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Mendeley is a free reference manager and academic social network. Make your own fully-searchable library in seconds, cite as you write, and read and annotate your PDFs on any device.


Overview: Mendeley is organized in a 3 pane (or column) design

  • Left pane is "my library" where you see folders and groups
  • Middle pane will list the documents contained in whatever folder you selected on the left pane
  • Right pane will show the details of whatever document you have selected in the middle pane

Use folders:  References may exist in more than one folder and folders can be sub-folders (drag a folder to another folder).

  1. Click "Create Folder" in the left pane.
  2. Name your folder
  3. Click "all documents"
  4. Find the reference you want to move, click to select it (you can select more than one document at a time), and then drag it over to your new folder. 
Organize your PDFs and other files: Mendeley can also rename your PDF files into file names that are more meaningful, and file them in a clear folder structure so you can find them outside of Mendeley.
  1. Click tools -> options -> file organizer
  2. Select 'organize my files'
  3. Select 'rename documents files'
Other Tips:
  • Mark your favorites by clicking the star icon in the center pane.  These references can then be easily found by choosing the 'favorites' folder.
  • Drag citations that you authored into the 'my publications' folder to automatically update your Mendeley profile.
  • Use the search box in the upper right corner to search across the full-text of your library.
  • Add tags and notes to references to make them easier to find.
  • Remove duplicates by clicking the "tools" menu and selecting "check for duplicates"
  • Edit any incorrect information in a reference by simply clicking in the appropriate field and making the changes.
  • Globally edit author names so they are consistent.  On the left pane, select "filter by authors" to display all the authors; grab the incorrect name and drag it on top of the correct name.  You can update publication (journal) titles and your tags the same way.

Reading and Annotating PDFs

Mendeley Desktop includes a powerful PDF reader which allows you to add highlights and notes to documents which you can then share with your collaborators

  • Read attached PDFs by clicking the PDF icon in the center pane.
  • Highlight portions of the text by clicking the 'highlight text' option at  the top of the screen, and dragging the cursor over the text you want to higlight
  • Add notes to specific spots in the text by clicking the 'note' option at the top of the screen and then clicking in the text exactly where you want to add your note. Notes for each document can then be viewed from the  'notes' tab in the details pane.
  • Export specific PDFs with their annotations added to the end of the document, by choosing "export with annotatiosn" from the "file" menu
  • Search the full text of the PDF by typing in the upper right search box.  Move to the next match of the word by clicking the 'next' button at the top of the PDF.

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