Configuring Papers for Mac in Institutions
Papers for Mac 3.4.4 (currently in beta) introduces some new options for configuring Papers for Mac, which may be helpful in managed environments, such as labs, libraries or workplaces.
These options are set using the OS X user defaults system. You
should be familiar with the
defaults command line tool, or a tool such as
Manager for configuring your devices. You should also configure
your devices in such a way that your users cannot change these
The Papers 3 for Mac defaults domain is
Your institution may have polices defining where users can store
their data safely. For instance, they may be limited to storing
their files on a network drive, or other removable volume. You can
specify a list of locations where Papers users are allowed to place
their libraries. The
accepts an array of full paths to locations on the filesystem where
users can place their libraries. For example, to only allow Papers
libraries to be placed in the folders
/Users/Student/Home/, you would use the following
defaults write com.mekentosj.papers3 allowed_library_paths -array "/Volumes/Work/" "/Users/Student/Home/"
Paths must be absolute, but can be made relative to the user's
home directory with
~. Papers will also allow users to
create libraries in subfolders of the specified paths.
If this default is present when a new library is being created, Papers for Mac will only suggest these folders for Papers Libraries. If a user tries to manually create a new Papers library outside of these locations, they'll see an error similar to this:
Papers for Mac maintains two copies of the user's library. The user-visible "shared" library in a folder of the user's choosing, and a second "local" library found in the user's Application Support folder. The local library is always up to date with the user's changes, whereas the shared library is only updated periodically. If your user's Application Support folders are not persisted between launches, your users may find that recent changes to their library aren't present when they log back in again (as the shared library was erased before the local library could be updated with its changes).
This is also useful if your users store their Papers libraries on removable volumes shared between multiple computers, and the Application Support folder is not maintained per user.
You can force the local copy of the user's Papers library to
always be up to date by setting the
defaults write com.mekentosj.papers3 force_sync -bool TRUE
If this property is set, users will not be able to disable syncing in Papers for Mac's preferences:
When a user is presented with an error message due to one of
these institutional configuration options, it can be helpful to
allow a user to get in touch with an administrator at your
institution for assistance. By setting the default
administrator_contact_url to a valid URL, a "Contact
Administrator" button will be added to any error messages created
by these policies. For example:
- You could use a link to a support page explaining the policies:
defaults write com.mekentosj.papers3 administrator_contact_url "https://support.institution.example/help/papers3"
- You could use a link to an email address to allow a user to
contact you directly (note the
mailto:at the start of the URL. This is required.):
defaults write com.mekentosj.papers3 administrator_contact_url "mailto:email@example.com"
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