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Mendeley: Getting Started

A guide to getting started with the Mendeley citation management program.

Downloading Mendeley and Creating an Account

To download and install Mendeley, follow these steps:

1. Go to Mendeley.

2. Click Download in the upper right hand corner.

Mendeley homepage with Download button circled in upper right hand corner3. After clicking Download, you'll be directed to this screen where you will be prompted to begin the download process by clicking the red Download button for your computer system. 

Mendeley download page with red Download button in center of page circled.

4. Next, you'll be prompted to Register for Mendeley. To use Mendeley, you have to create an account, and you can do this from either this page or the first time you open Mendeley on your computer. 

Register for a Mendeley account button circled in center of page

5. To register, start by entering your email.

Enter email to register for a Mendeley account

6. The next page will ask your name and for you to create a password. Please note that the 'Stay signed in' button is checked by default, but you should not select this option if you are on a public computer. 

Enter registration details and select whether or not to stay signed in on this computer.

7. After entering this information, you will have successfully created an account. Click 'Continue to Mendeley'. 

Registration completed. Click Continue to Mendeley.

8. Mendeley will ask for your current role (undergraduate, graduate, PhD student, faculty, etc.) and your field of study. You can choose to provide this information or to skip this step. Because your Mendeley account also serves as a Profile, you can choose to make your profile public by leaving the box under 'Field of Study' checked or to make it private by unchecking the box. 

9. Once you've completed registration, you will get to your online Mendeley cloud home page. From this page, you can access your library, a feed of relevant information to your role and field of study (if you've specified that information), and other options such as groups or datasets. Please note that this is different than your Mendeley desktop page although the functionality is similar. This cloud home page is designed to give you access to your Mendeley library wherever you are, regardless of whether the Mendeley desktop is available on your computer.

Mendeley Cloud Home Page image



Opening Mendeley Desktop for the First Time

Once you have registered for a Mendeley account, you can open up the desktop application. It will prompt you to log in and select whether or not you want to stay logged in. If you have not registered, you can also register by clicking the 'Register' box in the lower left hand corner and following the steps detailed here.

Welcome to Mendeley Desktop page with 'Stay signed in' button and 'Register' button circled

Once you've logged into Mendeley, you'll see a pop up box that gives you the option to install the Citation Plug-in for Microsoft Word. This will allow you to use your Mendeley library to create citations and bibliographies in Microsoft Word. For best results, be sure to close out of Microsoft Word before installing. Click Install.

Citation Plug-in for Microsoft Word Install button circled

After the Citation Plug-in is installed, click close.

Mendeley will now take you through a brief introduction to the desktop program showing you where and how to add citations, storage options, and where to find additional help. Before getting started with Mendeley, click on the Tools menu. Here, you'll be able to click 'Install Web Importer' to install a button that can live in your browser and help you import items into Mendeley. From this screen, you can also uninstall and reinstall the Citation Plug-in for Microsoft Word as a quick troubleshooting step if you are having trouble with it.

Tools menu with 'Install Web Importer' circled and 'Uninstall/Reinstall MS Word Plugin' pointed out

Once you click 'Install Web Importer', Mendeley will open a tab in your default browser and give you the option to select the browser where you would like to add in the Web Importer.

Install Web Importer Page

The Web Importer button will be a small Mendeley icon that you can find in the top right hand corner of your browser. When you are ready to import an item, you can click this button to add the item to your Mendeley library. If you have not already signed into Mendeley in the browser you are using, it will ask you to log in to Mendeley before it adds your item to your library.


Adding Citations to Mendeley

You can add documents to Mendeley several ways, including dragging and dropping PDFs already on your computer, creating an entry manually, and adding items from databases. For detailed descriptions of how to import items, click here.

If you have installed the Mendeley Web Importer, you can also use that to add new items to your library from various web sources including websites and databases. For detailed descriptions of how to import items, click here.

Using the Web Importer with Scholar One Search, you can navigate to the item you'd like to save in your library and then click the Mendeley Web Importer button. It will ask you to log in if you haven't already logged into Mendeley in your browser, and then allow you to save the citation to your library.

Mendeley Web Importer selecting book from Scholar One Search

Once you click Save, the item will be saved into your library and the Mendeley Web Importer Pop-up will let you know that the citation has been saved. It also lets you know whether or not a PDF was downloaded. Because this was a physical book, no PDF was available for download. E-books, e-journal articles, and other paid resources that are NOT open access will also not be automatically downloaded, even if you have access to them through Northeastern. The easiest way to bring these PDFs into Mendeley is to either download them to your computer and drag and drop them into Mendeley or to add an article to your Mendeley library directly from the PDF page in the browser.

Mendeley Web Importer Success Page

Your item should now be in your Mendeley library. If it doesn't show up right away, click 'Sync' to update your desktop library. Once it's been added to your library, check to ensure all citation details are correct. 

Mendeley Desktop Library Homepage

If any details are incorrect in Mendeley, they will be incorrect in your citations and bibliography later on, so you'll want to edit them. To edit any of the information, click on the field you'd like to edit and type. Mendeley will autosuggest formatting for you based on your preferred citation style. Once you've finished verifying the citation is correct or editing the citation, click 'Details are correct'.

Detailed view of editing a citation's details in Mendeley