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University of Texas University of Texas Libraries

Citation Managers for Research Organization

Organizational Features

Tags, Folders, and Groups


Tags provide a very flexible way to organize your collected articles.

Add words of your choosing in the Tags field on the Details screen.

Use Mendeley Desktop search to retrieve articles by tags. Enter the search using the following format.
tags:your topic, your second topic


Folders and subfolders are another option for organizing your collected articles.

Click on the Create Folder option in the left side bar, enter a folder name, and then drag and drop relevant articles into the folder. One article can be put in multiple folders. Any folder can be dragged onto an existing folder to create a subfolder. Subfolders can have subfolders.

Mendeley Desktop Screensho


Private Groups provide a way to share a collection of documents with a group of people. This function is limited in the free version of Mendeley to one group with 3 people. Mendeley users who are part of an institutional group can create unlimited private groups with up to 25 members each.

PDFs that are shared within a private group can be highlighted or have notes added by all members of the group.

Deduping Items

It is important to keep only one instance of an article in your Mendeley database. Multiple instances of the same article can be confusing when you are citing while writing. It is a good idea to check your database for duplicates before you start to write a new document.

  • Click on Tools / Check for Duplicates
  • Review duplicates that are found
  • If they are true duplicates, delete one or merge the records.

Notes and Highlighting

Once you have a document in your library, Mendeley allows you the ability to add notes to the document and to highlight selected portions. To do this, double click on the document that you're interested in and Mendeley will open the document like so:

Notes and Highlighting in Mendeley

At the top of the viewer, you will have a variety of options available to you. If you are interested in adding a note to text, then you can Select the text that you would like to add a note, right click and select Add Note. As you can see in the example, Mendeley will keep track of the notes that you've added and you can double click on the note for Mendeley to scroll the screen to the text that has the note attached to it.

If you want to highlight the text, then you can click on the Highlight option and now the text that you select will be highlighted.

The ability to select text, add highlights to portions of text and for the text to be searchable in Mendeley depends on the document that you've added. Some older PDFs are not "searchable"; this is especially common on governmental PDFs from sources like the CDC. If this happens, you can still add notes to individual pages and have them show up in the notes section, but they will not be attached to the text quite as nicely as other documents. Additionally, you will not be able to use the search feature in Mendeley to find words inside the PDF.

You can also add document level notes using the Notes section in the top right hand section. These notes are attached to the document and allow you to search through your library for those notes.

Searching notes in Mendeley

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