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Annotating PDFs

Mendeley contains features that allow for PDF annotation within the Desktop software.

Simply double-click on a reference with a PDF attached, or right-click it and select 'Open File' and it will open in a new window within Mendeley Desktop. 

pdf window screenshot


Across the top of the screen are features such as Select, Note, Highlight, and Zoom, which allow you to read and annotate your PDF file.

pdf annotating slide screenshot


Use the Notes tab on the right-hand panel to add a general note, or click in/select text and use the Note button on the top menu to highlight and add a sticky note to that particular place in the document. You canchange the colour of the highlight using the Color button on the top menu also.

sticky notes screenshotgeneral notes screenshot


All notes will be listed in the right-hand panel, so you can click on a stick note and it will take you to the specific point in the paper that was higlighted.

Sharing PDFs in Groups

Files such as PDFs can only be shared in Private Groups, to protect access to copyrighted material.

(See our Groups box for more information on creating and managing Groups in Mendeley.)

Once a document has been shared with a private group, all members have the ability to download and read that item.

By accessing the shared paper through the private group, all group members have the ability to make use of Mendeley's highlighting, note-making and annotation functions on a single, shared version of the paper.

This allows you to highlight or add notes to draw your collaborator's attention to a particularly relevant section, or to provide further details as required.
Each group member is assigned a unique color to help track who has made particular comments or highlighting. All comments will also contain a record of the user who made it and when it was made, to help you make sense of the notes.
group annotations screenshot
The Notes tab of the right-hand panel in Mendeley Desktop provides an overview of all the comments made within a paper, and also allows you to jump to the specific location a collaborator has identified when writing their note. Annotations are split into Private and Group sections, so you won't lose any of your individual work when sharing a PDF with a group.

Import from PDF files or folders

See our Import from files page (under the Add references tab).

Rename document files

Mendeley has features which help you organise the files associated with your Library of references.

To backup, sort or set a default naming convention for your added files:

1. Navigate to Tools > Options > File Organizer

2. Click the check box next to Organize my files and select where you want to save your backup

3. If desired, click the check box next to Sort files into subfolders. Drag the bubbles from 'Unused fields' to 'Folder path' or vice versa to customise how files will be sorted. Check the example to make sure it is organised in the way you prefer

sort files screenshot

4. If desired, click the check box next to Rename document files. Drag the bubbles from 'Unused fields' to 'File name' or vice versa to customise how files will be named. You can also choose how to separate the fields using the dropdown menu. Check the example to make sure it is organised in the way you prefer

rename document files screenshot

5. Click OK to apply your changes. A folder should have been created in the destination you set, with the files organised and named by the conventions you chose.

Note: You need to check your newly created folder, as if Mendeley cannot find the field data (ie year or author) in the file metadata it will sort the document into a folder titled 'Unknown'. You may need to rename or re-sort these files manually.