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Library Services



Mendeley Desktop

Guide to using Mendeley Desktop reference management and social citation sharing software

How can I change which fields are showing in the details tab?

In Mendeley desktop:

  • Go to the Tools menu and select Options.
  • Choosing from the fields listed on the first tab, Document Details.

Can I alter the de-duplication criteria?

It is not possible to alter Mendeley's de-duplication criteria. Although the criteria are not explicitly stated, Mendeley will use the following criteria for identifying duplicates:

1. Title + Year
2. Title + Abstract
3. Title + Pages
4. Title + Author names
5. Title + DOI

If you wish to manipulate de-duplication criteria you may choose to use EndNote instead. The ability to change de-duplication criteria can be useful if you are carrying out a systematic review.

Can I duplicate a record in my library?

No, it is not possible to duplicate a record in your library. You might have a need for this if, for example, you want to have separate records for different sections or chapters of the same book. If you import the same record twice, the automatic merging of duplicates feature in Mendeley automatically merges the new record with the existing record. It is not possible to turn of the automatic merging of duplicates.

Where you require individual records for multiple sections of chapters of a book, for example, we recommend entering the records manually. It is possible to import individual records for a target book chapter using the Web Importer, but a record imported in this way is likely to require considerable amendment to ensure it is accurate, and there is therefore often little to gain over entering the record manually.

Does UCL have an institutional subscription to Mendeley?

UCL does not have an institutional subscription to Mendeley. However, Mendeley Desktop is installed on all Desktop@UCL computers.

Are there storage limits with a free Mendeley account?

With a free Mendeley account you will receive 2GB of personal storage space. You can sign up for a Premium plan to purchase more space. 

How do I add letters with accents?

When manually editing your reference details you can add special characters using the Character Map tool available within Windows on your computer. Search for Character Map using the Windows search box in the bottom left of your screen, and copy and paste the required characters into Mendeley.

If you have the DOI of the reference you could try using the DOI lookup tool to check whether another version of the article includes special characters. See Checking reference details.

I am having trouble with the Mendeley Web Importer. Is there anything I can do?

The Mendeley Web importer does not work equally well for all websites. If it is not working satisfactorily you could:

  • Try using the web importer using a different view of the article. For instance, if you are looking at a page of search results, try clicking into the detail page for a particular article and try using the Web importer for that.
  • Try an alternative method of adding the document details to Mendeley. This usually involves exporting a file and opening it in Mendeley or importing it to Mendeley Web. See Exporting from online resources.
  • Try uninstalling and re-installing the web importer.

I am importing references into Mendeley and they are incomplete. Can I update them?

How can I share my Mendeley Library with a colleague?

You can create a Group to share references with other people using Mendeley. For more information about the different types of Groups, please see Sharing References - Mendeley Groups.

I don't understand how the folders work. Are my references duplicated?

In Mendeley desktop you can create folders by using the buttons at the top of the screen. When a reference is selected, you can see which folder it is in because the folder will be shaded pale grey. In this image, the reference selected by Hamilton is in the folder called Genetics.

mendeley desktop showing options for adding folders

To move a file into a folder in Mendeley Desktop, click and drag.

Note that it is useful to think of folders as labels. When you put a reference in a folder, you are not really moving it, you are in effect labelling it. So the reference will always stay in All documents even if you add it to, or remove it from, a folder. You can also add references to multiple folders.


Where are the PDF attachments stored on my computer?

When you add PDFs from the web to your Mendeley account, if you synchronise the web and desltop accounts, you'll see that the PDF file attachments are synchronized too.

For Desktop@UCL computers the PDFs are actually stored in :

C:\Users\[your ucl userID]\AppData\Local\Mendeley Ltd\Mendeley Desktop\Downloaded

If you are using Windows 10 you should find the PDFs at:

C:\Users\My PC\AppData\Local\Mendeley Ltd\Mendeley Desktop\Downloaded

You might find the AppData is hidden. Click on View and then Hidden items to see hidden folders.

Other operating systems:

Mac OS X: /Users/[your username]/Library/Application Support/Mendeley Desktop/

Linux: ~/.local/share/data/Mendeley Ltd./Mendeley Desktop/

Can I use my Mendeley Desktop Library when I'm offline or have a weak Internet connection?

mendeley login boxIf you anticipate you will want to use your Mendeley Desktop when you are offline or when you have a weak or unstable Internet connection then we recommend that you tick the 'stay signed in' box whilst logging in. If you do not tick this box you will find that if you close the Mendeley Desktop app you will be automatically logged out and unable to reopen it whilst you remain offline.