so!

    Thanks for the earlier troubleshooting y'all
  • The problem isn't that Zotero doesn't recommend it (nothing wrong with it) -- it's just that ZotFile isn't able to recognize the automated retrieve metadata when you save a PDF to Zotero, so it's automatic rename/move doesn't fire.
    If you use the principal recommended way of getting stuff into Zotero, i.e. saving from the abstract/landing page and having Zotero automatically attach the PDF, ZotFile will automatically rename and move it (assuming, of course, you have it set up to).
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