Backing up your Papers 3 for Mac library

Why and how it is good to back up your Papers 3 library

File corruptions can happen to anyone, at any point in time. This can also cause Papers to crash, and prevents you from accessing the rest of your library. At times, hard drives can fail as well, and you could lose all your data. Having a backup of your files will make a situation like this quite a bit less stressful.

Once a file corruption causes a fatal crash, the only way to access your Papers library again and restore the functionality of the program is by restoring the library files to an earlier version you backed up. If you do not back up frequently, you stand the chance of losing a significant amount of work if you are forced to restore to your most recent working version of your library if it was created several weeks or months before the crash. To avoid this, and to make it easier to restore your library if needed, we suggest backing up with one of the following methods.

1 Backing up with Time Machine

Apple Time Machine is probably the easiest way of backing up your Papers library, and takes the smallest amount of effort. Set up your Time Machine to back up all your data hourly, to an external hard drive, and if ever run into a file corruption problem you have a few very recent versions of your Papers library.

To set up Time Machine, access System Preferences -> System -> Time Machine. Turn on Time Machine, select your backup disk, and set your options.
If you ever need to restore just your Papers library, you can locate the Papers library folder from your Time Machine backup, and replace your corrupted library folder with a previous version.

2 Backing up on a hard drive

Please make sure to quit Papers before backing up your Papers files. If you are not using Time Machine, and do not wish to, you could back up your Papers Library on an external hard drive by copying the Papers Library folder and the shared library to your external drive.
Your shared Papers 3 Library is stored in ~/Documents/Papers3 whilst your Papers Library folder containing the database is typically located in the Application support folder which you can find pressing Cmd+Shift+G and typing this:

~/Library/Application Support/Papers3

You should also back up the Preference File. Press Cmd+Shift+G, type this:


and look for a file called com.mekentosj.papers3.plist

Keep in mind that the backup method we recommend is using Time Machine as it will keep regular backups.

Important notes about backing up

In short, with regards to your Papers library, the best backup method is to make incremental backups. That is, either use Time Machine which will do this automatically (and you just plug in your external drive once a day, or at least once a week), or make frequent backups of your Papers library to an external hard drive. Here you have to be careful not to simply overwrite your older file with the newer backup, but rather rename your library folder to contain a date, and back up a new (unique) version each time. Over time, you can remove the older backups as long as you have a reasonable number of more recent versions of your library to fall back on if necessary. Of course Time Machine will do this for your automatically.

Backing up your data is important for your entire system, and we expect our users to take responsibility for saving their data. Time Machine will not only protect your Papers Library, but also all your other data and is our recommended method of backing up.