Skip to main content
Library Research Guides

Mendeley Basics

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

From EndNote

1.Export your references using the EndNote XML file format

  • In EndNote, highlight the references that you want to import.
  • From the File menu, select Export.
  • In the Export file name pop-up window, at File name, rename the file if you wish.  At Save as type, select (*.xml).


  • Click Save.

2. Import the file into Mendeley Desktop.

  • From the File menu, select Add Files.
  • Select the file that you exported from EndNote and click Open.
  • Click the Sync icon   to save the references on the web.

From RefWorks

1. Decide if you want to export all references at once or retain your RefWorks folder structure.

  • To export all references, in RefWorks, from the References menu, select Export.
    • In the Export References window, at References to include, select
      All References.
    • At Select an export format, choose the default (Bibliographic Software (EndNote,
      Reference Manager, or ProCite)
    • Click Export.

  • To preserve your RefWorks folder structure,
    • Before selecting Export from the References menu, open the first folder in your account.
    • Then follow the steps above, exporting references in each folder in sequence.
  • In your browser, save the page/tab with results as a text file, & save it to your desktop.
2. In Mendeley Desktop, select the Add Files icon  & choose Add files.
  • Browse for the file(s) you exported from RefWorks and click Open to import to Mendeley.
  • If you have attached files in RefWorks, they will not be imported. 
    • Save the files to your desktop, then import them into Mendeley using Add files.  Mendeley will attach them to the proper record.
  • Click the Sync icon   to save the references on the web.

Making the Change

It's easy to change citation managers.  Here's how to switch from RefWorks, Papers, EndNote, or Zotero to Mendeley.

From Papers

1. In Papers, select File, then Export and select, & select Refman RIS file.

  • At the Save as field, name the file.
  • At the W’ field, browse for the drive/folder where you will save your this file.
  • Click ‘Export’

2. In Mendeley Desktop, click Add icon

  • Browse to find the file you exported from Papers & click Open to import.
  • Click the Sync icon   to save the references on the web.

From Zotero

1. In Mendeley, from the Tools menu, select Options (PC) or go to Preferences (Mac).

  • In the Options window, select the Zotero or Zotero/CiteULike tab.
  • Check the box next to Zotero integration.

2. Mendeley Desktop will attempt to automatically locate your Zotero database. Browse to the correct Zotero library if the default address is not correct.

  • Click Apply and then OK.
  • All of your existing documents from Zotero will be imported into Mendeley Desktop, & any items you add to Zoteroin the future should automatically be uploaded to Mendeley Desktop.
  • Click the Sync icon   to save the references on the web.