Paperless provides a wide range of customizations. Depending on how you run paperless, these settings have to be defined in different places.

  • If you run paperless on docker, paperless.conf is not used. Rather, configure paperless by copying necessary options to docker-compose.env.

  • If you are running paperless on anything else, paperless will search for the configuration file in these locations and use the first one it finds:


Required services


This is required for processing scheduled tasks such as email fetching, index optimization and for training the automatic document matcher.

Defaults to redis://localhost:6379.

By default, sqlite is used as the database backend. This can be changed here. Set PAPERLESS_DBHOST and PostgreSQL will be used instead of mysql.

Adjust port if necessary.

Default is 5432.


Database name in PostgreSQL.

Defaults to “paperless”.


Database user in PostgreSQL.

Defaults to “paperless”.


Database password for PostgreSQL.

Defaults to “paperless”.

Paths and folders


This where your documents should go to be consumed. Make sure that it exists and that the user running the paperless service can read/write its contents before you start Paperless.

Don’t change this when using docker, as it only changes the path within the container. Change the local consumption directory in the docker-compose.yml file instead.

Defaults to “../consume”, relative to the “src” directory.


This is where paperless stores all its data (search index, SQLite database, classification model, etc).

Defaults to “../data”, relative to the “src” directory.


This is where your documents and thumbnails are stored.

You can set this and PAPERLESS_DATA_DIR to the same folder to have paperless store all its data within the same volume.

Defaults to “../media”, relative to the “src” directory.


Override the default STATIC_ROOT here. This is where all static files created using “collectstatic” manager command are stored.

Unless you’re doing something fancy, there is no need to override this.

Defaults to “../static”, relative to the “src” directory.


Changes the filenames paperless uses to store documents in the media directory. See File name handling for details.

Default is none, which disables this feature.

Hosting & Security


Paperless uses this to make session tokens. If you expose paperless on the internet, you need to change this, since the default secret is well known.

Use any sequence of characters. The more, the better. You don’t need to remember this. Just face-roll your keyboard.

Default is listed in the file src/paperless/


If you’re planning on putting Paperless on the open internet, then you really should set this value to the domain name you’re using. Failing to do so leaves you open to HTTP host header attacks:

Just remember that this is a comma-separated list, so “” is fine, as is “,”, but NOT ”” or “,”

Defaults to “*”, which is all hosts.


You need to add your servers to the list of allowed hosts that can do CORS calls. Set this to your public domain name.

Defaults to “http://localhost:8000”.


To host paperless under a subpath url like you set this value to /paperless. No trailing slash!


I don’t know if this works in paperless-ng. Probably not.

Defaults to none, which hosts paperless at “/”.


Override the STATIC_URL here. Unless you’re hosting Paperless off a subdomain like /paperless/, you probably don’t need to change this.

Defaults to “/static/”.


Specify a username here so that paperless will automatically perform login with the selected user.


Do not use this when exposing paperless on the internet. There are no checks in place that would prevent you from doing this.

Defaults to none, which disables this feature.

Software tweaks

Paperless does multiple things in the background: Maintain the search index, maintain the automatic matching algorithm, check emails, consume documents, etc. This variable specifies how many things it will do in parallel.

Furthermore, paperless uses multiple threads when consuming documents to speed up OCR. This variable specifies how many pages paperless will process in parallel on a single document.


Ensure that the product


does not exceed your CPU core count or else paperless will be extremely slow. If you want paperless to process many documents in parallel, choose a high worker count. If you want paperless to process very large documents faster, use a higher thread per worker count.

The default is a balance between the two, according to your CPU core count, with a slight favor towards threads per worker, and using as much cores as possible.

If you only specify PAPERLESS_TASK_WORKERS, paperless will adjust PAPERLESS_THREADS_PER_WORKER automatically.


Set the time zone here. See for details on how to set it.

Defaults to UTC.


Tells paperless to use only the specified amount of pages for OCR. Documents with less than the specified amount of pages get OCR’ed completely.

Specifying 1 here will only use the first page.

Defaults to 0, which disables this feature and always uses all pages.


Customize the default language that tesseract will attempt to use when parsing documents. The default language is used whenever

  • No language could be detected on a document
  • No tesseract data files are available for the detected language

It should be a 3-letter language code consistent with ISO 639:

Set this to the language most of your documents are written in.

Defaults to “eng”.


By default Paperless does not OCR a document if the text can be retrieved from the document directly. Set to true to always OCR documents.

Defaults to false.


If paperless won’t find documents added to your consume folder, it might not be able to automatically detect filesystem changes. In that case, specify a polling interval in seconds here, which will then cause paperless to periodically check your consumption directory for changes.

Defaults to 0, which disables polling and uses filesystem notifications.


When the consumer detects a duplicate document, it will not touch the original document. This default behavior can be changed here.

Defaults to false.


On smaller systems, or even in the case of Very Large Documents, the consumer may explode, complaining about how it’s “unable to extend pixel cache”. In such cases, try setting this to a reasonably low value, like 32. The default is to use whatever is necessary to do everything without writing to disk, and units are in megabytes.

For more information on how to use this value, you should search the web for “MAGICK_MEMORY_LIMIT”.

Defaults to 0, which disables the limit.


Similar to the memory limit, if you’ve got a small system and your OS mounts /tmp as tmpfs, you should set this to a path that’s on a physical disk, like /home/your_user/tmp or something. ImageMagick will use this as scratch space when crunching through very large documents.

For more information on how to use this value, you should search the web for “MAGICK_TMPDIR”.

Default is none, which disables the temporary directory.


This setting has a high impact on the physical size of tmp page files, the speed of document conversion, and can affect the accuracy of OCR results. Individual results can vary and this setting should be tested thoroughly against the documents you are importing to see if it has any impacts either negative or positive. Testing on limited document sets has shown a setting of 200 can cut the size of tmp files by 1/3, and speed up conversion by up to 4x with little impact to OCR accuracy.

Default is 300.


Use optipng to optimize thumbnails. This usually reduces the size of thumbnails by about 20%, but uses considerable compute time during consumption.

Defaults to true.


After a document is consumed, Paperless can trigger an arbitrary script if you like. This script will be passed a number of arguments for you to work with. For more information, take a look at Post-consumption script.

The default is blank, which means nothing will be executed.


Paperless will check the document text for document date information. Use this setting to enable checking the document filename for date information. The date order can be set to any option as specified in The filename will be checked first, and if nothing is found, the document text will be checked as normal.

Defaults to none, which disables this feature.


Transforms filenames before they are processed by paperless. See Transforming filenames for parsing for details.

Defaults to none, which disables this feature.


There are a few external software packages that Paperless expects to find on your system when it starts up. Unless you’ve done something creative with their installation, you probably won’t need to edit any of these. However, if you’ve installed these programs somewhere where simply typing the name of the program doesn’t automatically execute it (ie. the program isn’t in your $PATH), then you’ll need to specify the literal path for that program.

Defaults to “/usr/bin/convert”.
Defaults to “/usr/bin/gs”.
Defaults to “/usr/bin/unpaper”.
Defaults to “/usr/bin/optipng”.