Move your library to a different location or new Mac


By default your Papers2 library folder –which contains the metadata database, thumbnails and PDF files– is located in the application support folder in your home directory. For various reasons you might want to move your library to a different location, for example to an external drive, different partition or dropbox folder **.

This is how you can move your library to a different location:

  • make sure that Papers2 is not running. Also turn off Citations in the Papers2 preferences if necessary.

  • next locate your Papers2 library folder.


By default your Papers library is located next to your Papers1 library (if you migrated from Papers1), or in /Users/[your_user_name]/Library/Application Support/Papers2 (if you started using P2 from scratch).

Note for Lion & Mountain Lion users: On OS 10.7 Lion or above, to access your Library folder, you need to use the Go menu in the Finder and press the option key; this will add a 'Library' item to the list, and will give you access to the hidden folder.

  • move your Papers2 folder in the Finder to the new location where you'd like to have it.

  • start Papers2, it will complain it can no longer find its library:


  • show Papers2 where you moved the library to by clicking the Show Location button:


  • select the Library.papers2 folder and Papers2 should now load this library and remember the new location. Turn on Citations again if you turned it off in the first step.

This is how you can move your library to a new Mac

Moving your library to a new Mac works in a very similar way.

The best way to move your Papers2 Library to a new Mac is to copy the entire Papers folder (the one with the Library.papers file and the PDFs) to your new Mac and then point Papers to this copied folder by going to the library tab in the Papers preferences as shown below.

See this articles on how to deal with activating your copy of Papers2 on your new Mac.

Follow the same steps in case you want to restore your Papers2 library from a backup (e.g. Time Machine)*

This is how you can switch between different libraries:

  • go to the Papers2 preferences and select the Library tab:


  • select Change and point Papers to the location of the Library.papers2 file you wish to change to:


  • next select Apply and confirm the new settings:


  • Papers2 will automatically restart and load the appointed library.

**) Note that we only officially support storing your library on your local hard disk, moving your library to an external, network or dropbox volume might result in degraded performance or reliability. If you decide to move your library to such locations you do this at your own risk.

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