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Managing your references: Mendeley

Introduction

Mendeley is a freely available reference manager that is both desktop and web-based. It can be used on Windows, Mac and Linux computers.

This page guides you through the two versions of Mendeley that are available including their key features, system requirements, installation and further support with Mendeley.

Using Mendeley

Mendeley has a range of features to help you collect, organise and cite your references.

  • Add references to your Mendeley library by using the Mendeley Web Importer browser plugin, importing text files, dragging and dropping PDF files, searching the Mendeley Web Catalog, or manually entering bibliographic details.
  • Organise your library using collections and tags.
  • Share your references with colleagues.
  • Cite your references using a plugin in Microsoft Word.

Mendeley is a desktop-based reference manager but has an online element with 2 gigabytes of free storage. This online element syncs with your desktop library, making your library of references accessible from any computer with an internet connection. It also facilitates syncing of your desktop library across multiple computers.

There are two versions of Mendeley running concurrently: Mendeley Reference Manager and Mendeley Desktop. Both versions are desktop-based, though references can be accessed via a web browser as well.

Mendeley Reference Manager is the new reference management software launched in 2019 to replace the original software, Mendeley Desktop, which has not yet been retired. 

Mendeley Desktop is only being updated when major bugs are identified that prevent it from working. You may like to think about whether you would like to use this version when there is a risk it will be retired. For instance, for a short-term project you may decide it is acceptable to use Mendeley Desktop but that is riskier for a long-term project.

Moving from Mendeley Desktop to Mendeley Reference Manager

If you already use Mendeley Desktop and would like to start using Mendeley Reference Manager, the process is simple.

In order to use Mendeley Desktop, you will have created an online account with Elsevier (the supplier) which your desktop library syncs with and will be populated with your references.

To use Mendeley Reference Manager, install the software (see the 'Install' section of this page) and sign in with your existing Elsevier email address and password. Mendeley Reference Manager will sync with your online account and pull your references through to the desktop interface.

Word processor plugins

There are two word processor plugins running concurrently. These plugins allow you to insert references from your Mendeley library into a word-processed document.

Mendeley Cite is the most recent plugin and compatible with Microsoft Word.

The previous Word plugin (Citation Plugin) is still available and compatible with Microsoft Word and LibreOffice.

The two word processor plugins are compatible, so any citations you have inserted into a document using the old word processor plugin can be converted and citations inserted into the same document using the new word processor plugin.

Mendeley Reference Manager and Mendeley Desktop are both desktop-based and can be used on Windows, Mac and Linux computers. To understand the difference between the two, look at the 'Version' section of this page.

To cite the references in your Mendeley library, you need to use a word processor plugin. The newer plugin, Mendeley Cite, is compatible with Microsoft Word. The original plugin (Citation Plugin) is compatible with Microsoft Word and LibreOffice.

For detailed system requirements of Mendeley Desktop, Mendeley Reference Manager and the two available word processor plugins, visit the web page below:

Mendeley Reference Manager

Mendeley Reference Manager is the newer of the two software solutions and is intended to replace Mendeley Desktop. It facilitates the collection, storage and management of your references in a library. Visit the link below to install Mendeley Reference Manager on your computer:

Online account

You will also need to register and create an Elsevier account. This enables you to store your references online and sync them with your desktop library:

Storage

Mendeley comes with up to 2 gigabytes of free cloud storage. You should find that is enough to store your references. You can pay to increase your storage if necessary. To explore this, visit the web page below:

Mendeley Cite

Mendeley Cite is the newest of the two word processor plugins and compatible with Microsoft Word. It enables you to cite references from your Mendeley library into your Word document. Instructions can be found on the Mendeley website:

Mendeley Desktop

Mendeley Desktop is the original reference management software and, as the name suggests, is desktop-based, but you can also access your library of references online. Mendeley Reference Manager was launched in 2019 with the intention it will replace Mendeley Desktop, which will be retired. Mendeley Desktop is still available, however.

Mendeley Desktop is only being updated when major bugs are identified that prevent it from working. You may like to think about whether you would like to use this version when there is a risk it will be retired. For instance, for a short-term project you may decide it is acceptable to use Mendeley Desktop but that is riskier for a long-term project.

If you would like to use Mendeley Desktop, visit the web page below. Note, you will also need to set up an online Elsevier account, as detailed above under 'Online account'.

Citation Plugin

Citation Plugin is the original word processor plugin, which enables you to insert references from your Mendeley library into a word-processed document. It is compatible with Microsoft Word and LibreOffice.

Instructions for installing the Citation Plugin can be found on the Mendeley website:

There are a variety of ways to add references to your Mendeley library:

  • Manual entry
  • Mendeley Web Importer browser plugin
  • Drag and drop PDF files
  • Import text files
  • Search the Mendeley Web Catalog

Take a look at the links below for instructions on how to add references to your Mendeley library:

Need help with Mendeley?

Contact us

For help with Mendeley please email reference-management@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Further help

Below are links to further help from Mendeley.