How do you know which citation manager is right for you?

Check the chart below which compares the citation managers we support, and consider questions such as:

  • What is the norm in your field? What do your collaborators use?
  • Do you prefer a Web-based tool, or one that is installed on your computer?
  • Will you be sharing citations or your database with others?

Mendeley is a good choice for many undergraduates. It is free, web-based, and easy to use.

It's not a lifetime commitment - you can change citation managers. And you can use more than one citation manager and move citations from one type of manager to another.

Consider taking a library workshop on a particular citation manager, or a session introducing all the features that they share.

Citation Manager Comparison

 
EndNote Desktop Mendeley
Cost
 Free to U of M students, staff, & faculty Desktop: $115.95 (version X7 academic pricing as of Aug. 2016) at U of M Bookstore Free for basic edition Free
Access
 Access free from Web Of Science

Desktop: software (Mac/PC) Allows work offline
 

Download a desktop version—allows offline use and online version at Mendeley

Firefox plugin or standalone versions available for download at Zotero
Use on computer or flash drive or sync across computers
Allows work offline
 
Collaboration
Share libraries with other EndNote users and citations via EndNote Basic Share your library with up to 14 other EndNote Desktop users Create shared groups for citations but limited sharing for pdf's Create group libraries and sync through Zotero
Audience

Good for undergraduate level research and collaboration.

Good for users who write a lot of papers and for long term research projects. 
 
Good choice for papers for classes

Good choice if you already have a lot of pdfs for your research.
Good choice for papers for classes. Best choice for capturing web-based sources (non-journal)
Ease of Use

 Moderately easy

Desktop version is more difficult to learn. Moderately easy
Easy

Importing Citations

... from library databases
Yes
Yes Yes
Yes
... from library catalog
 Yes
Yes Yes
Yes
... from websites
Save manually
Save manually Yes
Yes
PDF annotations & highlighting No Yes Yes

No

3rd party software options available

Storage Capacity & 
Limited to 10,000 references

Unlimited

 

2GB for free 

More space available for a fee.

300 MB for free. More space available for a fee.
Notes & Tags
Can add notes and tags. 
Can add notes and tags. Can add notes and tags
Can add notes and tags.
Word Processing Software Compatibility

Cite-While-You-Write: MS Word and OpenOffice
Also  Rich Text Format (RTF) & Open Document Format (ODF) documents.

Cite-While-You-Write: MS Word and OpenOffice
Also  Rich Text Format (RTF) & Open Document Format (ODF) documents.
MS Word Plugin, Open Office, and BibTex

 
Word Processor Plugins for MSWord, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, & Google Docs
Citation Styles

 

All major styles. Can request custom styles.
 

All major styles. Can edit and create new styles. All major styles. Can edit and create new styles. All major styles. Can edit and create new styles.

Find comparisons of a more comprehensive list of citation managers at Wikipedia's Comparison of reference management software

 

Additional Resources

 

Citation Management Tools Guides