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BibDesk is a bibliographic reference manager for OS X. BibDesk is designed to help organize and use bibliographic databases in BibTeX .bib format. In addition to manual typing, BibDesk lets you drag-and-drop or cut-and-paste .bib files into the bibliographic database and automatically opens files downloaded from PubMed. BibDesk also keeps track of electronic copies of literature on your computer and allows for searching your database through several keys.

BibDesk integrates well with TeX for creating citations and bibliographies. This integration includes a Citation search completion service, and drag-and-drop more...

What's New

Version 1.6.2:

New Features

  • Allow username/password identification in ISI World of Science search groups
  • Allow editing search bookmarks
  • Support Quick Look in orphaned files finder and file matcher
  • Allow phrase searching
Bugs Fixed
  • Fix abstract import from RIS
  • Spotlight search editors for publications without an more...


OS X 10.6 or later

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BibDesk User Discussion

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Osos10 Member IconReview+139

Last time I reviewed this application was almost 8 years ago. Since then it is just getting better and better. It is stable and faster than ever. A real lifesaver, thanks the developers.

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Version 1.6.2
Benesch Member IconReview+4

I have been using this program for many years, in combination with Lyx and Skim. I am not a power user, but the automatic filing was easy enough to set up. Highly recommended for Academics!

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Version 1.5.8
Amartsin Member IconComment+4

WARNING: Would not run under OS X 10.4 (PB G4).

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Version 1.5.1
joachimr Member IconReview+13

After using Endnote (when it was still a Mac product) and then Bookend and trying Sente, this is my absolute fav app, especially since it allowed me to toss Word. I use it for organize (very effortlessly) all my research and even my drafts in a Lyx - BibDesk combination. Perfect integration (as BibDesk basically edits the BibTeX file you need for Lyx). I strongly suggest for all folks who are frustrated with MS Word to give these two apps a try. Tons of other users are willing and able to support you and there's tons of information available on various user groups. I only wish that it would not have to index the content of PDFs each time you want to search (only one time until you close the app).

Reply1 reply
Version 1.3.21

BibDesk does index the contents of attached files (such as PDFs) only once. In fact, it even caches the index between launches. Note that indexing a large number of attached files can take a while, and for that matter BibDesk can even divide the long indexing process over several launch sessions. Probably what you think is a re-indexing is in fact a continuation of the indexing process, or an integrity check that BibDesk always does automatically when it loads a cached index.

mpez Member IconComment+70

Using Bibdesk + Textmate + Latex for my science thesis. A little bit of a learning curve if you are new to these tools, but well worth it - so much more robust than the other options. The new features of Bibdesk such as being able to import references from webpages are welcome. A great product, just give it a little time.

Reply1 reply
Version 1.3.21

Hi, I'm about to embark on the scientific thesis process and have actually been on a search for a reference managing program (have been grappling with zotero at the moment), which is when I came across your review of Bibdesk.

Could I ask you for some more advice on using Bibdesk in combination with Latex + Textmate? I'm completely new to this world so would very much appreciate any help at all.


Mark Everitt Member IconComment+276
Mark Everitt

For some who use this it may be worth looking into CiteULike


It allows you to upload pdf files, and if you navigate to a journal's website you can automatically get all the details for the paper and it will assemble the bibtex for you. It's neat because I can get hold of my papers wherever I am and searching in it is nice too.

Before CiteULike I used JabRef a lot.

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Version 1.3.18
Rae Member IconReview+2

I was very happy to see a free app that dose the job as reference manage, however,it crashes easily. Just then I tried to use this app again to see if it had improved, but it crashed the moment I started. Thinking back, I still remember the frustration of needing to attach files by hand which bugs me when I have lots of PDFs. The worst thing is that when it crashes, I lost all the data I entered. T_T
Another minor issue: there is no scroll left or right when browsing a webpage.

If you have lots of articles and need to work with papers for a long time, Sente is better. Otherwise, this app should work as well.

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Version 1.3.18
fxt Member IconComment+3

it took me awhile to warm up to bibdesk,
but at this point i couldn't operate efficiently without it. a "must have" if you're into refereed journal literature.

are donations accepted?


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Version 1.3.17
rcn Member IconReview+9

Perhaps the best designed Mac application there is. It's a shame that more people aren't aware of BibDesk and end up buying one of the competitors instead. BibDesk makes managing large collections of pdfs easy, and you don't need to know anything about bibtex to use it.

In fact, one of the best things about BibDesk is how well it integrates with Skim, the pdf reader/annotation app. Manage your database with BibDesk, double click on a pdf to open it with Skim, do all your highlighting and note taking, and when you go back to BibDesk your highlights and notes are waiting there as searchable text! In fact, it is simple to search across the entire text of a large library - searching both the text of the pdfs and your own notes.

The screenshot (maybe it is time for a new one?) really doesn't begin to show you how well this program is designed or all of the features (including integration with a number of online databases). If you're looking for anything near the bibliography/note taking realm, I strongly suggest you give BibDesk a try.

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Version 1.3.16
Lugal Member IconReview+1

BibDesk is absolutely wonderful software, far better than any other BibTex manager I've ever used. I've been using BibDesk heavily for a few years (writing my dissertation), and the only problem that I've ever had was fixed by the developers on the same day that I reported it.

It's a deep program, with lots of features that I don't use, so it might seem a little overwhelming to the uninitiated, but it's so good that anyone who needs to manage a large bibliography--even if they don't use BibTex--really should try it out.

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Version 1.3.13
user icon+59
Version 1.6.2
user icon+7
Version 1.5.4
user icon+0
Version 1.5.4
user icon+0
Version 1.5.4
user icon+5
Version 1.5.4
user icon+139
Version 1.5.4
> 5 18


Current Version (1.x)


Downloads 47,343
Version Downloads 2,586
License Free
Date 10 Dec 2013
Platform Intel 64 / OS X / Intel 32
Price Free
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