Storage Options

Backup Your Zotero data

When you install Zotero, a folder is created to store attachments locally on your computer. To find your Zotero file storage folder, go to the Advanced tab of your Zotero preferences. Select "Files and Folders"  and click "Show Data Directory." This will show you where that folder is located on your computer. Be sure to include it in your computer backups!

Zotero Cloud Storage

You receive 300 MB of free storage from Zotero when you sign up for an online account.

  • There is no limit to the number of items that you can add to your Zotero Library. 
  • The files you attach to your items (like a full-text pdf of an article) count towards your 300MB of storage space. 

To check how much storage you are using, log into your online account at, click on Settings and then click on Storage.

You can also purchase additional Zotero storage from your account.

Zotfile: External Storage

If you would like to automatically store files in your Zotero library in an alternative location, such as Dropbox, you should download and install ZotFile.

Once you have downloaded and installed Zotfile, ZotFile Preferences will appear in your actions menu.

Choose Zotfile Preferences to configure the storage location for your files. 

In the ZotFile Preferences General Settings tab, under location of files, select Custom Location and choose the location you have created for your files.

If you have enabled File Syncing in your Zotero account preferences, then you are using Zotero cloud storage.

To ensure that your files are only being saved in the Custom Location you chose (without a second copy going to Zotero cloud storage), uncheck the box "Sync Attachment Files in My Library using Zotero"

Manually Link to External Files

If you want to manage your files outside of Zotero, but do not want to use Zotfile, in the General tab of Zotero Preferences, you can uncheck Automatically attach associated PDFs and other files when saving items. 

If you uncheck this, as you conduct your research, you will be required to download and manage all PDFs and other files on your own.

One way that you can manually associate files to Zotero items is by using the option of linking to a file.

Right click on the item and select Add Attachment. Then select Attach Link to File. Navigate to the location where the file is stored.