This website uses cookies and similar technologies to understand visitors' experiences. By continuing to use this website, you accept our use of cookies and similar technologies,Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

Mar 10 2021 - 06:10 PM
Online Workshop: Mendeley

Mendeley is a free reference management software that enables users to organize, annotate, and share citations and data. Users can store conventional bibliographic information - titles, authors, publishing dates, etc. - as well as metadata, personal notes, links, and PDFs. References stored in other citation management software can be imported into Mendeley, and it can even recommend relevant papers based on users’ stored research. There are desktop and web applications to help users integrate their resources between a number of platforms and devices.

More information can be found at Mendeley’s Solutions and Guides pages. The Your Mendeley Library guide also includes helpful information on the different aspects of creating, organizing, and using the features within a Mendeley library.

Please note that Mendeley is undergoing extensive changes in the ways it delivers services. This post will be updated as needed, but here are places to visit for the most up-to-date information:

A screenshot from Mendeley's homepage including the search bar and


Mendeley’s statement on accessibility can be accessed here:

Mendeley’s PDF reader allows users to magnify any document that is uploaded into their library. The PDF reader also supports highlighting text by line or by using a rectangle tool, and allows for annotations and other personal notes to be stored.

Western Michigan University’s information on known issues in Mendeley reports that, while users can magnify text and use inverted color themes with Mendeley software, screen readers are not compatible with the software. The Portland State University library website’s citation management guide confirms this.

For general assistance regarding accessibility at Teachers College, please contact TC’s Office for Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities (OASID).


Before installing Mendeley, users will create a free account at Once an account is created, users can begin building web libraries of citations. More information on starting the web library is available in the Getting Started with Mendeley Web guide. Users who have already started collecting documents and citations with other citation management tools have the option to import their libraries to Mendeley.

This library can be accessed and added to across many platforms:

  • Mendeley Reference Manager, the desktop application
  • Mendeley Desktop, the older version of the desktop application, still exists; it has functionality that the newer Reference Manager does not yet have
  • Both versions are available for Mac, Windows, Linux, and Ubuntu
  • Mendeley Cite, the plugin for Microsoft Word
  • Mendeley Web Importer, the browser plugin
  • Available for Chrome and Firefox

Syncing features allow information stored in desktop and web applications to be accessed across platforms.

Mendeley also provides installation guides for its various softwares.

How to Use

Adding References

There are many ways to add a reference to a Mendeley library through the website as well as through desktop applications and web browser plugins. The “Add New” button in Mendeley Reference Manager and on Mendeley’s web library allows for uploading new files or entering manual citations. 

Mendeley generates citations from references that are either uploaded or dragged and dropped into the library, or references added by using the Web Importer plugin based on available metadata.

Please note that not all metadata and generated citations are accurate. All citations stored within a library may be edited by the user as needed.

Annotation and Notebook

Mendeley offers a PDF reader which allows users to highlight and annotate files stored within their libraries. Highlights can be made line by line or with a rectangle tool, and users can select a variety of colors to use in their note-taking. While reading, users can also click on parts of their PDFs to add comments.

The Notebook feature allows users to take long-form notes alongside their reading. Please note that the Notebook feature is available in Mendeley Reference Manager and in the Web Library, but not in Mendeley Desktop.


Mendeley users can sort their citations into different collections by any specification that a user chooses. Sorting citations into collections based on where they are being used (for example, a thesis or dissertation versus personal reading) can help users keep track of references and form bibliographies. 

Under the Collections heading on the left hand side of the Web Library or the Mendeley Reference Manager interface, clicking the italic text reading New Collection allows users to type in the name of a collection they would like to create. Hitting the Enter or Return key on the keyboard saves the new collection. Collections can also be nested within each other.

Creating In-Text Citations and Works Cited Lists

Once references have their own generated or manually added citations, users of Mendeley Cite can create their own in-text citations and bibliographies in Microsoft Word products.

Mendeley also offers links to APA, MLA, and Harvard citation style guidelines in its Citation Hub.


For researchers who are working on collaborative projects with peers, Mendeley supports sharing of resources within private groups. Information on this feature can be found on the Private Groups guide.

My Publications

Mendeley is a product of Elsevier, and as such, users who have their own published research may link their research to a Scopus account. Scopus is an abstract and citation database which analyzes reading and citation metrics on articles and their authors. Access to Teachers College affiliates is provided by Columbia University Libraries.

Additional Support

Further Mendeley support can be obtained by sending a message through the Mendeley Support Center or reaching out to Mendeley on social media. For more information about Elsevier, check the Elsevier Support Center

Members of the Teachers College community are encouraged to use the library’s live chat and Ask a Librarian options for assistance with library resources.