Link to PDF from citation in Docs?

Hi team!

Is it possible to get fast access to the PDF from the citations inserted in the Doc, please? Right now, it takes 5 steps:

  1. Click on the citation “(Whoever, 2012)”
  2. Click “Edit”
  3. Click on the citation’s tag in the new floating window, labelled “Click for details”
  4. Click “Open in Paperpile”
  5. Click “View PDF”

Do you also find it a bit long, when reading the Doc later on and wanting to check the paper that is referred?

Thanks for any hint how to achieve a faster link!


Something like this would be convenient. An option under the P button for “see PDF’s in this document” would even be nice (direct link to pdf). I could see it getting annoying if all the citations turned into hyperlinks, though.

1 Like

Actually, citations into hyperlink would not be so bad: citations in latex-made PDF are already hyperlinks (all articles on arxiv), and so are links within Google Docs. That would be keeping in line with the design of Docs.

As long as I could turn the hyperlink off, no problem. Issue is, as always, journal formatting requirements. Not all of them appreciate hyperlinks (if I export Google Doc to pdf, or .docx)

I again got bitten by this today: my boss is pushing against me using Paperpile because of this issue. @stefan, any chance of it happening, or is it too low on the ever-growing feature requests lists?
Thanks for any info :smile:

Sorry I’ve never actually answered this thread. Typically I try to answer right away. If not it’s a sign that it’s complicated. And everything that happens in the Google Docs integration is complicated for so many reasons…

What exactly is the use case? You have written a document in Google Docs and your boss reads the document and wants the PDF from your library? Or does your boss writes a document himself and wants the link?

Or let’s forget your boss for a minute, what was your use case when you first submitted the request? It appears it was about getting a faster link to the PDF from your library, right? That means for you as a Paperpile user who has the access to the library and the extension installed.

I’m happy to comment further once I understand better what the goal is.

Thanks a lot for answering. You are right, those are two use cases, which are equally relevant to my case:

  • when I, the person having the extension installed, read a document that I wrote (e.g. a bibliography review on a topic), being able to open the PDF of the cited articles in the minimum number of clicks would be very handy.

  • when someone else, say a collaborator who does not have the extension, not being a Paperpile user, reads said document (same example of a bibliography review), again the small number of clicks would be really great.

I’m happy to clarify and experiment with anything that could help.

Until recently, when clicking on a citation, the popup would have a link to paperpile (or the PDF?), ‘edit’, and ‘remove’. The link was particularly useful in cutting down the number of clicks. But now, it’s “Paperpile citation - edit”, which is far less useful. Strangely, if I start a new document and insert a citation, I can click on it and see a brief flash of the link version, which then changes to “Paperpile citation - edit”. I tried to get a screenshot, but it was too fast. Any ideas what’s going on?

When the Paperpile extension is installed these “Edit” links are shown. The main purpose is to edit the in-text citation (i.e. adding and removing references to this particular citation). It’s the only way to do that when you don’t have the sidebar add-on open.

If you are using the sidebar add-on you can disable this behaviour provided by the Chrome extension in Settings > Browser Integration by turning off Google Docs integration.

Thanks, that explains it. I don’t use the sidebar add-on because it takes up too much space when I split screen, so I suppose it’s not worth disabling the integration for one fewer click. But I agree with jucor that 5 clicks is a lot to reach the PDF from google docs.

For me, the ability to automatically insert PDF links into References in documents would be extremely valuable.

I work in a large organization in which Google docs are widely shared and commented upon. Most of my colleagues do not have Paperpile installed. Worse, we often buy individual papers from journal rather than subscribing, so the reference alone does not suffice for getting a copy of the paper.

I can insert my own links to document-specific shared folders in my documents, but this is much less convenient than something that is automatically kept in sync.

Can we reopen this as a feature request?

The use case is: While doing research, one is not perfectly knowledgeable of all the citation content, so it comes handy to be able to revisit the quickly from text. This 5 step process is way too long.

Any feedback from the PP staff?


If you’re using Google Drive syncing, then you can copy the PDF file in Google drive and paste a link to it in a document. This link will open the PDF in two clicks. The PDF opens in Google drive rather than paperpile, but it retains its annotations. I also had to modify the Google drive filename configuration to make it easier to search for the PDF file on Google Drive using this “[Firstauthor]-[Lastauthor][Titleshort][Journal]_[year]”.