Comparing Citation Managers: Home

This guide compares features of citation managers Zotero, Mendeley and EndNote Web.

Citation Managers

Citation tools help you keep track of PDFs, citations and bibliographies during the course of your research projects. Many citation managers share some common features, so choosing one can be a bit confusing. Ask a Dupré librarian for help, or talk to researchers in your field to find out what they use and recommend.


  • Zotero is a strong choice for users whose research content is diverse. Its single-click capture makes it easy to gather citation records for both PDF and non-PDF content, including websites, databases, catalogs and audio and video files. Zotero also allows users to enable the retrieval of PDF metadata to create citation records just from dragging a PDF into Zotero.
  • Zotero is social and allows users to create profiles and public and private groups. It's great for sharing and collaboration!
  • Zotero is free, open source, and cannot be acquired by a company, so if you want to retain access to your reference libraries even if you lose your UL affiliation, choose Zotero or Mendeley.

See our Zotero guide for more information, including instructions on installing and using Zotero:


  • Mendeley is a strong choice for researchers whose primary research content is PDF files. It allows users to drag and drop PDFs into their libraries and extract the metadata to create a library. Users can also highlight and annotate PDFs and share them with others, as well as create collections of papers and share them via an RSS feed.
  • Mendeley is social and allows users to create profiles, follow other researchers, and create a network of people doing similar research. It also has a strong website and community platform.
  • Mendeley is owned and controlled by Elsevier, a for-profit academic publisher.
  • Mendeley's free version is limited to 2GB of web storage and 3 users per group, but users can purchase premium plans to upgrade storage space, users and shared groups.

  • EndNote Online (formerly EndNote Web) allows users to easily collect citation information from a wide variety of online sources including databases, catalogs and PDFs.
  • Users can share references with other EndNote Online users to simplify collaboration, and the "cite while you write" plug-in allows users to insert references and format citations and bibliographies instantly in Microsoft Word.
  • Reference storage is unlimited. The total amount of space available for file attachments in EndNote Online is 2GB.

Note:

  • Users who want a free citation management option should choose Zotero or Mendeley .
  • EndNote Online is available to UL affiliated users via Web of Science, or users can pay for an individual subscription.

Comparison Chart

  Zotero Mendeley EndNote Online Premium
Cost Free up to 300 MB / $20 for 2 GB / $60 for 6 GB Free Not free: Available to UL Lafayette affiliated patrons with CLID and password via Web of Science
Access Firefox add on or standalone Desktop application; web-based application Web-based application
Cross-platform Yes: Windows, OS X, and Linux Yes: Windows, OS X, and Linux Yes: Windows and OS X (use EndNote Online link at top of page)
Organize PDFs and other documents Yes Yes Yes
Annotate / highlight PDFs No Yes Yes
Selective syncing of documents Yes Yes Yes
Tagging Yes (with color tagging) Yes Yes (keywords)
Full text searching across PDFs Yes: not enabled by default Yes Yes
Private groups Yes Yes Yes
Public groups Yes Yes No
Community network Yes Yes No
Mobile app Yes: iOS and Android Yes: iOS and Android Yes: iOS

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License / Acknowledgment

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"Comparing Citation Managers" is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Content in this guide was adapted with permission from How to Choose: Zotero, Mendeley, or EndNote by Melissa Vetter at Washington University Libraries and from the "Mendeley Basics" guide from the University of Michigan Library, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.