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EndNote: Citation Management

How to install and get started using the various EndNote versions

Which Citation Tool?

You cannot go wrong choosing any of the tools, but it helps if you take a few things into consideration before starting. Remember that you can switch between the tools, it just becomes less convenient the longer you use a tool and the more file attachments you collect.

Some reasons to choose EndNote:

EndNote Research Guide

  • Zotero and Mendeley are relatively young tools when compared to EndNote. EndNote 20 offers some additional features that might be necessary for your discipline and work flow.
  • There are two versions of Endnote -- a stand alone desktop program and EndNote Online, a cloud-based version. If you want to use both, they can be synced so that you have the same references (from a single desktop library) in both places.
  • EndNote 20 is not free but SDSU has a license for faculty, staff, and students to download it free
  • EndNote Online is free. Setting up both Online and desktop EndNote and syncing them means you can add citations from any computer with cloud access
  • Storage limit: EndNote online via the Web of Science provides 2GB of storage with upgrade packages available.

Some reasons to choose Mendeley:

Mendeley Research Guide

  • Your research content is primarily contained in PDF files: Mendeley has an integrated PDF viewer and can create citation records just from importing a PDF file. has the strongest website and community platform.
  • Mendeley’s PDF viewer has excellent, easy-to-use, built-in capability.  You may also edit with another Mendeley user simultaneously.
  • Mendeley is owned by the for-profit publishing company Elsevier.
  • *Pricing structure: Mendeley follows the "freemium" model:  2 GB for the free version with additional storage available for purchase
  • For continuously updated Mendeley information and excellent help pages, check their website:

Some reasons to choose Zotero:

Zotero Research Guide

  • It gathers citation records for non-PDF and PDF content. Zotero's single-click capture works with many databases and websites, and works well with many catalogs, including WU Classic, MOBIUS, and WorldCat (FirstSearch interface)
  • You can also enable the retrieval of PDF metadata, which allows you to create citation records just from dragging a PDF into Zotero.
  • Zotero is open source and cannot be acquired by a company.
  • *Pricing structure: Zotero follows the "freemium" model:  300 MB for the free version with additional storage available for purchase
  • For continuously updated Zotero information, downloading, and excellent help pages, and forums, check their website: