Citation management

Citation managers are used to organize citation information and notes. Libraries experts can help select and use the right citation manager.

About citation managers

Citation managers are software packages used to create personalized databases of citation information and notes. They allow you to:

  • import and organize citation information from article indexes and other sources,
  • save pdfs and other documents,
  • format citations for your papers and bibliographies using APA, MLA, Chicago, Vancouver, and many other styles, and
  • include your own notes.

Get help choosing and using citation managers

Guide: Introduction to Citation Managers

When to use a citation manager

Citation managers help throughout a research workflow:

Topic building

  • Collect web resources in one convenient place where you will later collect your scholarly sources

Searching for sources

  • Download search results from a database
  • Save search results in one convenient place for future access

Reading and evaluating search results and sources

  • Organize sources you find by using folders and tags
  • Link to the full text of articles for reviewing and mining bibliographies for sources
  • Make notes, highlight, and annotate within a saved PDF or citation manager
  • Save and store PDFs for offline use and for use across devices

Writing your paper, incorporating notes and sources

  • Add citations directly to your paper

Finishing up

  • Automatically build a bibliography in many styles like APA and MLA
  • Switch between citation styles

Choose a citation manager

Citation manager experts at the University Libraries support EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero, and BibTex.

Explore the citation managers below, contact us for support, or attend a workshop

Related resources


Get Zotero

Zotero features

Free. Pay for more PDF storage.
Many citation styles
Works with
Microsoft Word, Google Docs
300 MB free
PDF reader
Unlimited groups and citation sharing
Extend Zotero with many useful 3rd party plug-ins

Zotero support

EndNote and EndNote Online

EndNote Desktop is a powerful citation manager that will allow you to organize large quantities of references for many projects. EndNote Online works either in conjunction with EndNote Desktop for collaboration or as a free stand-alone tool.

Get EndNote

EndNote features

Feature EndNote Desktop EndNote Online
Cost $150 (students)
$275 (non-students)
Styles Many citation styles All major styles
Works with Microsoft Word Microsoft Word
Storage Unlimited 50,000 references and 2GB file storage
PDF reader Yes No
Sharing Share libraries, groups, and citations with up to 100 collaborators Share citations and libraries with other EndNote users

EndNote support

Connecting EndNote to FindIt

You can link your EndNote account to the University of Minnesota’s FindIt system and access the full text articles to which the University Libraries subscribe.

  • Select Edit on the top EndNote menu and select Preferences.
  • On the left panel of the preferences menu that appears, select Find Full Text.
  • In the OpenURL Path enter
  • In the URL box under Authenticate With, enter
  • Hit Apply to save your changes

Known issues

EndNote and Mendeley Word plug-in compatibility

There is a known issue with EndNote working properly with Word when Mendeley is also installed on the computer. Having both running may cause problems with the Word plug-ins, with citations not being formatted when using EndNote with Word.

In order for EndNote to work properly, uncheck the box for the Mendeley Word add-in. For instructions, see the EndNote & Mendeley Word plug-in incompatibility work-around.


Mendeley Desktop discontinued as of September 1, 2022

Mendeley had been running two versions of their reference management system: the older Mendeley Desktop and newer Mendeley Reference Manager. They are discontinuing the old version (Mendeley Desktop) as of September 1, 2022. 

This will not affect the citations users have saved in either Mendeley version, but may affect the functionality of the software on your computer.

Current users of Mendeley Desktop will be able to continue using the discontinued application installed on their computers, but there will not be updates and it will not be compatible with future operating systems. 

All new users will only have the option to use Mendeley Reference Manager. Mendeley Reference Manager and the Mendeley Cite add-in for Word is web-based and, therefore, incompatible with the University’s OIT-supplied version of Office365. 

For temporary functionality, users can install the Mendeley Reference Manager Mendeley Cite add-in to Microsoft Word by first logging out of their UMN accounts.

Mac: In the Microsoft Word menu (next to the Apple icon), select Word>Sign out.

Windows: Select File>Account>Sign out

We recommend that all Mendeley users switch to Zotero. Instructions for this are at:

Get Mendeley

Mendeley features

Free. Pay for more PDF storage.
Many citation styles
Works with
Microsoft Word
2GB free
PDF reader
PDF sharing limited to 5 groups; unlimited citation sharing

Mendeley support


BibTeX is a bibliographic software program that is used in conjunction with the LaTeX typesetting software. You can use BibTeX to organize your references and create a bibliography within a document created with LaTeX.

  • BibTeX creates a bibliography file and each reference within the file is given a unique "key."
  • References are added to LaTeX by pointing to those keys.
  • References can be stored in any of the common citation managers and then output in a BibTeX format for addition to your BibTeX bibliography file.

How to use BibTex

This introductory BibTeX video introduces you to the basics of using BibTeX to add references to a paper being written in LaTeX. For more information, explore the Wikibook chapter on using BibTeX with LaTeX.

Instructions for using BibTeX with other citation managers