Add support for offline mode

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.

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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.


Hi Stefan,

It’s nice to know that iOS/Android apps and Word plug-in are all on their way with offline mode by default. Cannot wait to try them. Thanks a lot! :smile:

While trying it I loved how Paperpile handles reference managing, data retrieval and citation, truly unbeatable - but no offline access puts me off the potential client list (even though I WANT to be one).

No editing/writing manuscripts while “off road” or on trains/planes? Your internet connection is down when you are approaching a deadline (yeah, we do write a LOT last minute)? With these risks I simply can’t be a client and I suspect a lot of other also can’t.


+1 for annotating pdfs in our libraries in offline mode.

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Since Paperpile pdfs are stored in Google Drive folders, it’s easy enough to designate some of them for offline reading and annotation. It does take two steps, I think: star them in Paperpile, then go to the folder “Paperpile -> Starred” in Google Drive and designate the ones you want for offline mode. If you set up Google Drive for offline syncing, it will keep your recent documents on the drive; otherwise you have to plan ahead to choose which ones you want to work on offline.

+1 bumping this.

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I only need the functionality to browse/search the library when offline + get bibtex records/citations (working with latex). But this would be quite crucial.

+1 I agree that this would be an excellent addition for the google docs add-on