23 Things – 14/23 Mendeley and Referencing

The last time I had to write an essay using academic referencing, I had never heard of any of the reference tools mentioned in Thing 14.  This means that I did things the old-fashioned way, writing out references on paper and copying them into Word as and when they were needed.  I found that to be quite an efficient system at the time but as with most things, the world has moved on and now we have lots of shiny tools to help us make referencing easier, faster and more accurate.  Since I’ve just begun an MSc at University and further essay writing is now imminent, Thing 14 comes at quite an opportune time!

Out of the many referencing tools available, I decided to focus on Mendeley for this Thing in order to save time and because I’d heard good things about it from others!

Downloading and installing Mendeley was easy and the programme itself is pretty self-explanatory and simple to navigate.  I was able to manually add in some reference details which could be edited to fit different reference styles at the click of a button.  I also liked the drag and drop feature which lets you drop pdf articles saved on your computer into Mendeley;  the programme then extrapolates all of the reference data from the pdf – job done!  You can also provide a URL link to an article so that it can be easily found and accessed again – very useful!

When it came to inserting citations into a document however, I got a bit lost – I’m sure the video tutorials that come with Mendeley explain this in good detail but to save time I asked my on-site expert, Nora, who quickly showed me how it works. 🙂

As a brief guide (for MS Word users):

  • In Mendeley, install the MS Word Plug in via the ‘Tools’ tab
  • In Word, go to the ‘References’ tab and ‘Insert Citation’

  • This brings up the above pop up box, select ‘Go to Mendeley’ and choose the citation you want to insert.
  • The ‘Insert Bibliography’ button can be used at the end to insert a list of all the citations you have used in your work.

Once you have all of your references organised and saved in Mendeley, adding citations and references to your work is very quick and simple.  I’m looking forward to trying Mendeley out in an actual essay situation soon – I’m sure it has a lot of other useful features that I can discover along the way!


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  1. #1 by Ricardo Vidal on 01/10/2012 - 8:45 pm

    Hi Louise, thanks for the nice overview. We’re happy that you were able to quickly get up and running with Mendeley. Also, high-five to your buddy Nora for giving you a hand with the citation plugin for Word. It’s much easier than doing it all by hand, huh? Can’t even remember how that used to be… 🙂

    Disclaimer: I’m a long standing Mendeley user (MEng and now PhD) and also a Mendeley community liaison. Feel free to grab me on twitter for tips and/or help – @rvidal

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