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Mendeley Reference Manager


Editing, de-duplicating, and organising your references as you go will save you time, and will ensure that your final document has accurate, high-quality references. Mendeley will not automatically correct data-entry errors or omissions, so it is very important that you manually check all of the references in your library.

Some imported entries may have incorrect or missing information, so it is good practice to check reference details whenever you add new entries to your library.

To check and edit a reference:

  1. Click on the reference in your Mendeley Library.
    Mendeley edit references
  2. Make changes as necessary. Any changes you make are automatically saved.
    Important information to check:
    • Is the correct reference type selected?
    • Is the title correct, and is it in correct capitalisation?
    • Is the author/s name in the correct format? For works with multiple authors, are all the authors listed?
    • Is the publication information present and correct?
    • If URLs are present, are they accurate and useable? If a DOI is available, prefer that over the URL.
    • Is the DOI included?
  3. If you have the PDF attached in your Mendeley Library, you can click on Read in the Info pane to see the PDF alongside the reference details. You can then type, or copy and paste, the correct details.
    Edit PDF details
  4. This is an example of a PDF report that was dragged and dropped into a Mendeley Library, and needed correcting:
    Corrected reference example

As you build your library, it is important to regularly check for duplicates.

It is especially important to do this before you start citing in Word to ensure you don’t include duplicates in your reference list.

Mendeley Reference Manager will automatically remove references that are exact duplicates. However, duplicates may be missed from time to time.

To check for duplicates, sort your library by title and run your eye down all your references. If you suspect something is a duplicate, first check the details of both references carefully to be sure they are referring to the same document.

If you are sure that something is a duplicate, delete it from your library.

Your references can be organised into folders (called ‘collections’) to group them into meaningful categories and to allow for easy navigation.

  • To create a new collection:
  1. Click on New Collection on the left panel in Mendeley Reference Manager under the Collections heading.
  2. Type a name for your collection and press Enter/Return on your keyboard.
Mendeley add a new collection
  • You can then drag and drop references into your named collections.
  • To file multiple references at the same time,
    1. Tick the boxes next to the relevant entries, then select Organise in the pop-up toolbar at the bottom, and click Add to Collection
      Mendeley - Add multiple references to collection
    2. Tick the box for the relevant collection/s, and click Add.
      Mendeley - Select collection from collection list
  • If you delete a reference from one of your collections, the reference will be removed from that collection, but will still remain in your library under All References.
  • If you delete a reference from All References, it will also be deleted from any collection/s you have filed it under.
Annotating References and PDFs

In Mendeley Reference Manager you can annotate your references, and add sticky notes and highlights to PDFs as you read them.

  • To read and annotate a PDF,
    1. Click on the reference in your Mendeley Library, and click on the file attachment in the Info pane. This will open in Mendeley Reference Manager’s PDF reader.
    Mendeley - Open PDF attachment
    1. Use the toolbar to add sticky notes or to highlight text. You can also colour-code your annotations. Your annotations are automatically saved and synced.
      Mendeley - Annotate PDFs
  • To add general annotations about the reference as a whole, select a reference in your library and click on the Annotations tab. Here you can type in the GENERAL NOTES box, and you can also see sticky notes you’ve added to the PDF.
    Mendeley - Add general notes

A new feature has been introduced in Mendeley Reference Manager, called Notebook. This is a place where you can access all of your specific annotations, and take more general notes as well.

To open the Notebook,

  1. Click the Notebook button in the top left of Mendeley Reference Manager.
  2. Click New page to start a note.
  3. Give it a title and start typing. Note pages are automatically saved. You can click on the at any time to leave the Notebook.
Mendeley - Open Notebook Mendeley - Create new notebook page Mendeley - Give the notebook a title
You can easily navigate between your specific reference annotations and your Notebook entries using the tabs in the viewing pane.
Mendeley - navigate viewing pane