Skip to Main Content
Link to CSU Home
Link to CSU Home
Students in the Library

Michael Schwartz Library

Students in the Connection Lounge
Michael Schwartz Library

Mendeley: A Quick Guide

A guide to using the free online citation manager Mendeley.

What is Mendeley?


Mendeley is a free reference management tool that allows you to generate citations, annotate and organize PDFs, and access your research sources across devices. Mendeley also includes a social element, through which you can discover new research ideas and collaborate with others.

Why Should I Use Mendeley?

Mendeley's reference managing capabilities make it a valuable tool for students, researchers, and faculty. Because Mendeley helps you store citations, links, and full-text articles that you gather as you research, not only will those materials be easier to find again, but you'll have the ability to quickly and easily cite those resources when you're ready. Mendeley works with Microsoft Word and Open Office to insert in-text citations and compose bibliographies in just a few mouse clicks.

Mendeley Webinar

Comparing Citation Managers

See the links below for some comparisons of citation management tools, including Mendeley.

Comparing Zotero and Mendeley
  Mendeley Zotero
Cost Free (costs for upgraded storage, costs for private groups of more than 3 people) Free (open source - costs for upgraded storage)
Usability Moderately Easy Easy
Features/Functionality Can store references online & share with others using group function; can sync with Zotero; can annotate PDFs One-click capture works with more resources than Mendeley--can save snapshots of webpages and annotate them; can store references online & share with others using shared folders
Compatibility with Databases Yes, can export citations from most databases including Google Scholar, but not Scholar Can export citations from most online databases, Google Scholar, and Scholar
Usability on Tablets Has a mobile app for iOS (free) and 3rd party app for Android Has third party mobile apps (price varies)
Install Process Can use browser plugin for Firefox & Chrome (couldn't get it to work on IE); no longer offers desktop version (only web app), so offline access is not possible Can use Firefox plugin or download plugin for Chrome, Safari (not IE), also can download standalone version for Windows; can sync across multiple browsers, but also saves to local computer for offline use
Space Unlimited on desktop, up to 2 GB free web space Unlimited on desktop, 300 MB free web space
Word Plug-in Yes, Word for Windows 2000 or later or Open Office for Mac 98 or later Yes, Word for Windows and LibreOffice; can also create works cited list in Google Docs