I currently work with Mendeley. However, it has not everything that I would like it to have. I am searching for a reference manager with the following features:

  • built-in PDF reader with:
  • ability to tag documents
  • create bibtex citations
  • sort documents in (virtual) folders/"playlists" (as in e.g. Zotero)
  • extensive search abilities (is fine in Mendeley)

Does this exist? Or are there some kind of tweaks to add the mentioned features to Mendeley?

In the discussions of the links I have given above, is stated that Mendeley developers are working on this features. However, those topics exist for more than 5 years already. Does anyone have an idea whether they will be implemented in the near future?

  • 2
    You can do all those things with Mendeley: tag, create bibtex, folder sorting, annotate.
    – FraEnrico
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 12:16

2 Answers 2


Citavi has everything you want, except the ability to make notes with a pen (tablet). In the built-in pdf reader, documents can be annotated and highlighted. These annotations can be listed as "knowledge items". Documents can be grouped, tagged and organized in projects. Advanced search is available. BibTex export is possible.


As Najib Idrissi says, Docear is probably your best bet.

That pulls together three other programs - Freemind, Jabref, PDF-XChange or other PDF software. I would have just said Jabref + PDF-XChange would work for you except for your requirement to transfer highlighted text from the PDF to the reference manager. That requires the actual Docear version.

I personally find Docear frustrating for large projects because of the mind-mapping function, very space inefficient. If you can get away with simply writing your own notes, then Jabref + PDF-XChange (or other PDF software) will work.

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