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What is it?

Mendeley is a free, Web and desktop-based citation manager. With a free version of Mendeley, you receive 2GB of online storage space for PDFs and document attachments and one private group with up to three members. See Mendeley Web site for pricing.

With Mendeley you can:

  • Create and manage a personal database of citations.
  • Import and organize PDFs.
  • Insert in-text citations and instantly generate bibliographies.
  • Share citations and full-text, annotated articles with other Mendeley users.
  • Network and share with other Mendeley users in your area of research. You can share citations and select articles by joining and/or creating groups.
  • Sync resources between your desktop software and Web account to access your resources anytime from another computer, iPhone, or iPad.

Create an Account

Visit Mendeley Web site to sign up for a free Mendeley account. After creating the account, you can set up your personal profile, which will be public to others searching Mendeley. Once registered, you have access to an online Mendeley account. Next, download the Mendeley Desktop component to your hard drive. This allows for greater functionality and storage capabilities. The two versions of Mendeley will sync automatically or when you choose.

With a free version of Mendeley online you receive 2GB of storage space and one private group with three members. See Mendeley Web site for pricing.

Once you have the desktop component downloaded, select Tools/Options/General to fill in your account information and connect the desktop with your online account.

Building Your Library

In Mendeley Desktop

  • Manually create an entry by selecting File/Add Entry Manually.
  • When working in the UW-Madison Libraries databases, select the records you would like to add to Mendeley. Next, locate and select the "Export" or "Download" button (The terminology varies in each database.). Select the RIS file format. Download the file to your Desktop. Once you have the RIS file saved to your desktop, drag and drop the file into the center pane of Mendeley Desktop, or slect File/Files to upload the file to Mendeley. Other acceptable file formats included: BibTeX, RefMan (or "Reference Manager").
  • For PDFs that have already been downloaded and are saved on the computer's hard drive, drag and drop the file into Mendeley or import by selecting File/Add File.

Finally, select the Sync button in Mendeley Desktop to sync your Mendeley Desktop with your Mendeley online account. The most recently updated or imported information will then appear in both tools.

In Mendeley Web

  1. Login to your Mendeley account.
  2. Click the My Library tab.
  3. Along the top row of icons, click Web Importer and follow the instructions to download this tool. This will install a plug-in to your browser, so you can easily add references to your Mendeley library from a variety of databases and Websites.
  4. The Web Importer Tool will appear in your browser toolbar as Import to Mendeley.
  5. Navigate to one of the databases or search engines listed on this page.
  6. Conduct a search and navigate to either a list of search results or a specific record.
  7. Click the Import to Mendeley button in your browser toolbar.
  8. In the pop-up window that appears, click Save to My Library for each desired record.

Finally, select the Sync button in Mendeley Desktop to sync your Mendeley Desktop with your Mendeley online account. The most recently updated or imported information will then appear in both tools.

File Storage and Syncing

File Organizer

Mendeley can automatically organize your PDF files and other attachments, by sorting them into specific sub-folders and/or by renaming them.

  1. Open Mendeley Desktop.
  2. Click the Tools menu, then Options.
  3. Click on the File Organizer tab.
  4. Check the box reading "Organize my files" and select how you would like Mendeley to organize your files.

More information about the File Organizer and Watched Folder options is available on the Mendeley blog.

Watched Folders

Mendeley can be set to "watch" specific folders and automatically add any files within this folder to your Mendeley library. For example, you could choose to download all of your journal article PDFs to a watched folder. These articles will be added automatically to your Mendeley library, where they can then be organized and annotated.

  1. Open Mendeley Desktop.
  2. Click the Tools menu, then Options.
  3. Click on the Watched Folders tab.
  4. Click the Enable button, and select olders within your directories to watch.

More information about the File Organizer and Watched Folder options is available on the Mendeley blog.

Selecting Folders to Sync

By default, Mendeley Desktop will sync between the desktop application and web each time Mendeley Desktop is launched. Users can also manually sync at any time, using the Sync button.

Users can also select for which folders they would like to sync attachments. This is very helpful in managing file storage quotas.

  1. Open Mendeley Desktop.
  2. Click a specific folder in the left-hand pane.
  3. Click on the Edit Settings button in the center pane, next to the folder name and above the list of references.
  4. Check or uncheck the box next to "Synchonize attached files."

