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Citation Management and Generation

Looking to corral your references all in one place, then this guide is for you!


Mendeley Basics

What is Mendeley?

Mendeley is a free web and desktop based citation manager. Premium paid accounts are available that offer additional storage space, but most users' needs are met via the free application. The free version allows for 2GB of online storage for PDFs and document attachments. Mendeley has a YouTube Channel that offers tutorials to shorten the learning curve.

Should you use Mendeley?

Available for: Windows, Mac, Linux, web

Cost: Free with 2GB of online storage

Browsers: Mendeley works well with the latest versions of the most common browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.

Mendeley is a good option for users who primarily use desktop and laptop computers. PC users will encounter less issues with Mendeley, but Mac users can be well served too. Unfortunately for Mac users, the latest operating systems (Catalina and Big Sur) are not supported. While it is said that Mendeley "might" work well on these systems, there is no support of fixes for issues encountered. There are also apps for Apple and Android devices.

Mendeley Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
  • Free with 2 GB of storage
  • Some difficulty downloading citations and PDF files from library databases
  • Application can be downloaded to computer or used in browser
  • Older PDF files that are missing metadata will not give proper citation information to Mendeley
  • Easy to learn
  • Not supported with newer versions of Mac operating systems (macOS 10.15 Catalina or macOS 11 Big Sur)
  • Collaborative group libraries
  • No first-party mobile apps
  • Organize and edit all your PDF files
  • Import citations to Microsoft Word with Mendeley Cite add-in
  • Can share login with Scopus and other Elsevier products


Start Using Mendeley

You can create a free account to get started with Mendeley and then download the desktop app. There are also help guides via the Mendeley site that offer support with various aspects of the application. Additionally, there is an FAQ section and a user forum on the Mendeley site.

Mendeley Tutorial

This tutorial provides a good overview on getting started with Mendeley. It begins with installation of the desktop application and how to install the Mendeley MS Word plugin, and it moves onto discussing using the application to build references.