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Folders offer a way to quickly filter your view of your library. 

To create a new folder, you can right click anywhere in the left panel of Mendeley Desktop and select ‘New Folder’, use the ‘Create new folder’ button that appears on the main toolbar or use the ‘Create folder…’ option that appears under ‘My Library’ in the left panel. Give your new folder a name.

To create a subfolder, use one of the above options when an existing folder is selected. This will create a new ‘child’ folder within the ‘parent’. Use the arrow that appears next to the parent folder to expand and collapse the list of children.

To add a reference to a folder, select it in the main panel, click and drag it onto the folder where it appears in the left panel. You can also add multiple papers at the same time.

create folder screenshot arrow iconsubfolders screenshot

You can also create folders using Mendeley Online. Just click 'Create Folder' and type in a name. When created, you can rename or remove it, and add a subfolder.

create folder mendeley online screenshotarrow iconadd subfolder mendeley online screenshot


Tags allow you to apply quick text labels to references in order to easily group them. Add tags (separated using semi colons) to the field found in the document details panel.

Retrieve tagged items using the Filter menu that appears in the bottom left corner of Mendeley Desktop. Choose ‘Filter by My Tags’ from the dropdown menu, and select the desired tag.

The filter menu is context-specific. Only tags used within the current view will be available to select. Make sure ‘All Documents’ is selected in order to select from the full list of tags.

You can also use the Filter menu to filter by publications, author name, and author-provided keywords.

edit and filter tags screenshot

Tips & Tricks

Q. Can I add a reference to more than one folder?

A. Yes. You are adding a 'copy' of the reference to the folder from your main Library.

Q. If I delete a reference from one of my folders, will it be deleted from the Library altogether?

A. No. You are deleting a 'copy' of the reference, so it will only be removed from the folder, not your main Library.

Q. If I delete a reference from my main Library, will it be deleted from my folder(s)?

A. Yes. This is because you are deleting the main reference.

Check for duplicates

As your library keeps growing, it’s difficult to recall if you’ve added a reference to your library or not. You might end up adding the same articles to your library twice. In most cases, Mendeley recognizes the article and keeps only one. In other cases, you’ll have to check for duplicates. This is as simple as selecting a folder and then selecting the 'Check for Duplicates' option in the Tools menu of Mendeley Desktop.

check for duplicates screenshot


From here, you simply select the fields you’d like to merge from the duplicates and click 'Confirm Merge'. See the video below.