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An Introductory Guide to Mendeley Reference Management Software

What is Mendeley?

Mendeley is a reference management tool produced by Elsevier, similar to Endnote.

Here is an overview of similarities and differences between Mendeley and other reference management products such as EndNote or Zotero.

Mendeley is available to use:

  • through a web browser (Mendeley Web)
  • as a desktop application on your computer (Mendeley Desktop)
  • as an iOS or Android mobile app

Deakin has an institutional subscription to Mendeley, so if you sign on using your Deakin email account, you will have access to:

  • a much larger storage allowance (100GB), and
  • increased sharing and other facilities.
  • See this fact sheet for details.

A free version of Mendeley is also available.


At this time, the Deakin Library does not offer training for Mendeley. This guide provides some information to get started, but there are also many resources freely available on the web.

Step 1: Register with Mendeley

The first step is to register an account with Mendeley, so you can use Mendeley Web. Use your Deakin email address to access the extra features available in the Mendeley Institutional Edition.

Registration is free and enables you to sync your Mendeley library between your home computer (using Mendeley Desktop) and the cloud. Registration also facilitates Mendeley's extensive library-sharing capabilities.

If you already have an Elsevier account (eg. for Scopus, ScienceDirect or SciVal) - you can use this to log in to Mendeley.

Don't use the option to "Sign in via your institution" as you actually need to create a personal Mendeley account in order to sign in to the Mendeley Desktop program.

Step 2: Install Mendeley Desktop

If you are a Deakin student using your own computer, you can install Mendeley Desktop for free by following the links below:

Deakin staff can download Mendeley directly from the Deakin Sofware Centre application on your computer (PC), or the links above (Mac).

Sign in to Mendeley Desktop using the account you created in Step 1.

Syncing between Mendeley Web and Mendeley Desktop

To bring changes, new references, annotations etc. across from Mendeley Web to Mendeley Desktop, or vice versa, click the Sync button.

Step 3: Install the add-ons

Two add-ons can enhance your experience of using Mendeley.

  • Mendeley Web Importer
    • A browser extension for Firefox or Chrome that makes it easier to import documents (e.g. PDFs, web pages) into your Mendeley Web library. (A drag-and-drop bookmark button is available for Safari and Internet Explorer.)
  • Mendeley Cite
    • A citation add-in for Microsoft Word which enables you cite in Word documents using your Mendeley Desktop library.

As well as from the links provided above, you can also download these add-ons from within the Mendeley Desktop application (Tools > Install Web Importer / Install MS Word Plugin).