How to automagically rename PDFs


The tools I use to organise my papers are:

  • Dropbox, so I can access the PDFs on all my devices
  • Goodreader, a great PDF reading/annotation app on iOS
  • Zotero, which organises PDFs

One-time Setup

These are the steps you need to follow just once on a PC, to set it up for renaming files. I’ve only done this on Windows, though it should work on Mac/Linux.

  1. Install Zotero

Renaming PDFs

  1. Put the PDFs you want to rename into one folder on your PC. I have a Dropbox folder called ‘Transfer’ that I use for this; any papers I grab, on any device, go straight in there.
    The steps below won’t delete any files from the Transfer folder, so if anything goes wrong, you can just remove files from Zotero and return to this step.
    I normally rename around 100 papers at a time. The first time you try this, I’d limit it to 20 files or so, to get the hang of the process.
  2. Start Zotero. This guide assumes you don’t use it for long-term storage, so you shouldn’t see any papers in it:
Wait, what? Do people put daisies in tea? Is that a thing?
Andrea Izzotti



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