Mendeley Reference Manager

Mendeley logo.
“Mendeley Logo Vertical” by Team Mendeley is licensed under CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mendeley Reference Manager, often called Mendeley for short, is a freely available reference manager.[1]

Mendeley Reference Manager includes a desktop version which can be installed on Windows, iOS and Linux. For each version there are online guides and a support hub available. It is also available as a web-based application, with synchronization done automatically when online, so your library is accessible even when away from your own devices.

A citation application for Microsoft Word, called Mendeley Cite, can be used in tandem with Mendeley. It allows you to add references from your Mendeley library without leaving the document.[2]


The new Mendeley Reference Manager (2:24 mins)

The New Mendeley Reference Manager (2:24 mins) by Mendeley (YouTube)

Features of Mendeley Reference Manager

  • Easily search your library and organise references into collections.
  • Use Mendeley Cite with Microsoft Word for seamless integration of your library with your written work.
  • Import references directly from the web using the Mendeley Web Importer plugin for Chrome and Firefox.
  • Add, read, organise and annotate PDFs on both the web and desktop applications.
  • Access 2GB of free storage (upgrades are available for a fee).
  • On a free account, create up to five private groups with 25 members each for collaboration, PDF sharing, and shared annotations.
  • Transfer your library to another reference manager via an RIS, XML or BibTeX file, using the desktop version.
  • Install the software on Windows, iOS and Linux platforms.
  • Use the web version available on Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari.
  • RMIT staff and students can access the Mendeley Institutional Edition (MIE) which has increased storage and collaboration capacity. More information is available in our Reference Manager Library guide and on the Library Reference management tools website.

However, Mendeley Reference Manager has limited functionality with some word processing applications such as Google Docs and Apple Pages. You cannot search for new resources from within the application. And while its group functionality allows for sharing of PDF documents, you cannot create open groups or libraries accessible to anyone.

Pros and cons of Mendeley Reference Manager

Positives Negatives
Free for all, with extra storage for RMIT staff and students Lose extra storage when you leave RMIT
Citation integration with MS Word with Mendeley Cite Poor integration with Google Docs and Apple Pages
Annotate and share PDFs within private groups No public groups

Mendeley is used by many researchers at RMIT University. Here’s a short video of Professor James Harland speaking about aspects of Mendeley that he finds useful.

James Harland on Mendeley (2:16 mins)

Dr James Harland Mendeley (2:16 mins) by RMIT University Library is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

  1. In 2022, Mendeley Reference Manager for Desktop replaced a prior version known as Mendeley Desktop. In this module, the current Mendeley Reference Manager is the focus. More information can be found in our Reference Manager Library Guide.
  2. Mendeley Cite replaces the prior application known as Mendeley Desktop Citation Plugin. More information on Citation Plugin can be found on the Mendeley support site.


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Research and Writing Skills for Academic and Graduate Researchers Copyright © 2022 by RMIT University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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