Reference management software

A reference management software is a useful tool for academic writing – for students as well as researchers. Regardless of whether you are writing a short piece of work or an academic article, you will need to refer to other research in accordance with a specific citation style; something that is complicated and time-consuming if done manually.

A private secretary? Well, that would be one way to describe a reference management software.

Basically it involves systematically gathering, organising, reading and citing other research of various types while you are studying or conducting research. By creating a system for this, you will above all save time and avoid doing the same job twice. Hopefully, systematic collection of literature makes the research process more structured and transparent. Ultimately, this system can also prevent inadvertent plagiarism.

A reference management software helps you to:

  • collect references to articles, books, reports, etc.,
  • save and organise references in a library,
  • import references into your text in Word, and
  • create correct citations and reference lists consistent with various citation styles.



Endnote is a stand-alone piece of software that can be downloaded to your computer, currently in version X9. The paid-for version of this software is mainly used by doctoral students and researchers who have greater functionality, performance and flexibility requirements, as opposed to the simpler online version. Endnote also has an iPad app.

Employees of KI who want to install Endnote need to contact the license representative at their department, who will download the software from the Uppsala University software server and take care of administrative matters. There is no general Endnote license for KI, as there is at other universities. To a certain extent, this reflects an ambition to be software neutral, and that it is up to the individual researcher and/or department to decide which software they want to use.

The majority of what you need to know about Endnote is contained in our Endnote X9 guide.

In addition, there is plenty of information on the Endnote website, where you can also download style templates for thousands of different journals.

If you would like to buy Endnote for your personal use, you are directed to the company Alfasoft.

Endnote Online

Endnote Online is, as its name suggests, a cloud-based version of Endnote, which can currently be used free of charge. However, as a student or researcher at KI you are given access to additional functions. Use this log in button:

Create an account / Log in to Endnote Online

Because the software is cloud-based, you access it via a web browser, which can be an advantage compared to the Endnote program as this is tied to a specific computer. However, in both cases you do need to download an add-on for Word, which is used to import references into your text.

All you need to know in order to get started with Endnote Online is included in the university library's guide: Endnote Online Guide

Vancouver KI

In Endnote Online, you'll find a modified output style based on the Vancouver style called "Vancouver KI". In this modified output style, some information are excluded, for example "Epub". The bibliography also have a hanging indent.

If you have the Endnote program installed on your computer, you may download the output style Vancouver KI (.ens-file).


As with Endnote, Mendeley comes in the form of a client and as an online version, but is also available for iPhone and iPad. Using Mendeley is free of charge, but the paid-for version has additional functions and storage space.

The main difference between Mendeley and Endnote is the collaborative possibilities. You create a personal profile in the software and become part of Mendeley's global research network. You add information to the profile about your research area, departmental affiliation, publications, etc. a bit like a public CV on the web.

And, as on Facebook, you can become "friends" with colleagues you work with, and thus be continually kept up to date with their activity on Mendeley. You can also create groups, open or closed, to share references and full text articles.

If you're interested to try it out, use the Mendeley – a short guide


Zotero is a free reference management software. You download it as a plugin to your web browser and to your word processing software. Zotero is compatible with Word, LibreOffice and Google Docs. 

You can easily save your references to Zotero with a small icon in the address bar of your browser. Just click on the icon and Zotero will save your references from books, articles, web pages and other kinds of sources. Your Zotero library is stored locally on your computer but by syncing it you will access it from many computers. 

Do you need help? Use the quick guide to Zotero from Uppsala University Library.

Which software should I choose?

There is an abundance of reference management software to choose between. The table below contains a comparison of Endnote, Endnote Online and Mendeley with two other programs: Zotero and Papers. These also have many advantages and are used by both students and researchers.

Endnote Endnote Online Zotero Mendeley Papers
Primary target group Researcher Student Student Researcher/Student Researcher
Free Not free Free Free Free up to a certain point Not free
Compatible with Word Word Word, Open Office, Google Docs Word, LibreOffice Word
Apps Yes No No Yes Yes
Include fulltext PDF Yes, also automatically Yes Yes Yes Yes
Annotation in PDF's Yes No No Yes Yes
Collaboration To a certain pont Yes, share groups of references Yes, share groups of references Yes, also sharing fulltexts and annotations ?
Journal titles Automatic abbreviation No Automatic Automatic No
Edit / create styles Yes Not as an end user, but the library can edit styles through an admin account Yes Yes

Create, but not edit styles

If you want to know more there is more detailed information on each program's website. In addition you can in most cases download a free trial version.

The library at Imperial College, London, provides a more comprehensive comparison


Students can get help with Endnote Online at the library.

Mon – Fri 10:00 – 15:00 (Flemingsberg) and 11:30 – 13:00 (Solna). Drop-in! The day before All saints day, 1 Nov., closed.
08-524 84 000

Researchers at KI can get help with Endnote from the Library Research Support.

Mon – Fri 9:00 – 16:00.
08-524 84 000


Many undergraduate programs offers an integrated course in Endnote Online. This will be shown in your regular schedule.

Introductory courses in Endnote, which is open to all interested, regardless of connection to KI, are also offered on a regular basis in Swedish or English. We also offer basically the same introductory course in different doctoral programs, where Mendeley is also an option. Look in our calendar to see when these courses are being held.

We also organize courses to specific groups, for example departments at KI or government agencys.

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