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Mendeley is a referencing and academic social network software. It allows you to collect, manage, store, share and use research papers and articles, as well as generate bibliographies in the citation style of your choice. You can search over 100 million cross-publisher articles. It can be used with MS Word to add citations as you type as well as compile a reference list at the end of your assignment. It is useful for researchers who manage a significant number of journal articles and research papers in their studies, but is not essential for smaller assignments.

How do I use it?

Mendeley can be used on your desktop, on the web, on your phone or other device and with a Word plug in. It depends on what your need is and how you plan to use it:

  • Web – The web version is great for storing, organising and annotating full text PDFs within your own personal library. (NB: Research articles found in journals and databases are often available in PDF – Portable Document Format. Look for the Download as PDF option when you find articles.)
  • Desktop – The desk top version is useful if you plan to use the bibliographical data to cite as you write or create a bibliography.
  • App – The app version is perfect for accessing and reading PDFs saved in your personal ‘library’ whilst on-the-go.
  • Word plug-in – The word plug in allows you to seamlessly cite as you write using the citation style of your choice.

Getting started

Go to and Create Account.

Click on Sign in and Sign in via your Institution (Canterbury Christ Church University)

Click on Library and Add New to manually add a reference, select a file from your computer or import a library (select RIS file to import references from Library Search)

Mendeley Web Version

Mendeley works with IE10, Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Click on the blue “Add” button to add PDFs/ documents to your personal library.

Your saved documents can be found by clicking on the Library tab. You can create folders within your library to organise your documents e.g. by essay topic or module name.

Note: You can download the Mendeley Web Importer plugin as a web browser extension to your search bar, allowing you to add articles from Google Scholar, Science Direct and PubMed to your personal library at a click of a button.

Remember to sync your documents to the desk top version when you want to cite the articles in your assignment.

Mendeley Desktop Version

Compared to the web version of Mendeley, the Mendeley Desktop version has more functionality and allows you to work off-line, too.
If you work on campus Mendeley Desktop is already installed on your computer. To open it click on the Windows Start button and look for Mendeley in “Programmes”

If you want to use Mendeley Desktop on your own computer or laptop, go to: and sign in. Click on the arrow in the right top corner and select “Download Mendeley”. Mendeley is available to a wide range of operating systems, including Mac and Linux.

Note a new version of the desktop app is available called Reference Manager.

Adding PDFs

To add a pdf document to Mendeley Desktop click on “Add files”

The explorer window will open and you can navigate to the folder where your PDF file is stored and add it. When you add the PDF, Mendeley analyses the document and automatically extracts the information necessary for referencing. This information is displayed on the right next to the pdf and can be edited if not correct. You can also add other file types such as Word documents or PowerPoint presentations to your personal ‘library’.

Web Importer

Quickly add articles from any supported website directly into your reference library with a single click using Mendeley’s web importer.

Your Library on Mendeley Desktop

By adding PDF files for articles, reports, e-books and other documents to Mendeley you are building your own library. The files can be organised in folders. Click on the “Create a new folder” icon to create a new folder and drag and drop the article to the folder. You can list all the documents in the
library by clicking on “All Documents”.

Reading and Annotating PDF Documents

If you want to open and read an article just double-click on the title in your library. Mendeley allows you to select text and copy/paste it to other applications, to highlight text and to make notes in the text.

Synchronising your Library

Whenever you add PDFs to your library, don’t forget to synchronise it. Clicking on the “Sync” button uploads all your articles to the Mendeley Web version. If you use Mendeley on a different computer or if you use the app, synchronising makes sure that you always have the most recent version of
your library from wherever you access it. Any annotations you made will also be uploaded.

Mendeley App

The Mendeley app can be downloaded for use on your phone or iPad. It is a handy way to read, annotate and organise journal articles on the move. Click on the blue book icon to read the article and tap and hold to annotate the text.

Mendeley as a collaboration tool

Mendeley can be used as a social networking tool for collaboration with other researchers. It allows you to create a profile of your research interests, follow and join groups related to your research interests and suggests articles related to your topic which you can add to your personal library based on your reading and search interests.

Mendeley Cite for MS Word

Mendeley Cite allows to you to cite while you write. This means you can add citations (both in text citations and references) while you are writing in a Word document. You can obtain the plug in via the Microsoft app store.

The plug in isn’t installed automatically on campus PCs so if you want to use this feature, you must open the Mendeley desktop application, go to “Tools” and click on “Install MS Word Plugin”

Once the Word Plugin is installed you will find it in Word under the “References” tab. If you open Word after installing the plugin you will notice that there is a yellow security warning bar. Click “Enable Content”

Once the content is enabled you will see Mendeley in your “Reference” tab.
Please note, that after installing the Mendeley Word-Plug in , this “Security Warning” bar will appear whenever you open a Word document. By clicking on “Enable Content” it will disappear. For further information read the Mendeley guide to Mendeley Cite.

Working with the Word Plug In

Click on the “Insert Citation” icon and search for the author or title of the article or book you want to cite.

Once the article appears, select the one you want (you can also select more than one) and click “OK”

The in-text citation will be added.

You can change the citation style by clicking on the “Style” dropdown list.

To insert the bibliography, move the cursor to the end of the page and then click on “Insert Bibliography”. This will automatically add the full reference of the cited article. New citations will be automatically added to this bibliography.


You can find additional information on how to use Mendeley on and on Mendeley’s YouTube Channel
If you need further help, please contact: or book a 1-1 with your Learning and Research Librarian