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Zotero: Frequently Asked Questions

Zotero Syncing & Storage

Zotero Syncing/Space Management

Zotero gives each user 300MB of file storage for free. Citations take up little space. PDFs, snapshots, and other attachments take up quite a bit of space.

Recommended Options for Managing Space, Ranked

  1. Buy more space from Zotero
  2. Move pdfs and other attachments to another cloud storage using Linked File Attachments
    This method means that rather than storing copies of pdfs and other materials in Zotero, you attach links to files stored in a cloud-sync folder, such as Dropbox or Google Drive. When using linked attachments, you should set up Zotero's Linked Attachment Base Directory feature so that Zotero can find your files on each computer, even if the path to the cloud-sync folder differs. The Zotfile plugin can make managing linked attachments easier by automatically moving attachment files to a designated folder as you import them.

No matter which option you choose, Zotfile is a recommended Zotero plugin to manage your attachments: automatically rename, move, and attach PDFs (or other files) to Zotero items, and extract annotations from PDF files.

Other Options for Managing Space, generally not recommended

  • You could choose not to sync Zotero to the cloud, but that’s risky. If your computer is stolen, melts down, etc., you lose all of your research materials. Frequent, regular Zotero back-ups to an external hard drive are a necessity if you choose not to sync to the cloud.
  • WebDAV is a standard protocol for transferring files over the web. It's third-party cloud storage, and there are both free and paid options. Once you have your WebDAV account info, enter the URL provided by the service, your username and password in the Sync preferences tab. Specify whether or not you are using secure WebDAV (https). If you don't know, you can simply try both options, but your service provider should be able to tell you. After entering the information, click “Verify Server”. If Zotero successfully verifies the WebDAV account, you're all set to use file syncing via WebDAV. Zotero sync works with correctly installed WebDAV servers. 

Caution: Moving Zotero to Dropbox, Google Drive, or other cloud storage will irreparably corrupt your Zotero library (though you can use these services to store attachments using Linked File Attachments). 

updated 1/2019