Does Zotero sync changes to attached PDFs?

I'm syncing attached PDFs with as the cloud storage provider (I'm subscribed).
If I modify an attached PDF locally on my laptop (say I add an annotation using Adobe Acrobat), will the annotated file sync back to Zotero server?
  • Yes, they will (though obviously the recommendation would be to use Zotero's own annotation feature, which syncs more smoothly because it doesn't require swapping out the whole PDF)
  • Yes, I prefer Zotero's own annotations. Actually, what I want to do is to remove annotations done with Acrobat from the PDF file, and I would like this removal to synced. Then I'll use Zotero's annotation exclusively.
  • edited October 2, 2022
    You can import external annotations into Zotero from the File menu of the PDF reader. That will remove them from the PDF file and add them to Zotero, after which they'll sync with other Zotero data rather than requiring a full file sync on every change.
  • @dstillman I just tried this. Indeed this removes annotations from the PDF file, and seems to import them into Zotero. However some of the imported notes are "locked" in Zotero (they can't be modified). Why?

  • (In case it helps, I'd be happy to DM you a link to the file in question in my web library; it's synced with
  • edited October 2, 2022
    You can just post the 8-character item key that shows up in the URL when viewing the parent item in the web library.

    If an annotation shows as locked, it would mean it wasn't imported, and it should still be embedded in the file. Is that the case?
  • edited October 3, 2022
    The annotation is still embedded in the file. It's an underlining, not a highlight. Could that be the reason?

    Now I removed the underlining with Adobe Acrobat, and things are okay.
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