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Mendeley Basics

A guide to the basic uses of the Mendeley citation manager.

About Mendeley

NEW:  Mendeley has released new versions of its Desktop & web products. The new versions are not back compatible, so any papers that you start on the old version of Mendeley should be completed using it (or you can re-enter your citations in the new version). This research guide will be updated over the summer.

PLEASE NOTE:  Do not sign in to Mendeley as an institutional account.  We do not have that option currently, and you will lose access to your account after you log out.  If this happens to you, please let us know and we can help or contact Mendeley Support.  We recommend using Twitter for fastest service.

Mendeley is a citation management tool that, like many others, lets you collect & organize citations, & then easily insert them into documents & format bibliographies.  But it also lets you drag & drop PDFs into your library & extracts the metadata to create a library!

You can highlight and annotate your PDFs and share them with others.  Colleagues can then also annotate the same document, with each author displaying as a different color.

Use more than one computer?  It's not a problem!  Download Mendeley Desktop to as many computers as you want, then sync them with a click of your mouse.  Need to use your library away from your computer?  Mendeley Web gives you access to your citations no matter where you are.

Mendeley is social:  create a profile, follow other researchers, create a network of people doing similar research.  Discover the articles and journals that are being read in your field right now.

Create collections of papers.  Make them public & share them with other people.

Mendeley's free version has some limitations on space (2 GB web storage, 500 MB each for personal shared storage) and users (3) and shared collections (1), but you can purchase premium plans for more web & personal storage space & more users & shared groups.

If you need more help with Mendeley

Changing from EndNote to Mendeley?

You can export an entire EndNote library, along with any attached PDFs, using these simple steps.

  1. In EndNote, select the references that you want to import into Mendeley Desktop, and from the File menu, select Export....
  2. In the new window that opens (Export file name), at Files of type, use the dropdown menu to select XML (*.xml).
  3. Rename the file (if you wish) & click the Save button.
  4. Open Mendeley Desktop.  From the File menu, select Add Files.
  5. Browse to find the export file (by default, EndNote will save it in My Documents) & click Open.  Your references & PDFs are imported.

Tips for Using Mendeley

  • All PDFs must be kept in a folder on each device that you use with Mendeley for the program to work properly.  When you download the desktop version of Mendeley, a folder is automatically created. The Downloads folder is in your Mendeley data folder.  Find it here: PCs -  C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Mendeley Ltd\Mendeley Desktop\Downloaded; Macs - Cmd+Shift+D; click Open Data Directory to access the folder. Note:  If you work on more than one computer, these folders will not contain the same files; each device will have the PDFs that were added from that computer.
  • Want your PDFs stored elsewhere?  Create a new folder in the new location (for example, your desktop).  For PCs: in Mendeley Desktop, from the Tools menu, select Options, then File Organizer.  Browse to find the new folder, click Apply, then OK.  For Macs, use Preferences.
  • Use the desktop version of Mendeley to insert citations & create bibliographies in documents.
  • When creating a bibliography in your document, first place your cursor where you want the bibliography to go (in most cases, at the end of the document), then click the icon.  If you forget, your bibliography will appear wherever your cursor was last.
  • Working on a paper with a colleague & need to combine the sections & bibliographies?  Just select everything except the bibliography in one document, paste it into the original document, then click Refresh on the Mendeley toolbar.
  • Need to export PDFs with annotations? You can.  Just highlight the entries you want to export, right click (or choose the File menu) & choose Export PDF(s) with annotations.

Mendeley Handouts

Use Mendeley Quick Start to learn the program fast.  Use Mendeley Basics to find more details and functions.

Install Mendeley

Mendeley is available for the Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.

Sign up and download Mendeley Desktop here:

Use LaTeX?

Here are some helpful links to use Mendeley with LaTeX.  Note:  It's not perfect yet.

Mendeley also works with WriteLaTex.  Read this blog post to find out more.