Add support for offline mode



I think part of the problem here is also that different people have different ideas of what “offline” should look like:

  1. Offline searching for articles (by meta-data or full-text) - i.e. finding an article to read or cite. If you can sync the Drive folder containing your PDFs and use a desktop search engine then this can be worked around.
  2. Offline citing of articles in Google Docs (since Docs works offline)
  3. Offline management of your library (tagging, sorting, etc.)

Once the Word plugin is released, I guess that will be the next request - to insert citations into a Word doc offline.

Personally I think if the library were available offline in a limited way and usable for inserting citations that would be wonderful; I can deal with the PDFs another way. Having said that, in an ideal world I would then simply point Paperpile offline to my locally sync’d folder to open the PDF in my OS.


+1 from me on offline mode. This app is still so much better than every single other reference manager - believe me I have tried them all.

I wonder if someone can clue me in as to what part of your workflow is done on a cell phone? or is it tablets? I just don’t understand the whole android iOS preoccupation. I guess I have gotten old.


I think the most common use would be to download PDFs to the mobile device and being able to read them there.


From our research the major use case for mobile is reading and annotating PDFs on an iPad or Android tablet.


Another +1 for offline mode.


If I can’t work on an airplane (without internet access) then it’s of no use to me. Honestly. Looks great otherwise though… but I can’t imagine making it my default use-case unless I can write and cite and manage references offline.


As a paying user of Paperpile I’m disappointed that there is no plan for offline use of the Paperpile app. The PDFs aren’t enough because I would like search and synthesize my citations on the plane and other times when internet access is either not available or spotty.

I really hope that you all reverse course on this decision.


Whoever wants this feature, please ‘like’ the OP!


I’ve now heard from several colleagues that the lack of offline mode is the reason they did not switch to paperpile.


Do you know what your colleagues mean with offline mode? I honestly don’t know any complex web-app like Paperpile that has a offline mode (except some Google Apps). I guess what they want is a desktop app like Mendeley or EndNote?


By offline mode I simply meant an efficient means to search your database, generate citations and read the annotated papers. I doubt anybody cares how this is implemented.

I appreciate the difficulty, I I only mention this because this option has been dismissed as not so relevant. I wonder though whether your are looking at the wrong group of people, namely the ones that are already using PaperPile and are obviously happy enough. If you talked to potential users instead you may find different answers.


@Christoph_Ortner the way I worked around the limitation is to synchronize Paperpile Google Drive folder to the computer, and configure Mendeley to watch that folder. This way you have full functionality on the desktop - search, read, annotate, generate citations (sans ability to use Paperpile in Google Docs offline mode), you have a very capable app on your mobile platform (Paperpile mobile app is nowhere near the one from Mendeley), and when you are back online - you can use Paperpile just for Google Docs.

I think it will be hard for Paperpile to compete on the desktop and mobile fronts. It would be interesting if they just established some partnership with Mendeley, and focus just on refining the Google Docs features.


Very interesting - I will try this, thank you.

Combined with always synchronising a bibtex (or other) file to be kept in google docs I think this would completely solve this.

It does feel like a hack, but as you say if it could be an “official” hack, then that could be very convincing!


so I did try this, and it is certain better than nothing, but the main weakness is that I can’t read annotations created in PaperPile.


Yes, I agree, it’s a bummer. But you can do annotations in Mendeley too. They won’t show up in paperpile though. Too bad they are not interoperable.


this is really too bad, I’ve now used 4 different PDF annotation tools and none of compatible with one another. What’s the deal with that?

Anyhow, PAPERPILE: I love the idea of “officially” supporting the Mendeley (or other) desktop app. Would you be willing to consider this?


Two quick answers on that:

PDF annotations are an ISO standard since 2008. Paperpile honors this standard, if you annotate PDFs vie our beta annotator the annotations in the file in Google Drive can be read by any standards compliant program. Vice-versa, you can add annotations and they will be available in Paperpile. We will keep this with our new web-based PDF annotator and our mobile apps that will be released this year. If other programs ignore standard compliant annotations, there’s nothing we can do about.

I hope you understand that we cannot officially or unofficially support any third party software for many reasons. We have ideas for the Desktop and offline scenarios but Mendeley (or EndNote or Zotero, …) is not part of this plan.


Sure, and my comments were not in any way targeted at you. Thank you by the way for pointing this out, I wasn’t aware that there is a standard. As it turns out, Adobe does follow the standard, and I can read PaperPile annotations with Acrobat, but neither Apple nor Skim do. This is very frustrating for me but as you say it is not your problem.


Paperpile is down this morning (still now…). I am not able to access my database. I am not able to cite anything in my manuscript. I am not able to… Well, I am lucky enough to say something in the forum, but I am just disabled.

This is the main reason why I really need an offline version.


I’m sorry about this. We try hard and actually are proud of our uptime. Until today we had 5 minutes downtime in the past 6 months. That’s 99.9% uptime and with what we learnt from today we hope to get closer to 99.999%

We also making good progress on the iOS and Android apps and the Word plugin. All those new products will be offline by default.