How-to series: Drag and drop PDF links into Mendeley for direct download [part 2 of 12]

Here’s our second instalment of our twelve part series of short how-to blog posts. We previously looked at how to merge author names in Mendeley Desktop. This time, we’ll demonstrate how easy it is to download a file directly into Mendeley by simply dragging and dropping a PDF link into the desktop application.

One of the easiest actions you can perform on any computer is the drag & drop. Select a file, drag it over a folder and that’s it. No copy, no paste, no command line, no nada. Drag and drop, virtual physical file manipulating joy.

To make things even easier to import files into Mendeley, you can simply drag and drop a (directly accessible) link for a PDF document in your browser directly into Mendeley Desktop and it will be downloaded and incorporated into your library. That’s right. Take a look at the following short video:

Although this is a great trick, it doesn’t necessarily work well with all browsers. However, I’ve tried it with Firefox and it’s worked quite well.

In our next quick how-to entry we’ll be looking at BibTeX in Mendeley Desktop.

Previous How-to series entries:

How-to series: How to merge author names [part 1 of 12]

Features, many and useful features. That is what this blog post series is going to be about. If you’ve used Mendeley for a while, you’ll probably already have picked up on some of the following features and tips we’ll be showcasing over the next few weeks. However, I’m sure even some of these will be new to most of our readers, Mendeley veterans or newcomers.

Today’s how-to is a really nice and simple one: how to merge author names.

As you accumulate research papers and references in your library, you’ll find that sometimes the same author may be published with variations of the same name. P. Harvey, Pete Harvey, P. S. Harvey, etc. If this is in fact the same person, it becomes a bit of a mess if you want to filter your references by Author Name. In this case, you can use a simple technique to merge author names together to a single name of your choosing.
Here’s a quick step by step look at how this is accomplished:

  1. In the top left panel, select “All Documents”.
  2. Now, in the bottom left panel, scroll to the author name(s) you’d like to merge.
  3. Select the author name that you want to change and drag it onto the name that you want to keep.
  4. Click OK to accept the merge if that’s what you want.

Here’s a nice short video showing how this is done:

Our next entry in this twelve-part how-to series will show you how to easily drag and drop a PDF or PDF link into Mendeley Desktop for easy import. Stay tuned.

Self-archiving with Mendeley

Keeping with the Open Access week spirit, we’re taking this opportunity to show you how to publicly share your own research on Mendeley. Making it openly available for others to easily access means they are more likely to cite you in their own publications, and also allows your colleagues to build upon your work faster.

When you sign up for a Mendeley user account, a researcher profile is created for you. On this page, along with your name, academic status, and short bio, you will also see a section titled “Publications”. This section is where you can display work you’ve published or perhaps even work that’s not yet published.

So how do you add your publications to that list? Just drop your papers into the My Publications folder in Mendeley Desktop. Let me show you how, step by step.Read More »

HOWTO: Use Mendeley to create citations using LaTeX and BibTeX.

[Editor’s Note–We thought you’d like to know: this 2011 post is a bit dated. Find current info on Mendeley’s citation abilities here, and in the Mendeley Guides.]

Multiplatform, free, and powerful. I could be using these terms to describe Mendeley Desktop, but what I’m going to write in this blog post is about something else, something called LaTeX and BibTeX. For those of you that are unfamiliar with LaTeX, it’s:

a high-quality typesetting system; it includes features designed for the production of technical and scientific documentation.

And now let me introduce you to BibTeX too:

Read More »

Mendeley iOS app gets an update

Having access to your library on multiple platforms is a feature that we are quite proud to provide to our users. Windows, Mac and Linux users can easily organize their research libraries and keep these data accessible via the synchronization capabilities. This availability is not limited to computers but rather any device that can access a web browser. Furthermore, if you own an iOS device such as an iPad or iPhone, there is an app for that too! Read More »

Mendeley University Advisor applications pouring in…

Mendeley University AdvisorWoooaah! Since we started up our University Advisor program a couple weeks ago, we have been receiving a flood of applications from across the globe.

We are extremely humbled by the sheer number of researchers, professors and students that have shown their interest in spreading the word at their hosting institutions.

We are currently working through the long list of applicants as fast as we can. If you’ve applied to become a university advisor and have not yet heard from us, do not despair. We get back to everyone that has applied.

As we work hard to get things moving along smoothly and streamlined, we will keep our application form open. There’s still time to claim your spot. Apply to represent your institution.

Mendeley Desktop v0.9.7 Released

If you have opened Mendeley Desktop since yesterday, you will have noticed that we have a new major release available and ready for auto-update.

Among the new features and improvements we would like to mention the re-designed Document Details pane on the right-hand side.

