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Citation Managers: Zotero and Mendeley

Mendeley is free reference management software with desktop and online components.


♦ Create a free Mendeley account.  

 Download Mendeley to your computer to store, edit, and view PDFs on your computer, and automatically organize the citations and pdfs you import.

♦ Install Mendeley Web Importer on your browser to import citations and documents from our catalogue, databases, or websites.

♦ Install Mendeley plugin for MS Word or MS LibreOffice so you can insert citations and bibliographies into your documents.

Optional: Download the Mendeley app for iOS or Android to use Mendeley on your mobile device.

Organize your Library

Your Mendeley desktop library is divided into three panes:

♦ The left pane is "My Library"

  • Where you can drag and drop references and PDFs into folders to organize and manage the documents in your library.
  • Use Folders > Create a New Folder to organize your citations. Drag references from your library's centre column on to the Folder to add them.
  • Use File > Add Files to add articles stored on your computer.
  • Use File > Add Entry Manually to manually input the details of a reference.

♦ The middle pane lists your references, which are sortable by author or title by clicking on the relevant header. Double-clicking on a reference with a PDF attachment opens the document in Mendeley's PDF viewer.

♦ The right pane contains all the details of the references in your library, including title, journal, year, abstract and more. These details are editable.

IMPORTANT: When using Mendeley Desktop, be sure to sync frequently to ensure everything in your Mendeley account is available everywhere you access Mendeley.


For instructions on importing citations into Mendeley from various databases, please go to the Import from Databases tab in this guide.

Mendeley Web Importer imports PDFs and references into your library. 

After installing the importer, use the Mendeley icon  in your browser's toolbar to import your citations. 

♦ Open a database record or PDF, select your browser's icon and you will see a pop-up (see image on left taken from our JSTOR database).

♦ Choose the folder destination and SaveMendeley saves the citation to your Mendeley web account. 

To view the article in your Mendeley Desktop library, return to Mendeley Desktop and select Sync located on the top toolbar.  You will see the file you just imported.

♦ The quality of the references you import depends on the publisher and catalogue you are using, so be sure to review your reference details.

Sometimes the Mendeley Importer will not recognize any reference details, so you must enter them manually.

♦ Sometimes the Mendeley Importer will not import the PDF. Then  save the PDF to your computer, open Mendeley Desktop, and attach the PDF to the correct document in your Library.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to sync your library frequently to ensure you have the most up-to-date information for your research.

Adding PDFs

1. Use the Add button to add PDFS to your Mendeley library.


2. Drag and drop PDFs into the middle column of your library.


The Mendeley Citation Plugin allows you to cite while you write in MS Word or LibreOffice.

♦ Position the cursor where you want to insert your first citation, and select the Insert Citation button on the toolbar.


♦ The Mendeley Citation Editor popup will appear, allowing you to search your Mendeley library and choose the appropriate reference. Use the Ctrl key and left-click to select multiple documents you want to cite.

♦ Your citations will be inserted according to the active Citation Style.  In some cases the citation may contain details about the cited source, while other publications may only use a footnote number. Please remember that your citation format is controlled by the citation style you currently have selected in your Library. Check with your professor on the style you need.

The Mendeley Citation Plugin also allows you to create a bibliography.

♦ Once you’ve inserted all your citations, you may use the Mendeley plugin to automatically create a bibliography of all the materials you’ve cited.

♦ Position the cursor where you want the bibliography to appear and select the Insert Bibliography button on the plugin toolbar. Mendeley will create a list of all the materials you’ve cited using your active citation style.

♦ Your bibliography will reorder itself every time you add another citation. Mendeley will also automatically renumber the items if you insert a new citation earlier in the document.

Mendeley Web has a Groups component which allows you to connect and collaborate with other Mendeley users. You are able to join and create groups. Please see guide to groups and guide to private groups.

When viewing your Mendeley Web Library, you'll find a Groups tab available in the left-hand menu. Select this to expand the list of your groups, and select the group you wish to viewWhen accessing Mendeley from your browser, you have two main ways of interacting with groups. You can use the Mendeley Web interface to view discussion, references and membership information, or you can use the Web Library to access, read and annotate your files.

You can view a list of all the groups you've joined or followed by visiting

When accessing a Group from the Web Library,

  • you can view the references that have been shared with that group.
  • You can modify a reference's details using the Edit button that appears in the document details panel when that reference is selected.
  • If a reference has an attached PDF file, you can open that PDF for reading within your browser.
  • You can also add annotations and highlighting that will be visible to other group members.
  • Please remember that full-text papers can only be shared with private groups.

For more information on Mendeley:

Mendeley Help Guides 

Mendeley Operating System and Browser Support

Mendeley Videos & Tutorials

Mendeley YouTube channel

Mendeley Support site

Peter Turkstra Library,  Redeemer University , 777 Garner Road East, Ancaster, ON, L9K 1J4, Canada
Circulation Desk Telephone: 905.648.2139 ext. 4266, Email: