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Reference management

A red Mendeley logo


Mendeley is a free web and desktop reference management application that helps you simplify your reference management workflow. With Mendeley you can

  • store, organize and search for the references in your library
  • seamlessly insert references and bibliographies to, for example, Microsoft Word documents
  • read, highlight and annotate saved documents which helps you keep your notes on different sources in one place
  • share your references and folders with other researchers
  • network academically
  • make yourself a researcher profile

As always, it is important to store your work, sources and references in more than one place (back up file).

Using Mendeley

Creating an account and the browser extension

Mendeley can be used in browser (link to website) or you can download the Mendeley Reference Manager to your desktop (download the app). Students and staff of University of Vaasa can download the app from Software Center. The library recommends the browser version since it is developed/updated more often. The free Mendeley account comes with 2 GB but more storage can be purchased.

First, create an account to Mendeley. If you have an account to any other Elsevier's product, such as Scopus, ScienceDirect or SciVal, you can sign in with the same credentials. Do not choose Sign in via your institution!

Screenshot of Elsevier's sign in


Mendeley Web Importer is an extension for web browsers with which you can add references from databases to your own account, i.e., your Mendeley Library. Web Importer does not, however, work in all databases, thus installing it is not mandatory. The extension works in Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari, and you can install it on Mendeley's website (install plugin). After installation, you will see a red Mendeley icon in your browser toolbar.

Importing files from computer

Choose +Add new > Files from computer or drag and drop the file (e.g. PDF of a journal article) to your Library. Mendeley finds the reference information automatically and saves them to the Library along with the PDF file. Remember to check and edit the reference if necessary!


Saving references manually

Choose +Add new > Add entry manually, and fill in the information by hand. You can also search for the reference with, for example, the DOI identifier.


Importing references from the web with Web Importer

  • click the Mendeley icon in browser (sign in if needed)
  • choose the reference you want (you can import the reference as full text PDF at the same time if it is available)
  • click Add (you can import the reference directly to a collection you have created)
  • remember to check and edit the reference information before importing if necessary (click the pen icon next to the reference) 

Web Importer in Mozilla Firefox:

Screenshot of Web Importer in Mozilla Firefox


Importing references from databases and reference management programs

You can save the reference as a file to your computer (or cache memory) and import it to your Mendeley Library:

  • on the page where your source is, find and click the button for importing, for example, Export/Cite/Download citation etc.
  • choose RIS, XML or Bib Tex as file format (choose always RIS in Finna) 
  • save the file to your computer (cache memory works too)
  • drag and drop the file to Mendeley Library or choose +Add new > Import library > choose the correct file format > choose the saved file

Mendeley Cite

Add Mendeley Cite to Word, so you can add references to your text and create a bibliography:

  • Insert > My Add-Ins > Store > search for Mendeley Cite > Add
  • devices owned by University of Vaasa: Insert > My Add-Ins > Admin managed > choose Mendeley Cite > Add

In Citation Settings, you can choose the referencing style and language in which the references and bibliography are. You will also see a preview of what they look like in different styles.


Adding citations in Word

  • References > Mendeley Cite (sign in if needed)
  • choose the place where you want to add the reference
  • select the correct source in Mendeley Cite on the right and click Insert 1 citation
  • you can add page numbers by clicking the name of the reference above Insert citation (the name comes visible also when you click a reference that is already in the text)


Creating a bibliography in Word

  • click ... in Mendeley Cite > Insert Bibliography
  • choose the place where you want to add the list of references > Continue
  • when you add new references to your text, the bibliography updates automatically
  • you can edit the references in the Library (in browser or Mendeley Reference Manager app) > then click ... in Mendeley Cite > Update from Library > the bibliography is updated

Useful guides

How to use Mendeley Reference Manager

Saavutettavuusseloste Tillgänglighetsutlåtande