Migrating from Papers to Mendeley

Moving your reference library from Papers to Mendeley

Now that I am coming to the end of my graduate student career there were some choices that I had to make in the academic domain. One of these choices was how would I manage my literature library once I had to give up access to my lab issued mac and the papers subscription. I liked papers because my advisor introduced me to it as my first reference manager and I used it ever since. This also meant that I overlooked a lot of equally good options that are freely available like Mendeley. Do not get me wrong, I REALLY like Papers but the problem is that I plan to setup a linux box in a month or so as my primary personal computing device and Papers does not have a linux version. So, I chose to go with Mendeley which does have a number of versions for different flavors of linux.

The first task for me was to make sure that Mendeley was using some sort of backend storage to keep my literature stored, good news: it does (free version: up to 2GB). The rest of the story is quite simple:

  1. Open Papers. Go to File -> Export -> Click on PDF Files and Media

  2. This will open a file explorer window, navigate to the location where you want Mendeley to read the files from (this may mean that you will create a new folder) and click Export. The process will take a few minutes to complete and Papers might stop responding for that time. If you start to worry, go to the folder where you are exporting the PDFs and check if files are getting added to it.


  3. Once the above process is complete, open Mendeley. Navigate to File -> Click on Add Folder

  4. A window will open asking you to select the folder where you saved the files from Papers and click OK. Mendeley should take care of the rest and import your files. 🙂



Disclaimer: Icons of Papers and Mendeley and all trademarks associated with them are the property of their respective owners.


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