Change the way your PDF files are automatically named

Papers automatically renames your files once you import them into the program. In this tutorial, we are going to cover how you can control how your files are named.

When you download a PDF from a repository, often the file name is quite non-descriptive (e.g. article1219021.pdf). We recognize the value of properly named files, so Papers automatically converts all your file names according to some standard parameters:

(Please note that this only applies if your library is stored locally. If you have syncing enabled or your library is stored on a cloud service like Dropbox, please see this KB.

Editing your file name preferences

The way your files are named can be changed in Papers - > Preferences.

Papers 3 preferences

The settings for your file names are under the "Library" tab:

Papers allows you to rename your PDF files

You can completely personalize how you would like Papers to rename your files once they are imported. The way in which you choose your documents to be renamed might strongly depend on not only your personal preferences, but how you are using your library as well. For example, you may want each file name to start with the author's name if you work in research and spend quite a bit of time citing other papers. On the other hand, perhaps starting each file name with a category term or source will help you organize your files if your library is build around different business projects.

Deleting and adding file name components

Preferences shows the way in which your files are being renamed at this point. If you want to change this, you can delete or add any or all of the file name parameters you see in preferences. By selecting one of the parameters currently listed you can delete them with the delete key on your keyboard.

You can select more than one by holding the shift key at the same time:

After deleting the parameters you do not want, you can also add additional parameters you do want.

Click on the "Add" button to pull up a menu of choices.

For example, we can select to add the title to each of our file names:

If you do not like the order your parameters are in, you can just select one and drag and drop it to where you want it to be. For example, we can switch around the order of the author and title parameters:

Once you hit "Apply" at the bottom of the screen, your changes will take effect and the names for your documents are changed according to your newly set parameters!

If you do not want Papers to rename your files:

If it is important to you that Papers does not rename your files, you can just tell the program not to. Perhaps you are saving files you created yourself with a specific naming style you would like to keep intact.
To keep Papers from renaming any files, just uncheck the box next to "Rename files in library folder as".