Papers (software)

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ReadCube Papers Logo.png
Screen shot of new Papers
Screen shot of new Papers
Stable release
3.4.20 (Mac), 3.2.57 (Windows), / February 2019 (Mac)
Operating systemMac
TypeReference management software

Papers is a reference management software for Mac OS X and Windows,[1] used to manage bibliographies and references when writing essays and articles. It is primarily used to organize references and maintain a library of PDF documents and also provides a uniform interface for document repository searches, metadata editing, full screen reading and a variety of ways to import and export documents.


Papers was developed by Alexander Griekspoor and Tom Groothuis while studying towards their Ph.D.s at the Netherlands Cancer Institute.[2] Faced with working with hundreds of digital publications in PDF format, the pair worked on Papers to provide an iTunes-like approach to document management.[2] Papers was originally released as a public preview in February 2007, followed by the full 1.0 version a few months later. A new version of the software was released and put for sale in the third quarter of 2013, along with a new iPhone/iPad app. Both products went under a considerable amount of criticism from new and returning users, who experienced a number of issues, ranging from lost databases and annotations to incompatibility between mobile and desktop apps. Users criticised Mekentosj and Springer, respectively developer and owner of Papers, for putting up for sale a beta version of the software and their slowness in addressing problems that effectively rendered the software unusable.[3]

On March 16, 2016, ReadCube acquired Papers from Springer Nature for an undisclosed amount.[4]



With the release of Papers2 in March 2011, Papers now also offers full EndNote-style reference citation features. Papers2 allows for users to access their library and insert citations across many different applications, whether in documents, presentations, or in web browsers. Papers offers a familiar user interface and a number of features for collecting, curating, merging and linking articles.

A new version for Mac was released in late 2013: Papers 3. This version introduces a redesigned user interface and dropbox based syncing, which has subsequently being expanded to other cloud-based repositories.

As of November 1, 2018 Papers 3 is no longer available for sale and will no longer be actively developed. The new version of Papers is being developed by ReadCube.[5]

The newest version of Papers is currently in beta for Mac and will be released in Fall of 2019.


Papers 3 for Windows was first released in 2012 following the success of the Mac application. A new version, now Papers 3 for Windows, was released late July 2014 following the redesign of the Mac and iOS applications earlier. This version streamlines the user experience and the features available from the Mac application. Papers 3 for Windows also unified search to its platform. It supported Dropbox syncing between Mac and iOS devices running Papers 3 as well as Papers Online. The Windows version of Papers 3 has been withdrawn from sale and is no longer available.

The newest version of Papers is currently in beta and will be released in Fall of 2019.


The online version of Papers will run in any browser, on any operating system. Users can access their library by signing in through their institutional or personal email address. Libraries will automatically sync and have unlimited cloud storage.

iPhone and iPad[edit]

Versions of Papers are available for free from the iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPad. A version was released with the Papers 3 for Mac launch and features unified search on the iOS app as well. The newest version of Papers is available via the iTunes store. It has the article management features, and in addition to the standard annotation features the new Papers for iOS also features freehand annotations and supports Apple Pencil. Papers for iOS can be synchronized via the ReadCube Papers cloud storage.


Version of Papers is available for Android users and can be downloaded for free via Google Play. It automatically syncs to the Papers desktop and web applications.

Papers Online (legacy)[edit]

Papers Online is a new set of services released in conjunction with Papers 3 for Windows. It works across most platforms (Mac, iOS, and Windows) and offers users a means of sharing collections of articles. Papers 3 users can create shared collections and access them from a browser on any other device, and share this collection to be accessed by other Papers 3 users as well as individuals who are not currently using Papers 3. This version is no longer available.


All features are available for Mac/Windows/iOS/Android

  • Search & Download
    • Built-in search engines
    • Personalized recommendations
    • Related article feeds
    • Institutional proxy support
    • Web importing via browser
    • 1-click PDF downloads
    • Advanced search filters
  • Organizational Management
    • Easy importing tools from your desktop/other reference managers
    • Auto article meta-data matching
    • Full text library search
    • Advanced sorted & filtering
    • Manual & smart collections
    • #keyword tagging, labels & article ratings
  • Enhanced reading and annotating
    • Enhanced PDF viewing
    • Hyperlinked inline references, high-res figure browsers & auto-fetched supplements
    • Advanced article metrics (incl. citations, field & relative citation ratio, and Altmetric)
    • Inline and sticky notes, highlighting and drawing tools
    • Text to speech tool
  • Collaboration
    • Up to 5 private shared collections (PDFs/references)
    • Collaborate with up to 30 Papers users per collection
    • Share references, PDFs, notes, tags and PDF annotations
    • Article discussion summary
  • Citation Tools - SmartCite
    • Insert references from personal / shared libraries or use built-in search engine
    • 8000+ citation styles supported. Customize & import your own
    • Quick-copy of citations in bibtex, ris
    • Export reference list for use in third party citation tools like EndNote and Overleaf
    • Supports Word 2016+ and Google Docs
  • Cross-platform syncing
    • Unlimited cloud storage for your personal library
    • Sync your entire library including notes, lists, annotations, and highlights across all of your devices
    • Supports Desktop (Mac/PC), mobile (iOS/Android) and Web.


Papers won an Apple Design Award in 2007, for the best Mac OS X Scientific Computing Solution.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Love is… contagious: Announcing Papers for Windows". Announcing Papers for Windows. Archived from the original on 2012-04-26.
  2. ^ a b "Papers Spring into the Future". Mekentosj. November 5, 2012.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Existing Papers 3 users: accessing Papers 3 program files for additional device installs :". Retrieved 2019-09-03.

External links[edit]