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An overview of Zotero: A free and easy to use citation management tool.


This section clarifies the differences between data and file storage in Zotero, and how they apply to local and online Zotero storage, based on questions from Tiffany C. Esteban's consultations and workshops. It also offers information about Zotero's paid file storage plans, and alternative file storage options provided by UF. Use the guide menu to choose your topic of interest.

Zotero Data and File Storage: Differences between Zotero's storage of data and files, and what they entail.

Zotero Storage Quota and Local Storage: Differences between the storage capacities of Zotero's online library and Zotero's local desktop app for storing files.

Zotero File Storage Plans: Zotero's optional, paid plans for file storage for individuals, labs, and institutions.

Other File Storage Options: UF's options for cloud storage and file sharing.

For any questions about this topic, please use the Full Documentation section in this guide or contact Tiffany C. Esteban by email at

Zotero Data and File Storage

Data Storage

According to Zotero's sync documentation, "Data syncing merges library items, notes, links, tags, etc. — everything except attachment files — between your local computer and the Zotero servers, allowing you to work with your data from any computer with Zotero installed and to view your library online on Data syncing is free and unlimited, and it can be used without file syncing."

In other words, Zotero data storage includes:

  • your saved item records (all the metadata about an item in your library, including links)
  • tags you created yourself for an item or those pulled from a database with the Zotero browser connector
  • notes you saved from a PDF or created as standalone notes

You can store records, tags, and notes for free without limits both in your Zotero desktop app and your online Zotero library.

File Storage

According to Zotero's sync documentation, "Data syncing syncs library items, but doesn't sync attached files (PDFs, audio and video files, images, etc.). To sync these files, you can set up file syncing to accompany data syncing, using either Zotero Storage or WebDAV."

In other words, Zotero file storage includes:

  • PDFs
  • Audio files
  • Video files
  • Images
  • Screenshots of webpages

Your file storage capacity depends on how you store your Zotero files. Please see the Zotero Storage Quota and Local Storage section for more information.

Zotero Storage Quota and Local Storage

According to Zotero's documentation about the storage quota and local storage, "your storage quota, displayed on your storage settings page, applies solely to files you've uploaded to Zotero servers, and doesn't affect your local usage of Zotero. You can always store as much as you wish locally — you'll never be prevented from saving to the Zotero app due to being at your online storage quota."

In other words, the free 300 MB storage quota only applies to the files you've saved to your online Zotero library, not any files you save to your local Zotero desktop app. In your local Zotero desktop app, you can save as many files as you want.

When you've reached your storage quota for your online library, the local Zotero desktop app will display a notification. At that point, any files you save beyond your quota will only save to your local desktop app, and not to your online Zotero library. This distinction is important in cases where you want to backup and transfer your Zotero data to another computer. For more information about data backups and transfers, please see Zotero's support documentation on syncing and the data directory.

Zotero File Storage Plans

For individuals or labs/institutions who want more online file storage than the free 300 MB limit, Zotero offers optional paid file storage plans. Individual storage plans range from 2 GB to unlimited data for monthly fees, while labs/institutions have set costs based on a specified set of users. Please visit Zotero's individual storage plans or the lab/institution plans for more details.

Other File Storage Options

UF Accounts on Cloud Servers

If Zotero's paid file storage plans are not an option for you, you could use resources already available at UF and other tools online.

In terms of file storage, UF IT offers GatorCloud, a list of cloud servers approved for use with UF accounts, including Google Drive and Dropbox. So if you're saving PDFs, for example, you could consider saving and sharing your files across devices by using your UF account on one or more of those cloud servers.

ZotFile Plugin

You could also use the third-party ZotFile plugin to sync PDFs from your Zotero library to an Ipad, Android tablet, or mobile phone. Please see the ZotFile section of the Zotero guide from the University of California Berkeley Library for instructions on how to set it up and manage your files.

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