Folders - suggested improvements

I use folders very heavily and have a nested hierarchy of over 500 folders. The Paperpile implementation of folders somewhat easier to use than Zotero’s, which I used for many years; but there are still some important gaps.

The most important is the inability to locate a particular folder in the hierarchy. It would be great if there was a search function for folders in the left-hand column, as there is for tags. Lacking that, I’ve figured out a klutzy workaround: I select an item and press the “F”[older] key. After about 8 seconds the entire hierarchy drops down from the top. There’s a search function there, but it hides all but the folder you’re searching for, so you still can’t locate it in the hierarchy. What I do instead is to use the Chrome search function, which does find things in the folder dropdown without hiding the rest of the hierarchy. (This method has the added advantage of making it relatively easy to add an item to multiple folders: you can do several Chrome searches without closing the dropdown.)

Another use case is when I select an item already in a folder – I can see what folders it’s in, but again I can’t locate the folders in the overall hierarchy, which is sometimes important. I notice that if the left-hand folder hierarchy is expanded, the item’s folders will be highlighted (gray). But as far as I can see there’s no way to expand and contract that hierarchy without clicking on every node. A relatively simple solution (I think) would be a keystroke that expands / collapses the left-hand folder hierarchy.

The long delay in expanding the dropdown hierarchy is also a hindrance. It’s great to be able to add an item to a folder by typing (part of) the folder name, but when it takes so long each time it gets frustrating. I don’t know if that could be speeded up.

Overall, though, I really like the Paperpile experience – thanks.


Thanks for this workaround! This is helpful.

I agree that search and expansion of the folder structure is a greatly desired function.

Thank you for the workaround- one of my very few frustrations with PaperPile is trying to find where within the hierarchy a certain folder is. This helps.

Another possible solution is when filtering on a folder also display its parent folders as bread crumbs: Projects > DLBCL > disparities etc

Yes, breadcrumbs would be a great solution -

Another folder and label improvement would be the addition of an arrow to the left of Folders and Labels that can then collapse ALL of them to one line. I have a lot of root folder, if I want to work with labels, I would like to collapse all folders out of the way. Similarly, when I am bouncing back and forth between folders and shared folders, it would be great of all labels are collapsed to one lines instead of a handful of them shown.

PS Really helpful workaround above " I’ve figured out a klutzy workaround: I select an item and press the “F”[older] key. then use the Chrome search function, which does find things in the folder dropdown without hiding the rest of the hierarchy." I am using it all the time and saves me from a previously big frustration.

Any comments on why we can’t have an arrow to the left of ‘Folders’ so we can collapse all of them in one click for easier access to labels. It seems like a relatively small change to implement, and not sure what the downside could be?


Thanks for the discussion. It’s always good to hear about the pain-points we were not aware of. We follow closely and keep track of it. With a few major big projects like iOS, Android, and the Word plugin for Windows and macOS getting closer to public release we should have more time to revisit and tweak the web app again.

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Very glad to hear this is on the horizon. The folder search, even with the kludge, is the only significant daily pain point in this terrific program - especially when i use a lower-power travel computer, where the F command takes about 15 seconds to show results. Collapse / expand all for the left column would be a quick and simple fix.

I’m struck by how fast the Android version is in showing the folder hierarchy! - my Surface Pro (windows) takes over 10 seconds, but on Android it’s almost instantaneous. Sometimes I keep the Android app open so just for putting new items into folders.

I would also appreciate if we could have two or three columns for the folders so that we do not have to keep scrolling to drag a paper into a certain folder.