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Mendeley Basics

A guide to the basic uses of the Mendeley citation manager.

Inserting Citations Within Word

Download the Word plugin (from the Tools menu of Mendeley Desktop). Have both your Word document and your Mendeley Desktop library open.  Remember, you can't insert citations from Mendeley Web.

  • Place your cursor exactly where you want the citation to go in your Word document.
  • On the References tab of Word, click the Insert Citation icon. The Style dropdown box will not display a bibliographic style until you have inserted your first citation.

  • In the search window that opens, enter a search term to bring up the citation you need.
  • Note that you can search your whole library (My Library), which is the default setting, or, using the dropdown menu, choose from your folders or groups.


  • Select the citation to insert & click OK.

Create a Bibliography

From the Style dropdown list, choose a bibliographic style. Place your cursor exactly where you want the bibliography to appear, then click Insert Bibliography

You can insert a bibliography at any time after citations have been entered into your Word document.  New references will continue to be added to the list.

Can't find the exact style that you need? Edit (or customize) a related style using the directions in this handout.

Inserting Citations From Your Mendeley Library

  • Place the cursor where you want the citation to go in your Word document.
  • On the References tab, click the Insert Citation.
  • Click the Go To Mendeley button on the search box to view your complete library.

4. Select the citation(s) to add (use the CTRL key to select more than one citation).
5. Click the Send Citation to Word Processor icon.


There are 2 ways to insert citations with Mendeley:  working within your Word document or beginning in your Mendeley library.

Watch this video to watch an overview of how to insert citations & format citations & bibliographies using Mendeley.

Editing a Citation

To edit a reference, for example, to add a specific page number to an in-text citation, highlight the citation to be edited, & click the Edit Citation icon  (the Add Citation icon changes to Edit Citation when you highlight an existing citation).

Mendeley Edit Citation icon in Mendeley Cite-O-Matic toolbar.

In the Edit Citation window that opens, highlight the citation, then make your changes (adding a page number if the output style that you're selected supports that, adding a prefix--such as "c.f."--or a suffix--such as "emphasis added", or suppress the author.

Mendeley Editi Citation window.