Skip to main content

MSU Libraries are here to help.

See a guide to using the library for teaching, classwork, and research during the coronavirus outbreak:

Mississippi State University Libraries Mississippi State University Libraries Mississippi State University Mississippi State University


Research Guides


This guide provides on overview of how to use Mendeley to create a personal database of references that can be inserted into documents created with Word.

Always keep in mind ...

Mendeley is designed to get references from many different research databases, but it doesn't work with all of them equally well. Especially before inserting a reference from Mendeley into a Word document, you should check the publication information in the Mendeley record against what is given in the PDF of the publication.

Do you already have a lot of article PDFs?

Mendeley can often read through a PDF and create a record for the item based on the information it finds. You can load files individually or even upload a whole folder of PDFs.

Note: Mendeley will try it's best to create an accurate record from an article. Most PDFs that are directly from the publisher do well, but you should always check for any errors. 

Mendeley PDF Upload

You can have Mendeley 'watch' certain folders on your computer, then as PDFs are added to these folders they get imported into Mendeley automatically. Choose File - Watch Folder in Mendeley Desktop.

Mendeley and Scopus


There are two option for getting Scopus records into Mendeley. The preferred method depends on the number of records that you wish to bring in at one time.

Scopus allows you to export up to 500 records directly into Mendeley. You can select records individually by clicking on the box next to the record. You can also go to the top of the results list and click on the down arrow next to All. This allows you to choose all records on the page or all records in the results.


To export to Mendeley, click on the radio button for Mendeley and click on Export. You will then be asked to log into Mendeley. Note that direct export option does not always work.

Direct export from Scopus to Mendeley


You can export up to 2,000 records by selecting RIS format from the Export options. This will save to a file that can be imported into Mendeley. Be sure to select the "Abstract & keywords" options to ensure that those items are included in the records.


Export from Scopus as RIS file


To bring the RIS file into Mendeley, go File > Import > RIS - Research Information Systems (*.ris)

Mendeley and EBSCO Databases

The MSU Libraries subscribes to many databases provided by the EBSCO company. These include Business Source Complete, CAB Abstracts, PsycINFO, and many more. The Web Importer does not work well with EBSCO database, but you get references from those databases into Mendeley by following the steps below.


  • Option 1: Exporting specific results
    • Add results to the Folder. This can be done for each article or by page [Share > Add to folder: Results (1-10)]
    • Note that you can change the number of results per page by clicking on Page Options
    • Now click on Folder View.
    • In the Folder, click on Export on the right.
    • Click on Save. Make sure the 1st radio button is selected (Direct Export in RIS Format).
    • A dialgue box will open at the bottom. Save the file to a place where you can locate it easily, such as the Desktop.
  • Option 2: Exporting all results (up to 25,000)
    • At the top of the results list, click on Share
    • A menu will open up
    • At the bottom of the menu, click on "E-mail a link to download exported results (up to ___)"


  • Click on File.
  • Mouse over Import and select RIS - Research Information Systems (*.ris).
  • Locate the RIS file that you saved.


  • Be sure to double check the citations manually to ensure that there are no problems with the imported citations.

Mendeley and PubMed

While the Web Importer can be used with PubMed, you will often find that there's a discrepency between the number of results on the page and the number of results that the Web Importer finds. The following method is the best way to bring in large numbers of references from PubMed into Mendeley, but note that this does not bring in PDFs.


  • Use the check boxes to select citations from your search results or Clipboard. You may move to other pages to continue your selections. Alternately, you can choose to save all results on this page or all results from the "Send to" > Citation Manager menu.
  • Click "Send to" and choose Citation Manager.
  • Confirm the citations you want to export: selection, all results on this page, or all results (up to a maximum of 10,000).
  • Click Create file.
  • Your web browser will prompt you to save the file on your computer.


  • Click on File > Import > BibTex
  • In the drop-down menu for file type, change from "BibTex (*.bib)" to "All supported formats"
  • Select the .nbib file that was downloaded and click on Open.

You can also download an .nbib file for individual citations using the Cite button.

(The above instructions were modified from

Google Scholar, PubMed, and Others

Google Scholar, PubMed, ScienceDirect, and More

After installing the Web Importer in your favorite browser, you can use the Import to Mendeley button on your booksmarks toolbar. As you add a citation to your Library, you can choose what folder to add it to and assign tags or notes.

The Mendeley website states, "The Mendeley Web Importer is compatible with Science Direct, Google Scholar, PubMed and many many other online catalogs." However, if you are using an EBSCO database, see the information below.

Mendeley Web Importer

Using the Web Importer will save the references to Mendley Web. Don't forget to use the Sync button in Mendley Desktop to ensure that you have the same references in both versions of Mendeley.

Enter Citation Manually

Under the Files menu or the Add Files drop-down (Add Document in Mendeley Web), there is an option to enter citation information manually.

Manually Adding References

Where are the PDFs in Mendeley stored?

Mendley saves PDFs to the cloud so you can access them from anywhere. However, Mendeley Desktop can also store the PDFs on your hard drive.

To see where the files are stored, go to Tools > Options > File Organizer. Be sure that the "Organize my files" box is checked.

Note also that Mendeley will automatically rename your PDFs to provide more consistency. Just check the "Rename document files" box.


Mednley File Organizer