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Get Started: Mendeley

This guide will give you a quick overview of Mendeley and Zotero, two free citation managers.

Citation management tools

Citation management tools help you store and organize citations. You can also use them to house and annotate PDFs of articles! Mendeley is one such citation manager, but there are tons of great options out there.

See below for information on how to get started with Mendeley.

Mendeley: Getting Started

How do I use Mendeley?

Find Mendeley video tutorials on their site, or read the rest of this quick-start guide!

Mendeley stores and manages citations. It is both a desktop tool and an online library. However, the desktop program is the more important piece, which means you need to download the program to your personal computer.

1. Download

Go to and click on “sign up and download.” You’ll create a free account before downloading the program to your computer. You will be walked through the installation and sign-in process.

2. Import materials

You can import material into your Mendeley account in one of two ways—from online sources like a library database or from your own store of documents.

To place documents already on your computer, such as PDFs of journal articles, into Mendeley either click on “add files” or drag and drop. You can also tell Mendeley to watch certain folders, and automatically import any files saved to them.

To import articles and other material you find on the web, you can install the Mendeley importer from here: Click on the bookmark added to your bookmarks bar whenever you find an article you want to add to Mendeley. For Chrome users there is an extension which creates a simple button you can add to your browser.  

3. Sync

Click “sync” in the desktop version to upload/download new files and citations. This will make your online library the same as your desktop one.

Mendeley sync

4. Organize

You can create folders in the web version and the desktop version, and move documents into them.

Mendeley Create Folder

5. Cite and format

Mendeley has a plugin for Microsoft Word which you can install by going to your desktop version, clicking “Tools,” then clicking “Install MS Word plugin.” This will make a Mendeley option appear in the references tab of Word which you can use to insert and format citations and a reference list.

Mendeley insert citation

6. Connect

Lots of Springfield College users are already on Mendeley! Connect with us by going to the “people” tab in the web version and searching for people you know! 

Find out more about Mendeley on their site!