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An overview of the citation software Mendeley- an Elsevier product that is an online and desktop reference manager.

Organizing Your Library: Desktop Mendeley

1.  To organize your references, use folders. Click on "Folders +" option. To create a new folder, give it a name, and hit Return.

2.   Click and drag references from the center column on to the Folder to add them.

A portion of the mendeley library, showing the buttons that allow you add a folder, remove a folder, and add documents and citations. Also shown is the existing folder structure in a library, which includes one folder titled "information" literacy and another that is "Untitled."

Organizing Your Library: Mendeley Reference Manager

1.  To organize your references, use collections. Under "collections" in the left hand menu, select "new collection", give it a name, and hit enter.

2.   Click and drag references from the center column to the Collection to add them.

Creating Bibliographies

For quick citations in most text editors, including Google Docs and Word, right click the item you want to cite in Mendeley and select "Copy Formatted Citation." Then, paste it into the document you are composing.

When you download Mendeley, you also have the option to download a plugin for Microsoft Word. This set of tools will appear in the "Ribbon" menu of Word underneath the "References" tab.

This plugin is best used once you have a library of citations and are ready to begin writing a manuscript of any length. To use the plugin, simply start writing your paper. It has two main functions: in text citations, and bibliographies.

In Text Citations

  • Insert these wherever your cursor is in your Word Document by clicking "Insert or Edit Citation" on the Word References ribbon.
    • Make sure the Mendeley software is running on your computer first, so the programs can interact with each other.
  • Once you click "Insert or Edit Citation," you will have access to the Mendeley Citation Editor. Use this to search for the document(s) you are wanting to cite. Click on the document(s) you need, and the Editor will begin formatting the citation.
  • Hit "Enter," and your in text citation will appear in your document.
  • If you need to edit that particular citation, simply select it with your cursor and click the "Insert or Edit Citation" button again.


  • This function is the most useful after you have entered some in-text citations into your paper.
  • Place the cursor where you want your bibliography to go. Then, select the "Insert Bibliography" button on the Word References ribbon.
    • Make sure the Mendeley software is running on your computer first, so the programs can interact with each other.
  • If you need to edit the bibliography to match newly added in-text citations, try "refreshing" your document with the toolbar button.

Mendeley comes with all of the major citation styles pre-installed, but occasionally you might have need of a specific one, or a specific edit of a major style. You can do this through the the "View" menu in Mendeley Desktop by selecting "More styles..."

Once within this separate menu, you can look for the title of the style you need by typing in the search bar. Click "use this style" on a new citation style to add it to your software.

You can also find the citation you are already using and right click it to choose "Edit Style." This will take you to the Mendeley Citation Style Language Editor online, which is a complex tool with its own set of user instructions.

Reading and Annotating PDF Documents

  1. Open a PDF in Mendeley's PDF viewer by double clicking on it in the central pane.
  2. Add highlights and notes by clicking on the Highlight or Note buttons on the menu.