Troubleshooting: PDF downloads

Note: A new version of Paperpile is coming in summer 2024. Please visit our temporary new Help Center until these pages are updated.

Paperpile supports automatically downloading PDFs from an extensive number of journal and publisher websites. However, some smaller may not yet be supported, and full-text paywalls may be encountered at subscription-based journal websites. Here are some tips on troubleshooting PDF downloads.

If Paperpile fails to download a PDF, you will see one of the following messages in the main item display:

  • PDF not found

    This message is shown when Paperpile attempted to auto-download a PDF file but failed to locate the PDF. Paperpile may not yet support automatic PDF downloads from this journal or publisher, or there may be an error in the way Paperpile locates PDFs for this journal. Click Report in the pop-up panel to notify Paperpile Support.

  • PDF restricted

    If you think the paywall message is in error, try visiting the journal's website using the blue link. If you can access the full-text PDF without trouble, use the Report link in the pop-up panel (example) to notify Paperpile Support.

    This message is shown when Paperpile detects that a paywall has been encountered while attempting to automatically download a PDF. This may happen while you are using Paperpile off-campus or if your institute does not subscribe to the given journal.

  • No PDF links found

    This message is shown when Paperpile could not find a supported PDF link within the set of links contained in the paper. Check to ensure that a link to the publisher's website exists (this can be done by opening the Edit window for the given paper). If no such publisher's link exists, try running Auto-Update to automatically fetch more complete metadata from online.

    If a link to the publisher's website does exist, then Paperpile may not yet support PDF downloads for the given publisher. Click Report to contact Paperpile Support — we are always working to improve our PDF download coverage, and sending a report will signal to us that users would benefit from expanding coverage to this publisher.

  • Proxy connection failed

    This message is shown when you have configured Library proxy access  for remote access but Paperpile could not connect to the server. The most common reason is you are not logged in to your institution's or library's proxy. Follow the link to log in and retry.

Other options for adding PDFs

If the automatic PDF download fails, Paperpile provides several options for adding a PDF to an item in your library. Click the "Add PDF" menu to see the options:

  • Browse Manually: This option will open a new tab at the paper's main website. If you can manually identify the fulltext PDF in this website, right-click on the PDF link and choose Paperpile > Attach File to... to attach the PDF to this paper.
  • Search Google: This option will open a new tab with a PDF-specific Google search for the current article title. Often, authors will post a reprint of an article on their institutional website. If you find a suitable PDF in the search results, click Select PDF to download and attach the PDF to your library item.
  • Choose a File...: This option will open a file upload dialog, allowing you to chose a PDF file from your computer to attach to the current item in your library.

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