Mendeley PDF and side pane document details

Also new to this release is the ability to upgrade your Mendeley account. By upgrading your current free account (which will always be free!) to one of our premium options, you have access to more Web space for your personal and shared collections and the possibility to collaborate with larger groups.

Mendeley upgrade plans

Overall, there have been a lot of improvements made both on the interface and functional level with clearer dialogs and information display. For our Mac users, there have been quite a few UI improvements too and the Cmd+H shortcut properly hides the window!

This release includes a few bug fixes, improvements on existing features such as faster syncing and better sticky notes, and introduces some important new features. The release notes can be seen here.

If you have suggestions for improvements please let us know by visiting the feedback forum. If you encounter any problems using Mendeley or have questions to ask please e-mail support.

Mendeley’s one-click web importer now saves webpage snapshots

Mendeley's Web Importer saving a snapshot

NOTE: The web snapshot feature has been deprecated due to lack of use. (Updated: 13th Nov 2013)

I recently wrote a blog post about one of Mendeley’s great features, the web importer. Promising an update at the end of the last post, I can now say that the newest cool thing that the importer can do is save webpage snapshots.

What this means is that not only can you import references from an ever growing list of supported sites but you can now save a snapshot of an actual webpage in your library.

The web importer saves a static HTML file with an exact snapshot of the webpage you are visiting and, if available within the webpage’s HTML, extract any relevant metadata.

Given the growing need to cite from websites, the ability to store a snapshot of a webpage is definitely a great new addition to the web importer’s features.

I know I’ll be using it, how about you?

To get the web importer, visit:

Mendeley’s one-click web importer

As a long-time Mendeley user, I can say that one of the features that I happen to really enjoy using is the one-click web importer. It was not available when I started using Mendeley to organize my references but when it was implemented, it made my work so much easier.

When starting work on a new project, there is normally an initial phase of your work-flow that consists of performing searches on websites for available literature on the desired topic.

You query the search sites with keywords, open each link that seems of interest, read the abstract and when available download the paper (PDF document). If you happen to be searching on many sites and downloading many papers, this can be a bit repetitive.

Repetitive work is normally tedious and time is usually short. So, what if you could easily download references and their respective PDF documents (when accessible) with a simple click of the mouse?

Mendeley’s one-click web importer enables you to add references (and their PDF documents) to your Mendeley reference library from within your favorite browser. All you need to do is add the web bookmarklet to your browser bar and you will be able to easily add documents to your library from a growing selection of websites like PubMed, IEEE Xplore, Google Scholar, CAT.INIST or PLoS, just to name a few.

Mendeley Web Importer supported sites

So I know what you are thinking: “Great, there’s a simple way to add documents to my Mendeley library while searching in my favorite browser. Show me how!

OK, here is how…

First, you need to add the bookmarklet to your browser bookmark bar. Do this by either dragging the link directly to the bookmark bar from the Mendeley web importer page or by going to Mendeley Desktop menu Tools > Install Web Importer. Once that’s done, you should be good to go.

Let’s give it a try by opening up Google Scholar and performing a search for your favorite keyword(s). Let’s say your keywords of interest are “Synthetic Biology”, the Google Scholar results should be something like so:


Let us assume there are a few papers that you’d like to add to your library, so you click on the Mendeley web importer bookmarklet and a pop-up window opens. You are presented with a very similar list of references as those presented by Google Scholar with some extra options. Let me point a couple of these extras out (see image highlight):

Mendeley Web importer

Once you’re done importing the documents into your Mendeley library, they are stored in your Mendeley Web account. To be clear, the references are always stored in your library but the actual PDF files may not be imported if they are not openly accessible to Mendeley’s servers.

Side note: If the PDF documents you want to import to Mendeley are not openly accessible but you have access to them via your institutional network/proxy, there is a simple way of adding the document directly to Mendeley Desktop. Simply drag & drop the link to the PDF file and Mendeley Desktop will automatically download the file and auto-extract the document details. Let’s just call this our little secret work-around while it’s not yet fully possible via the web importer, OK?

Getting back to where we were, to have the newly imported documents made available on your computer, simply open Mendeley Desktop and click “Sync Library”.

There you go, without having to download papers one by one or opening multiple web pages, you can easily import documents into your Mendeley library using the one-click web importer.

As mentioned above, the list of supported sites keeps growing and if you would like to see another site added to the list, please feel free to contact us. The web importer also supports any sites using COinS.

Like I said before, the web importer is one of Mendeley’s features that I really enjoy using. How has your experience been using it?

Quick update: The Mendeley team is hard at work finishing up an upcoming feature for the Web Importer that will allow users to store local copies of webpages!