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Link Your Zotero Files to Cornell Box: Home

How to Link Your Zotero Files to Cornell Box--Two Options

Cornell Zotero users can sync their attached PDFs to CornellBox, which offers unlimited storage space to everyone at Cornell (at about a 1/2 gig per PDF, you could store every article ever published and still have room left over). And this is obviously a lot more storage online than the free Zotero allotment of 300 mbs.   This snyc and store option is available for individual Zotero accounts, but not Zotero groups.

So how to set this up?  Well, you've got three options.  One involves using a free Zotero plugin called Zotfile, while the other two options work from within Zotero.  If you'd like to view and edit your PDFs online, follow path one (the downside is that this Zotero-to-Box option is not automated, so you'll have to remember to periodically sync any new attachements);   if you want a really simple & automated way to store and access your PDFs online, try option two (downside with this option is that  what you'll see in the folder are the 8 digit Zotero back up folders and not the pdfs).  Option 3 works, but you end up with zipped files, which considering Cornell Box allows for unlimited storage, isn't a plus.  And if you have any difficulties with any of this, or just want to know more about Zotero, email us.


  1. Download and install Zotfile.  Follow the directions on the Zotfile homepage under "install Zotfile."
  2. Set up Box sync on your computer, which will allow you to select folders in Box that will automatically synchronize with your computer. Log in to your Cornell Box account at  Once you're logged in, follow Box's directions for setting up sync at:  (This URL may not work if you are not logged in.)
  3. In your Box Sync folder on your desktop, create a Zotero attachments folder.
  4. In Zotero, select Zotero Preferences (usually under the 'edit' menu on PCs and the 'Zotero' menu on Macs).  Select 'Tablet Settings' and check "use Zotfile to send get files from tablet.  Then choose your PDF folder in Box Sync as your base folder.
  5. Select save

6.  Finally, in the middle column of your library,  right click on one or multiple references with attachments and select 'manage attachments'>'send to tablet'.  The next time Box Sync syncs, your PDFs will sync to Box as well.  For newly downloaded attachments, you will need to repeat this procedure.


Another option is to put your data directory in a Box Sync Folderin a Box Sync Folder(the data directory is where your Zotero files, including attachments, get stored) . 

1. Create a Zotero backup folder somewhere in Box Sync.  

2.  Open Preferences--Advanced.  Choose the  'files and folders' tab.  Under 'data directory location,' choose custom and pick your Zotero backup folder.

3.  Note that with this option, you will backup the Zotero folders holding each pdf--thus, in your Zotero back up folder in Box, you will see a bunch of folders with the Zotero naming convention:


Note--lately, this option has been storing zipped copies of all attachments.  

To start:  in Box, you need to use the Create External Password for WebDAV logins (don't worry if that doesn't mean anything).  To do this:

  • Sign into your Cornell Box account using your net id and password. 
  • Click on the gear icon in upper right.  The external password may be created in the Account Settings > Account tab > Create External Password 
  • Create External Password  








Once you’ve done this, open Zotero and hit the gear icon>preferences>sync; here, enter the Box URL
(,  your login email address and the external password you just created:

  • Click 'verify server.'  If you’re successful,
    you’ll get a new screen that looks something like this:

  • Log into Box, or refresh.  You should now have
    a Zotero folder in your Cornell Box account.

A few tips:

  • Avoid using Firefox to set up the connection between Zotero and Box.
  • Try setting up a folder in Box named zotero first.
  • The set up is a bit temperamental; it might take a couple of tries to get it to work. If you've already got a large Zotero account, it could take a while to copy attachments to Box.

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