How to Export Your Papers Library With and Without PDFs

Note: the following article refers to the Papers desktop application. For information on how to export PDFs from the web application, please click here)

If you're looking to move your library (PDFs only or PDFs with metadata) out of Papers, we offer several different options. 

To export only the metadata of your library on the desktop application, click on the cog icon next to the library you wish to export and mouse over the "Export to" tab to see the available export options:

There, you'll see the option to export the contents of your library as a .bib, .ris, or .csv file, or as a Mendeley export.

To export your PDFs out of Papers, head once again to the desktop application, click on the cog icon next to the library in question, mouse over "PDF Downloading" and select the "Available Offline" option. If the text of the option is greyed out, it means the options has already been selected, in which case you will be able to locate your PDFs in the local Papers Library folder on your device.

Once you select the "Available Offline" option, the desktop application will begin downloading a local copy of all your PDFs. You will know which file is available in local storage by the small paperclip icon next to the reference: 

In the above example, the references with a cloud icon do not have a local copy available, whereas the references with a paperclip icon do.

An alternate way of downloading all your PDFs to local storage at once is to select all references in your library, right-click on any one of them and then select the "Download from Cloud" option, which will prompt the app to download PDFs of all selected references to the local Papers Library folder: 

Once the download of all of your files has been completed (this can take some time, especially for larger libraries) all of your PDFs will be available within your Papers Library folder in local storage. By default, this folder is located within Documents on your computer (Mac and PC) but if you are not sure where your library is located, launch the desktop app and head to Papers Settings - Library, where you will see the location of the local library folder:

With those PDFs downloaded to a single location, you can now easily move them to the service of your choice.

(updated February 6th, 2024)

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