Citation Management Software Comparison

There are several systems that can help you manage your citations and your collection of PDFs. This table compares three of the most popular ones, all of which provide a free option that is usually good enough for most users.

  Zotero Icon
Zotero
Mendeley Icon
Mendeley
EndNote Icon
EndNote Basic
  Quick Start Guide Quick Start Guide Quick Start Guide
Developer
  • Roy Rosenzweig CHNM (Center for History and New Media)
  • Elsevier
  • Thomson Reuters
How does it work?
  • Website,
    Firefox browser extension, and desktop application
    (which can be synced across devices & with website)
  • Account & Installation info

Browser Compatibility

  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Internet Explorer 7-9
  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Internet Explorer 8-
Operating
System (OS) Compatibility
  • Windows
  • Macintosh
  • Linux
  • Windows
  • Macintosh
  • Linux
  • OS independent, 
    Website only
Word Processor Compatibility
  • MS Word
  • Open/Libre Office
  • Google Docs
  • MS Word
  • Open/Libre Office
  • MS Word
What does it look like?
What citation styles are available?
  • 20+ citation styles
Can I cite while I write? Can I create in-text citations, footnotes, and bibliographies?
  • Yes, with plugins
  • MS Word plugin (Win/Mac)
  • Open/Libre Office plugin (Win/Mac/Linux)
  • Google docs (when using Firefox plugin)
Does it support sharing articles and collaborative writing?
  • Unlimited groups, each with unlimited members
  • Private groups can share articles
  • Public groups share citations only
  • Group discussions available
  • One private group with up to three members (including group owner)
  • Unlimited public groups
  • Private groups can share articles
  • Public groups share citations only
  • Group discussions available
  • Up to 5,000 groups, each with up to 1,000 users
  • No public groups
  • Sharing citations only
Can I link to McMaster's full-text resources from my account?
  • No. As of February 2016, Mendeley is no longer openURL compliant.
  • Links to publisher websites are included, but accessing McMaster's full-text resources using those links may only work on-campus
  • Yes, openURL compliant
  • Automatically uses McMaster Libraries Get It links 
Can I add web pages to my account?
  • Save citations from a web page, or save the current web page itself
  • Save citations from a web page, or save the current web page itself
  • Save citations from a web page, or save the current web page itself
Can I save PDFs to my account?
  • Yes 
  • Yes
  • Yes 
What is the storage capacity?
  • 300MB (or 0.3 GB) of web storage
  • Unlimited on desktop (size restricted by local storage capacity)
  • 5GB of web storage
  • Unlimited on desktop (size restricted by local storage capacity)
  • 2GB of web storage
Can I add notes to entries in my account?
  • Write notes and add tags
  • Write notes and add tags
  • Write notes
Cost
Will I have access after I leave McMaster?
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Yes
Does it work on my mobile device (phone or tablet)?
Security
  • Cloud storage is optional (mandatory for collaboration)
  • Cloud data stored on U.S. servers
  • Cloud storage is mandatory
  • Cloud data stored on U.S. servers
  • Cloud storage is mandatory
  • Cloud data stored on U.S. servers

Adapted with permission from Western Libraries | Last Reviewed:  September 14, 2016