"Move file to file directory" is grayed out

After updating to the version 5.2, “Move file to file directory” menu is grayed out.
In ver. 5.1, I usually linked a PDF file to an entry, and then moved the PDF file to my JabRef folder using the “move file to file folder” from the right-click menu (on File field in General tab). I did this procedure to keep the PDF’s given file name (I hate files to be renamed during linking/moving).

To the best, I would like a PDF file to be linked to the entry of interest and moved to the file folder at once which I could do with version 4.x. Maybe using a combination of Ctrl and ALT modifier keys during drop-and-drop PDF file to the entry of interest…

At least, I would like to get back the “Move file to file folder” function.

Thank you in advance.


Sorry for the inconvenience. This is a bug which is fortunately already fixed in the latest development version:

It’s recommended to make a backup of your library before trying out the new version.

Hi Christoph,

Thank you for your reply. I’ve just tried the version 5.3 and found that the “Move file to file directory” became available again.

It would be nice if you/someone consider to add/bring-back a functionality for linking/moving a file WITHOUT renaming it.

Thank you again!

There are two different actions, move only and moving + renaming available

Linking a file is also possible, for example using drag and drop modifier keys https://docs.jabref.org/advanced/entryeditor#drag-and-drop-behavior-settings

The linked page explained the how combinations of drag-and-drop with modifier keys work as follows (for Windows);

  • Move: Ctrl + Drag
  • Copy: Shift + Drag or no key + Drag
  • Link: Alt + Drag

With version 5.3, what happens are different form aforementioned info, and actually go as follows;
Copy and rename: Ctrl + Drag
Move and rename: Shift + Drag, No key + Drag
Link: ALT + Drag
(I don’t find any combination to achieve “Move without rename”.)

Ctrl and Shift modifier’s functions are interchanged in the linked site. More importantly, both Move and Copy functions rename the file. I see the functions of “Shift + Drag” and “No key + Drag” are redundant. I would suggest that changing “Shift + Drag” for “Move without rename” and “Ctrl + Shift + Drag” for “Copy without rename”. (If I should submit this idea as a new topic, I would be happy to do so.)

I would appreciate if you consider this modification for new JabRef version.

Thank you.


Thanks for the detailed explanation. It would be nice if you could open an issue for moving/copying without renaming:

As the modifiers are OS dependent, we can maybe change copy to just copy without rename

This fixed the grayed out issue for me too.

However, I’m still having an issue on Kubuntu 20.04 in which JabRef doesn’t seem to be respecting my file directory: it’s placing files in the library folder instead of in a subfolder I’ve designated for PDFs. (I’ve specified the General file directory, the user file directory, and the path to linked files in Preferences.)

@jrgant JabRef takes the first path it finds to place the pdfs. So if you want to go with user-specific or general file directory you need to clear the main file directory.

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Thanks. I was also providing an absolute path and didn’t realize I’d selection the option to search for a path relative to the library directory.