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Citation Management Software - Mendeley

Mendeley is a free desktop and cloud application that helps you manage your research.

Install MS Word or OpenOffice/LibreOffice Plugin

These instructions are for Mendeley Desktop users, not Mendeley Reference Manager

Microsoft Word

Once you download and install Mendeley Desktop to a computer, you can install the Microsoft Word Plugin. Open the Desktop, then click on Tools > Install MS Word Plugin. You may have to close and reopen Word for the install to be completed. 

Please note: All development for the Word Plugin has been ceased by Mendeley.


If you use LibreOffice on a Linux or Windows machine, you should be able to install the plugin by downloading and installing Mendeley Desktop and then clicking Tools >Install LibreOffice Plugin in the program window. Another option is to open LibreOffice Writer, choose Tools > Extension Manager... > Add; browse to: C:\Program Files (x86)\Mendeley Desktop\openOfficePlugin, choose the plugin in the browsing folder and open. For more help, visit the Mendeley Support Center (link below). 

*Plugin can be installed with OpenOffice as well, but toolbar may not appear or function.

MENDELEY DESKTOP ONLY - Locating the Mendeley Toolbar in Word and LibreOffice


Depending on your operating system, the MS Word Plugin will appear differently. If you are using Word for Mac, you may have a ribbon tab or an Add-in, depending on your version of Word (Pictured: Word 2016 for Mac). Both will open a floating search bar, as seen in the Windows screenshot below.

Tip: You will need to enter a citation before you can select the Style, e.g.: APA, MLA, Chicago, CSE, etc.

Screenshot of Mendeley Word Plugin in the MS Word ribbon under the References tab

These instructions are for Mendeley Desktop users, not Mendeley Reference Manager


If you are using Word on Windows, the Mendeley Plugin will be integrated in the Word Ribbon. Unfortunately it closely resembles the Built-in "Insert Citation" tool in the Ribbon, so be careful to choose the "Insert Citation" with the Mendeley icon on it (Pictured: Microsoft Word 2013).

Tip: You will need to enter a citation before you can select the Style, e.g.: APA, MLA, Chicago, CSE, etc.

Screen shot of Mendeley plug in in MS Word References ribbon


The Mendeley toolbar in LibreOffice looks similar to the older style of Word for Mac. 

Screenshot of LibreOffice showing location of Mendeley toolbar with "Insert Citation" dialog box open

Generating a Bibliography / List of Works Cited

These instructions are for Mendeley Desktop  with Word Plug-in (Only) 

The Bibliography or Works Cited section of your manuscript can be created and updated at any point during your writing process. Although you can make manual edits to in-text citations, you should not make manual changes to the bibliography. As the image below suggests, you should make any changes in Mendeley Desktop to the citation in the Details panel, then click 'Sync.' Next, come back to Word and click 'Refresh' in the References Ribbon to update Word to reflect the changes you made in Mendeley.

A screen shot of MS Word indicating the location of the 'Insert Bibliography' option in the Mendeley section of the References ribbon. An additional caption discussing making changes in Mendeley Desktop rather than Word to update any citation errors.

Tips for Your Bibliography:

  • Your bibliography will not appear until you place your cursor where you want it to appear and then click Insert Bibliography in the Word ribbon.
  • With each in-text citation you add, Mendeley will automatically create the full citation in the bibliography according to the style you select in Word.
  • We recommend making a Section or Page break between your Works Cited page and the rest of your manuscript in order to keep things separate.
  • Don't forget to click Sync in Mendeley Desktop, then Refresh in Word in order to update any errors in the citation information (Details / metadata).