Sync Attachments via UW-Madison Box

By default, Mendeley will sync PDFs and other file attachments using Mendeley's online storage. However, it is also possible (though not officially supported by Mendeley*) to sync attached files using third party cloud-based file storage applications (e.g., UW-Madison's Box cloud storage option.)

  1. From your Box account, download and intall Box Sync.
  2. Create a folder for your Mendeley attachments within Box Sync.
  3. Copy any existing Mendeley attachments to your new Box Sync folder.
  4. Within Mendeley Desktop, go to Tools then Options then File Organizer.
  5. Check the box reading "Organize my files" and enter in the directory location of your new Box Sync folder (e.g., C:\Users\[yourUserName]\Documents\My Box Files\Mendeley PDFs).
  6. Test this configuration by adding a new PDF to Mendeley Desktop, and verify that it appears in your Box Sync folder.

*It is recommended that you periodically back up your attachments, as the main danger with this configuration is over-writing files.

Annotate PDFs

This can only be done using Mendeley Desktop. For records with attached PDF files, select the record from the middle pane. In the left hand pane, under the details tab, select the attached file. Annotate the PDF using the highlighting and sticky note tool. All annotations are automatically saved.

Link to Full Text

In Web version, click View in Mendeley Desktop in the full view for an item. In Mendeley Desktop, view the item Details and click View research catalog entry for this paper. Click Find this paper at and choose UW-Madison. You may need to edit Your library access links first. Go to My Account > Account Details > Sharing/Importing > Your library access links:. Select University of Wisconsin-Madison

Create a Bibliography

This can only be done using Mendeley Desktop.

  1. Select View/Library as Citations.
  2. Select View/Citation Style to view a menu of citation styles. Select the style, or if it is not listed, select More Styles.
  3. In the middle window pane, use the shift key to highlight citations for the bibliography.
  4. Right click on the highlighted citations, and select Copy Citation.
  5. Paste the selected records into a document to create a stand-alone bibliography.

Cite and Write Feature

This can be done using Mendeley Desktop.

  1. In the Mendeley menu bar, select Tools/Install MS Word Plugin. In Microsoft Word, the Mendeley Cite-O-Matic feature will appear under the References tab. In Word for Mac, the feature appears as a paper scroll in the top right-hand corner.
  2. In order to insert a citation, place the mouse cursor where you like the citation to appear. Select Insert Citation. Then, search for the citation and select OK.
  3. Change the citation style by selecting one citation and then select the style from the plug-in. All other citations in the document will change.
  4. To insert a bibliography into the document, place the cursor at the end of the document, or wherever you would like the bibliography to be located. From the References tab, select Insert Bibliography. A bibliography will be inserted in the matching citation style. References in the bibliography will be generated from the in-text citations.

Export and Share Records

Export Records from Mendeley Desktop

  1. Right click on a highlighted citation and select Export.
  2. Export the record by saving it as a file in BibTex (.bib), RIS (.ris), or EndNote XML (.xml).

Share records in Mendeley Web (Social Networking)

You can create one free group of up to three members or a public group with unlmited members that is open for anyone to join. For more control over groups, you must pay to upgrade your Mendeley account.

To create Groups that you can share with other Mendeley users (anyone who has a Mendeley account):

  1. Click the Groups tab in your account. You can make a Public group (anyone has access to the group) or a a Private group (only Mendeley users you specify are invited). Note that you are allowed one free private group with three members, unless you upgrade your account.
  2. Select Open or Invite-Only.
  3. Click Create Group on the bottom of the screen.
  4. Invite people to join the group you have created.
  5. You now have a shared group folder within Mendeley to which you can add references that other group members will be able to see within Mendeley Desktop or online. Remember to sync your account after adding items to the group.)
  6. In Mendeley online, click the My Library tab and you will see your new Group in the left-hand column under Groups. In Mendeley Desktop, the new group should appear under Groups.

Edit Citation Styles

This can only be done using Mendeley Desktop.

  1. To edit a citation style, select View/View/Citation Styles/More Styles.
  2. Right click on the citation style you would like to edit and select Edit. This will open a tab in your browser in which you can edit the citation style code.
  3. Save the edited code by selecting Visual Editor/Style, Save Style As and selecting a name.

Please see more information about the Mendeley CSL editor.

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