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Citation Management : Mendeley

A guide for all things citation management.

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You can download the Mendeley desk top product and sign up for their online version.

Tips for Getting Started with Mendeley

Mendeley is a reference manager (and PDF organization tool for your hard drive) that serves as a bridge between your literature searches and finished papers. It is owned by Elsevier.

Adding References in the Desktop

Note that for each of these methods, the data Mendeley can scrape from a PDF depends on how clean the source data is — garbage in, garbage out.

  • Watched Folders. In Preferences (or Options, depending on your operating system), go to the Watched Folders tab. You can set Mendeley up to see whenever you download a new PDF to a folder. We recommend not Watching your Downloads folder, as Mendeley will attempt to import anything it finds there.
  • Importing Files and Folders. Drag and drop a PDF file or folder of PDFs into the desktop application. Mendeley will extract citation information for that file.
  • Entering Data Manually. Click the drop-down arrow beside the Add icon or go to File > Add Entry Manually ... to bring up the dialog box to import a file manually.
    • Note that if you have a PubMed ID or digital object identifier (DOI), you can normally use the magnifying glass tool to auto-populate the fields.

Adding References on the Web

Writing a Paper in Word

  • Mendeley should install and update the Word plugin by default. Check by visiting Tools > Install Word Plugin.
  • Note that depending on your version of Mendeley, the Word toolbar might appear under either References or Add-ins.
  • In Word, put the cursor where you would like a citation to appear. Click "Insert or Edit Citation" and look up a paper. Additional options for page numbers and other material in the parentheses can be found by clicking on the "Lastname Year"; in the text box.
  • You can also click "Go to Mendeley" in the dialog box, look for the citation there, and send the citation to Word.
    • This process is not obvious.
      • After you click "Go to Mendeley," two new buttons will appear in the icon panel between Sync and Help.
      • Once you select the citation(s), click the quotes icon.
    • Note that to add page numbers, you can edit the citation and pull up the additional options in the same way as the previous bullet.

Creating Your Bibliography

  • When using the Word plugin, click Insert Bibliography. You can change your citation style in the Mendeley toolbar or find more tools.
  • If you are coming into Mendeley at the last minute and would prefer not to use the Word plugin (or have a different word processor) due to time/setup constraints, the best way to get your references into your bibliography is to create a folder in Mendeley.
    • Drag and drop your references into that folder.
    • Navigate to that folder, select one of the references, and then click CTRL+A (PC) or Command+A (Mac). Right-click to pull up the menu and click Copy As > Formatted Citation.
    • You can paste that text into your document.
    • Note that you will need to be using the correct citation style first. That can be found in View > Citation Style.

Mendeley and LaTeX

  • Mendeley has many helpful features for citing in LaTeX.
    • In the Preferences or Options, navigate to the BibTeX tab.
    • Ensure that Escape Special Characters is selected.
    • You can also use journal abbreviations or set up Mendeley to sync a .bib file to a specific folder.
  • To copy .bib-formatted entries manually to paste into a .bib file (or into an online editor such as ShareLaTeX or Overleaf), first create a folder for your references.
    • Drag and drop relevant references into that folder.
    • Navigate to that folder, select one of the references, and then click CTRL+A (PC/Linux) or Command+A (Mac). Right-click to pull up the menu and click Copy As > BibTeX entry.
    • You can paste that text into your .bib file.
  • More information on citing in LaTeX is available on the Bib Your TeX guide.