Brandel Library

Zotero: Personal Research Manager

This guide walks you through Zotero, a free tool for gathering, organizing, searching, and citing sources to create a personal research library.

Manage Files in Zotero

By default, Zotero will store the PDFs attached to the items in your library on their servers. Free Zotero accounts include up to 300MB of file storage. Zotfile is a file management plugin for Zotero that provides an alternative to Zotero's default system. Consider installing Zotfile if any of the following apply to you:

  • You need more than 300MB of storage.
  • You use a tablet or smartphone for reading PDFs.
  • You use PDF annotation software.
  • You prefer that your PDF files have meaningful file names. 

Install Zotfile

1. Download Zotfile

2. Install Zotfile

In Zotero, open the Tools menu and select Add-Ons. In the Add-Ons Manager open the Settings menu and select Install Add-On from File. Choose the file you downloaded in the previous step.

3. Set file storage location 

Once Zotfile is installed, go to  Zotero's Settings menu and select Zotfile Preferences. Under General Settings set both the source folder and the file location to your preferred location. I recommend using cloud-based storage such as OneDrive or Dropbox.

Key Zotfile Features

  • Customizable file storage locations.
  • File syncing with PDF reader apps for Android and iOS.
  • Automatic file renaming.
  • Extraction of underlined text and annotations from PDF files.

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