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Citation Management Software - Mendeley

Mendeley is a free desktop and cloud application that helps you manage your research.

Searching for your Tags

In addition to the fields you can search from the dropdown option in Mendeley Desktop, you can also search by tag. Simply type Tag:copyrightTag:"information literacy" (put phrases in quotes), or Tag:[your tag] in the search box:

Screen shot of search box in Mendeley with dropdown options visible, including Authors, Titles, Publication Names, Year, and Notes  Screenshot of tag searches as described in text


Example searches:



Your results will show in a single folder that you search or in the All Documents folder: 

Screenshot of results of searching based on the Tag option (not pictured above)

Organizing your Hard Drive Files

Using the File Organizer, drag and drop the fields you want to appear in your Mendeley Desktop document files. I use Author and Year, but you may wish to also use the Title or the Journal. If you have multiple files by the same author in the same year, Mendeley will automatically number your files instead of overwriting them. If you do not like the hypen-separated default in your file names, check out the options on the dropdown menu on the right and see my example of underscore-separated file name structure in the Windows image below. The other options are comma or period separated values. You can also sort the folder's contents into subfolders. See the Windows image below.


From the Mendeley Desktop menu, click on Preferences > File Organizer

Screen shot of Mac Preferences > File Organizer


On a Windows computer, click Tools > Options > File Organizer.

Screen shot of Windows > Options > File Organizer

Deleting Unwanted References

Noun project icon "delete from the cloud"To delete a file from your Mendeley Library, you may need to delete it from both the Desktop and web versions. Any document you delete from Mendeley Desktop should also be deleted from the Web version, and vis versa; however, sometimes your files will continue to reappear after you delete them. Try deleting in Desktop and web at the same time, then click 'Sync' in Desktop and refresh your browser to check whether your changes have taken effect.

Both Mendeley Web and Desktop have Trash folders where you can go to restore your deleted files. It is located in the left sidebar menu at the bottom.

Review the Details!

Important Tip!

Every time you import a new file or reference to your Mendeley Library (Desktop or Web), it is very important to check the Details panel to make sure all citation data is correct! This will ensure less work for you when it's time to generate the Bibliography and turn in your paper!

Be sure the Type (Journal Article, Book Section, etc.) is correct for the document or citation you are importing. If the Type fields do not include something that you need for a certain citation style, customize the document template by going to Mendeley Desktop > Preferences > Document Details. Check the fields you want to appear on a certain Document type template. For example, you can add a Medium field to the Journal Article Document Type so that you can comply with MLA 7th style and add 'Print' or 'Web' as needed.

[Screen capture is Mendeley Desktop and not the Reference Manager]

Screen shot of Mendeley's Needs Review folder showing alert in Details panel

If you forget to do this, Mendeley will catch SOME but not all of your citations that have missing or problematic details. Click the Needs Review option in the left sidebar menu to see citations with problems that Mendeley has flagged for you.