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Research Guides@Tufts

Mendeley: The Basics

Mendeley is a free reference manager that can help organize your research by generating bibliographies, collaborating easily with other researchers online and by discovering the latest research.

Hirsh Library Cannot Provide Support for Mendeley

This guide is no longer be updated as of December 2021.

We recommend transferring your references to EndNote or Zotero, which we do support.

Installing Citation Plugin

The Mendeley citation plugin allows you to insert citations and create bibliographies in Microsoft Word and LibreOffice documents. 

To install the citation plugin, select Tools from the Mendeley menu bar.  Mendeley detects which compatible word processors you have installed, and displays the citation plugin options for those programs.  Choose the appropriate citation plugin. 

A box informing you that the plugin has been installed should appear.

Install citation plugin

Install citation plugin

Citation plugin installed

Citation plugin installed

Inserting Citations

Prior to inserting citations, check for duplicate references in your library (see 'Removing Duplicates' for instructions).

Open your Word document.  Place your cursor where you would like to insert the citation. 

  • Windows: Select the References tab, then choose Insert Citation from the Mendeley Cite-O-Matic panel.
  • Mac: Select the scroll icon, then Mendeley > Insert or Edit Citation.  Alternatively, select View > Toolbars > Mendeley Toolbar.  The floating Mendeley tool bar will appear; select Insert or Edit Citation from this toolbar.

Insert citation in Microsoft Word for Windows

Insert citation

In the box that appears, enter text (author's last name, year, title, keyword, etc.) to search for references in your library.  Select a reference, then either search for additional references or click OK.

You can also search for references from within your Mendeley library by clicking Go to Mendeley.  In Mendeley Desktop, highlight the references that you wish to insert.  To highlight multiple references, hold down the Ctrl or Command keys while you click on references.

Once you have selected your references, click the Cite button Cite (Windows) Cite  (Mac) in the toolbar along the top.  The selected references will be inserted into your document.

Mendeley citation editor

Citation editor

Editing Citations

To add, delete or edit an in-text citation, click on the citation number or name to highlight it in grey.  Click the Edit Citation button in the Mendeley Cite-O-Matic panel of the Reference tab (Windows), or Insert or Edit Citations button in the floating toolbar (Mac).

In the box that opens, you can add or delete a reference to or from the citation.  When you click on a reference, you will see options to suppress the author's name, or add page numbers, a prefix or suffix to the citation.

Edit citation

Edit citation

Inserting Bibliographies

Create Bibliography with In-Text Citations

  • Once you have inserted citations into your document, place your cursor where you would like the bibliography to appear.
  • Select Insert Bibliography from the References tab (Windows) or Mendeley toolbar (Mac).

Insert bibliography in Microsoft Word for Windows

Insert bibliography

Create Bibliography without In-Text Citations

  • You can also generate a formatted list of references without in-text citations.  This method works in Word, as well as programs for which Mendeley does not have a plugin, such as Google Docs and Pages. 
  • In your Mendeley library, click the Author, Title, Year or Published In headings at the top of the center panel to sort your library by author last name, title, year or journal.
  • Select View > Citation Style from the menu bar, and choose the citation style in which you wish your bibliography to appear.  If you do not see your desired style, then choose More Styles....  In the box that opens, select the Get More Styles tab and search for the style you need.  Once you find the style, click Install.
  • To preview how your references will appear in the citation style that you have selected, select View > Library as Citations.
  • Use the Ctrl (Command) or Shift keys to select the references you wish to include in your bibliography.
  • Right-click and choose Copy as... > Formatted Citation.  Alternatively, use Ctrl (Command) + Shift + C.
  • Open your Word, Pages or Google document.  Place your cursor where you want the bibliography to appear.  Use Ctrl (Command) + V to paste the list of references.
  • You can also drag and drop references from Mendeley into your Word, Pages or Google documents.  The reference will appear as a complete, formatted citation.

Changing Citation Style

Citation styles are templates that control the appearance of in-text citations and bibliographies.  Citation styles can be defined by a journal, such as The New England Journal of Medicine, publisher or organization, such as the American Psychological Association (APA).

To change the current citation style in your document, select a citation style from the Styles menu in the Mendeley panel or toolbar.  A small number of citation styles are pre-installed in Mendeley.  If you do not see your desired style, then choose More Styles....  In the box that opens, select the Get More Styles tab and search for the style you need.  Once you find the style, click Install.

Choosing a citation style


Removing Field Codes

What are field codes?

Field codes allow Mendeley to format the citations in your document.  When you remove these field codes, the formatted citations and bibliography are saved as text.

Why should I remove field codes?

Publishers request that you remove field codes when submitting a manuscript.  You may also wish to remove field codes when sharing your Word document with a colleague who is using a different citation manager or incompatible word processor.

To remove field codes:

In your Word document, select Export > Without Mendeley Fields from the Mendeley panel or toolbar. 

You will be prompted to save a formatted copy of your document.  Save the formatted copy and label appropriately.  Proceed with saving a copy without field codes. 

Important: Once you have removed field codes, you cannot edit your citations and bibliography.  Always retain a formatted copy of your document with field codes. 

Export without Mendeley fields

Without Mendeley Fields

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