Mendeley Guide

Download user guide: Please click here


What is Mendeley?

Mendeley is one of the popular and free research management software today. It helps students and researchers to better manage their PDF reading material with the ability to highlight text, create notes, add tags, search full-text and notes, share articles and collaborate with peers, and most attractively, the ability to insert APA citation and references to an MS Word or LibreOffice document.

Mendeley is a convenient tool for anyone writing a research paper that requires reading a lot of PDF articles.

Alternatives to Mendeley

There are actually many free and useful research management software out there such as EndNoteZotero and RefWorks; Mendeley's strength lies in its strong PDF management.

Learn more about their differences through this guide from PolyU Library: Reference Management Tools

Let's get started with Mendeley!

Please click here to create a Mendeley account.

Installation & Access

Mendeley can be used in Desktop. A Mendeley browser extension is also available in Chrome and Firefox.

(1) Mendeley Desktop is the most powerful mode than web and mobile. Only in Mendeley Desktop that you can use the citation function and create groups. The PDF experience including highlighting and note-taking will also be much smoother and user-friendly in Mendeley Desktop: Download Mendeley Desktop here

Some operating systems do not support Mendeley Desktop, please go to the link below to check if your device is compatible.

Even if an operating system is not supported, Mendeley Desktop might still operate to a satisfactory level.

(2) Web Mendeley can be accessed via the Mendeley website, simply login to

Web Importer (Chrome / Firefox Extension): If you are interested in saving a webpage or a PDF article you have found on the Internet, use the Mendeley browser extension to save webpages and PDF. Simply search for "Mendeley" in the browser extension store. 

Highlighting, Notes & Searching

Here are some basic functions of Mendeley:

  • Highlight PDF text (with colour choices)
  • Create notes (with colour choices)
  • Search PDF content, details and general notes

This short video shows you how to execute the functions in Mendeley.

Generate In-text Citation & References

The insert citation and references function is ONLY AVAILABLE with Mendeley Desktop. This means you must have Mendeley Desktop opened in order to insert citation in your document.

Mendeley Citation Plugin is available in Microsoft Word (MS Word) and LibreOffice. This short video shows you how to use the citation plugin function in MS Word and LibreOffice:

Create Group for Collaboration

You can collaborate on a PDF file with your classmate using the Group function. Any highlights or notes added in the Group PDF file can be seen by all group members.

  • Create a new group: you must use Mendeley Desktop
  • Join a group: you must accept a group invitation on Web Mendeley (
  • Delete a group: only the group owner can delete a group. You can delete a group on Web Mendeley (

Watch this video to learn how to create a group, join a group, collaborate, and delete a group:


Check out the 40-minute Mendeley workshop hosted by The Kidsploration Library. It touches on all of the features mentioned above.