Saving files to subdirs

I have been using JabRef 3.x, and when adding files from a URL, I was given an option to change the path of where the file was to be stored when the file had finished downloading. Now, in 4.x, I no longer get this option; the URL is downloaded and stored in the root path (as defined in settings) but I am never given an option to move it to a subdir, I have to go to the actual directory and move the file manually, then relink it in the bibtex entry.

Was this feature removed in 4.x or am I doing something wrong?

I am on OSX FWIW, and the recent dev snapshot (master 12/8).

Yes, this dialog was removed in 4.0 in order to streamline the download process and since most users want to save the files in the default folder anyway. Can you please describe in more detail what you want to do and why you want the file to be stored in a different location so that we can suggest a satisfying workaround and/or add a helpful feature in JabRef (e.g. would a “move file” in the right-click dropdown menu satisfy your needs?)

Yes, sure.

The way I have my library laid out is similar to the topical grouping on arXiv. So I have a “Computer Science” subdir, and this dir has maybe 40 sub-dirs, organized by topic, and I store each paper in the appropriate location. I also have subdirs for non-arxiv topics that I like to separate out as well (e.g., cooking books, novels, etc.).

This is useful because I have this whole thing stored online, and if I’m on mobile, I may be accessing the files that way (that is, directly, rather than through JabRef, so grouping them by topic outside of the bibtex system is useful when locating things).

I also have JabRef groups, but I use manual groups to organize things by topic or a paper I’m working on or something like that, which may cross sub-dir boundaries.

So, when I download a file, I liked the previous method where JabRef would pop up the dialog box and confirm the file name, because I could then quickly input the path prefix where I want it stored. Now, I have to download it, navigate through my file system, move the file, then go back and change the file entry to point to the new location, which is a bit of a pain.

Perhaps this is not a great system that I have, and I’m open to suggestions, but that is how I do it.

Hope that makes sense.

Thanks for your explanation. I think, your file structure makes sense and probably other users have a similar workflow. So we should try to support this use case better. However, I’m inclined to not change the new default behavior and bring back the confirmation dialog - JabRef is asking to many questions all the time and we should try to find a more balanced approach that works 90% of the time but still make it possible to customize the behavior in the rest 10%.
So in your case, I could see two approaches:

  • We add a “move file” button in the right-click menu. So, the workflow is add file > saved in root of default folder -> right-click on new file and select “move” > choose new folder. It is essentially what you do right now but without leaving JabRef.
  • You can utilize the new move & rename according to directory pattern feature. You add a field to the entry (say topic) that determines the directory (e.g. an entry with topic = novels should be placed in the novels directory). Then you set the directory pattern to [topic] and add topic to the general fields. After this initial set-up the workflow looks like: add file > fill-out topic field > cleanup automatically moves the file to the right folder.

If you prefer the first solution, I would like to ask you to create a new issue on github so that we keep track of it (in the forum it gets easily lost).

Happy holidays!

1 Like

Thanks, Tobias. The 2nd option listed is working well so far, and has the added benefit of providing meta-data that isn’t strictly tied to the file-system-on-disk.

Thanks for your help, and happy holidays!

1 Like

I’m happy that you are happy :smile: