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Zotero: Zotfile

Zotero is a free citation manager. This page offers information that will help you create and build a Zotero library, create and use groups to collaborate, and use Zotero to add properly formatted citations to your papers.

Library Data Services

Library Data Services caters to researchers interested in working with data, mapping, texts, visualization, and technology. Many of these services are available online. Davis Library Data Services, located on the second floor of Davis Library, offers:

  • A computing lab with specialized software for GIS and data visualization & analysis.
  • Walk-in assistance provided by knowledgeable student consultants during set hours
  • Consultations with specialists for more in-depth inquiries (by appointment).
  • Spaces for collaboration and presentation, complete with white boards and external displays.
  • Technology short courses and programs that promote digital scholarship.

Installing and Setting up ZotFile

About ZotFile

ZotFile is a Zotero add-on (plugin) that allows you to manage PDFs and other attachments by allowing you to save and move attachments to other storage locations, such as cloud storage (OneDrive, Google Drive, Box, etc.). This is especially helpful to when you come up against Zotero's free-tier storage capacity (300 MB), which is equivalent to approximately 200 15-page PDFs.

ZotFile allows you to automatically direct files downloaded from the Zotero to the storage location of your choosing instead of the Zotero cloud. Cloud storage works best, compared to local storage, so you can access those files from multiple devices. In this guide, we will be using OneDrive as the cloud storage of choice.

Before installing ZotFile, you need to make sure: 

1. The Zotero application is installed on your computer. You can download Zotero here.

2. You can access the cloud storage directory through your personal computer. To access OneDrive, you can download the application here.

Step 1: Installing ZotFile

1. Navigate to and click Download 

2. Open your Zotero application, go to Tools in the top menu, and select Add-ons 

3. In the Add-ons Manager window, go to the gear icon, and click on Install Add-on From File

4. Select the downloaded ZotFile file wherever it was downloaded and click Open

5. In the Software Installation window, click Install Now

6. Restart Zotero to finish the installation

Step 2: Changing Zotero's Base Directory

1. From the top menu

  • Windows: Navigate to Edit > Preferences
  • Mac: Navigate to Zotero > Preferences (Settings)

2. Select Advanced and then click on Files and Folders

3. Under "Linked Attachment Base Directory," click Choose

4. Navigate to a desired folder within your OneDrive directory 

  • TIP: It may be helpful to create a folder within OneDrive named "Zotero files"

5. Select Open, then Change Base Directory Setting in the pop-up 

6. Close the Preferences window

Step 3: Setting up ZotFile Preferences

1. Under Tools in the top menu, select ZotFile Preferences

2. Under "Location of Files, " select Custom Location then click on Choose

3. Select the same folder that was set as Zotero's base directory

Step 4: Test Zotfile

1. Download any PDF using your browser's Zotero connector

2. Find the item record, the PDF icon has a link symbol on it.

3. Right-click the item and select Show File

4. The file should be in the OneDrive directory

Step 5: Preexisting Files 

1. Select all the items in your Zotero library you wish to move to OneDrive

2. Right click your selection

3. Navigate to Manage Attachments

4. Select Rename and Move

Troubleshooting Zotfile

Sometimes Zotfile will not be able to move files automatically due to your computer's permission (e.g. work computer). In this case you should:

  • Restart Zotero, download a file, and check if ZotFile automatically moved it
  • Reinstall ZotFile, download a file, and check if ZotFile automatically moved it
  • Make sure Zotero has correct permission to access the desired cloud storage directory
  • If you are unable to change permissions, you will have to download the file(s) as normal and follow the instructions for Step 5. The files will first be downloaded to your Zotero cloud then be moved to the directory you have set.