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Mendeley: Adding References

Learn how to use the bibliographic management tool Mendeley to organize citations, format bibliographies & citations, and more.

Citations that Need Review

Sometimes when importing a citation all the details (authors, dates, abstracts, etc.) might not be included. Mendeley has a section called Needs Review to help you manage these. When Mendeley detects that some details are missing the citation gets placed here for review. Click on Needs Review to generate a list of citations. Next, you can manually add the missing details or search Google Scholar for them.

Adding PDFs

There are three options for adding a PDF from you local hard drive to Mendeley. You can:

  • Drag and drop a pdf directly into your Mendeley Desktop display (either into a specific folder or All Documents display)
  • Drag and drop a file of article pdf's directly into your Mendeley Desktop display (either into a specific folder or All Documents display)
  • Add a pdf to an existing citation:
    • Double click (open) the record you wish to add the PDF to
    • Under Files, in the record, select Add File
    • Browse, select the file, and double click to add

Downloading from Databases and Web Pages

To add a citation from a website or database install the Web Importer and then select the appropriate references on the page or send  them to your Clipboard / Folder. If you do not select the references or add from a Clipboard / Folder then all search results on the page will be imported. Once you have done that, click on the Save to Mendeley button on your browser's toolbar. Taking this step will add the citations to your Mendeley Web account, once your account syncs you will see it in your Desktop as well. Take note of the supported sites, as these are the ones most likely to import citations correctly.


Web Importer Supported Sites


Please note: While EBSCO (includes CINAHL) is a supported site through Mendeley Web Importer there are currently issues with the functionality that Mendeley is working on. In the meantime please see instructions on RIS files to export more than one citation at a time.


Importing from RIS files

1. Export the citations you need, from the database you are in, saving as an RIS file.
2. Go into Mendeley and click on Add Files.
3. Select your saved RIS file and click Open.

Syncing Web and Desktop Accounts

There are two ways to sync the Desktop to the Web. You can set up your account to automatically do so or manually press the sync button. See instructions below for both options.

To set your account to Sync automatically:

1. Go to All Documents in Mendeley Desktop
2. Select Edit Settings
3. Check off Synchronize attached files and select folders you wish to apply this to (usually For My Entire Library is the best option)
4. Click on Save & Sync

1 & 2

3 & 4


To manually Sync:

Click on the Sync button at the top of Mendeley Desktop.