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Reference Management Software: Home

This guide will introduce you to the variety of Reference Management Software NTU Library supports and give you tips on how to make the most out of them.

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Which one should I use?

Use our LibGuide to self explore Zotero, Mendeley and EndNote.

Here are some factors to consider when deciding on which software works best for you:

Why should I choose Zotero?

  • Zotero is an open source software.
  • Zotero provides one of the easiest methods to collect references in PDF format and others.
  • Zotero is useful for diverse research content and is compatible with many different formats.

Why should I choose Mendeley?

  • Mendeley has a free basic version that is available.
  • Mendeley has useful features to handle PDF easily.
  • Mendeley provides a platform for Social Networking.

Why should I choose EndNote?

  • EndNote is encouraged for user who need it for 'Systematic Review'

Introduction to Reference Management Software

This guide is created to introduce some common Reference Management Software to you that can be used to manage large numbers of references for your writing assignments or research papers. You may refer to the individual software by clicking on the tabs above.

Zotero, Mendeley and EndNote are some popular reference management software.


Reference Managers Compared

(FREE version)
(FREE version)
EndNote Online
(FREE version)
EndNote Desktop
Ease of Use
Easy to learn and use Easy to learn
and use

Easy to learn
compared to
EndNote desktop   

Learning curve is steep
Operating systems
Windows, Mac and Linux Windows and Mac Windows and Mac Windows and Mac
Works Offline
Yes No No Yes
PDF file handling
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Duplicate detection
Yes Yes Yes Yes

Edit output styles

Yes Yes No Yes
Share & collaborate
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Figures & Charts
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Features useful for Systematic Review
No No No Yes



Zotero is an alternative reference management software which can be used as a desktop version ( or as a web based program. It has useful features like:

  • It is completely free and easy to download
  • It has easy import features so you can populate your reference library with ease
  • You can easily share your references with as many collaborators as you would like
  • You can easily Cite while you Write with any word processor.

To find out more, click on the Zotero tab above. 



Mendeley​ is a reference management software which can be used as a desktop version ( or as a web based program. It has features to:

  • Import references easily via a browser plugin or PDF
  • Share and annotate references as a group
  • Cite While you Write in most word processors in your assignments or research papers

To find out more, click the Mendeley tab above.

EndNote 20

EndNote 20 is the latest version of a reference management software which can be used as a desktop version ( or as a web based program.

It contains features to:

  • Keep all your references and reference-related materials in a searchable personal Library
  • Share your references with collaborators (or classmates) through EndNote Sync
  • Use your references to populate written assignments or research papers with both in text citations and reference lists in word processors such as Microsoft Word


Other Useful Tools

There are many free software that would help you create citations to copy and paste into your writings. However, using Reference Management Software such as the above would make the process more seamless.