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Mendeley referencing software: References in Word Documents

Software that helps with referencing. In this guide learn about Mendeley and download Mendeley.

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Mendeley Cite

Mendeley Cite is an add-in for Word which allows you to insert references from Mendeley into your documents, and format them in your chosen referencing style.

See Mendeley's full guide to using Mendeley Cite.

Mendeley Cite accompanies the Mendeley Reference Manager app, or your online Mendeley library.

Install the Mendeley Cite add-in into Word.

Note: If you see a message in Word that add-ins are blocked when trying to install Mendeley Cite, please contact UWA IT, who can authorise your access to the add-in.

Mendeley Cite and Word

Once you have installed the Mendeley Cite add-in, you can open it from the References tab in Word. Mendeley Cite will open in a panel on the right hand side of Word.

Word References tab. Mendeley Cite on right hand side

Sign in to your Mendeley account.

You can now search for and insert any reference from your Mendeley library into your Word document.

Position the mouse cursor where you would like to insert a citation in your document. 

Word document. Mendeley Cite. 1 reference selected. Insert 1 citation button.

Search for the reference you need in Mendeley Cite. Select the check box of the reference(s) you need (you can insert more than one at a time, if required).

Click Insert Citation.

The in-text citation will appear in your Word document where your mouse cursor is.

Word document. Citation inserted from Mendeley Cite in APA 7 format

You should not attempt to edit Mendeley references by typing directly in Word. If any reference information needs to be changed it should be changed in Mendeley.

Open your Mendeley library in Mendeley Reference Manager or a web browser. Locate the reference which requires changes and click on it. It will open in a panel on the right hand side.

Click on any part of the reference to edit it. Type in the correct details

Reference in Mendeley Library. Authors section open for editing. Mendeley note "enter authors on separate lines"


Click elsewhere in Mendeley (on another part of the reference or on a different reference) and your changes will be saved.

The changes can then by synchronised to your Word document by opening Mendeley Cite, clicking 'More' then 'Update from Library'.

Mendeley Cite. 'More' menu. Update from Library.

Most referencing styles require a list of references or bibliography at the end of your document, in addition to the in-text citations or footnotes. Reference lists contains the full details of all sources referenced in-text.

To insert a reference list in Word with Mendeley, open Mendeley Cite in your Word document.

Ensure your cursor in the Word document is placed where you would like the reference list to be inserted (usually at the end of the document, on a new page, but refer to the guidelines of your referencing style).

Click 'More' and then 'Insert Bibliography'.

Mendeley Cite. 'More' menu. Insert Bibliography

Mendeley will automatically create a reference list of all the references that have been inserted in-text in your Word document. The reference list will be formatted according to reference style you have selected.

Note: You can insert the bibliography/reference list at any point in your writing process. The bibliography/reference list will be continually automatically updated by Mendeley as you add or remove in-text citations.

To select the correct referencing style required for your assignment or research:

Go to the 'Citation Style' tab in Mendeley Cite.

Mendeley Cite Citation Style tab. APA 7th selected, other style choices available below

The 'Citation Style' tab initially displays the top 10 most common citation styles. You can change the style by selecting any of the displayed styles and then selecting 'Update citation style'.

Mendeley Cite. Current Style: APA 7th. IEEE selected. Update citation style button

For more information and how to add additional styles used at UWA, see the Styles and Abbreviations page of this guide.

When quoting directly from an information source, most referencing styles require adding the page number of the quote into the in-text reference or footnote.

To add page numbers to in-text references inserted from your Mendeley library, do not type the page numbers directly into Word. Click on the in-text reference in your Word document. In Mendeley Cite, the in-text reference will appear at the top of the panel. Click on it to edit it.

Word in-text reference selected. Reference in highlighted section at top of Mendeley Cite panel

This opens the reference editing options where you can add page numbers, a prefix or a suffix to the in-text reference.

Type in the page number(s) and click 'Save changes'.

Reference editing options. Typing number into Pages section.

The page number will be added to the in-text reference in the format required by the referencing style. For example, in APA 7th style, page numbers are inserted inside brackets, after a comma and with a lower case letter 'p':

(Curie & Curie, 1898, p. 177).

As noted in the message in Mendeley Cite, to make any other changes or corrections to the reference, open it in your Mendeley library.

Note: Currently Mendeley Cite is not able to insert references into footnotes in Word. Therefore currently Mendeley Cite can't be used with footnote referencing styles such as Chicago and AGLC4. Mendeley Desktop and the older Word plugin Mendeley "Cite-O-Matic" can be used with footnotes.


If you are using a referencing style with Footnotes, such as Chicago, you will need to use the "Insert Footnote" feature within the 'Reference' tab in MS Word. 

Place your cursor at the citation insertion point. On the ribbon in Word, select the ‘References’ tab and then the ‘Insert Footnote’ button:

This will create a superscript number at the point of insertion. At the bottom of the page it will add a dividing line, the same number as the superscript number, and a section to insert the reference into that numbered footnote.

To create the citation, click in the newly created footnote section at the bottom of the page. If not using Mendeley, you could type in the details of your reference manually as per your style formatting requirements.

Remember you will still need to create your Reference list/Bibliography at the end of your assignment as per your style requirements.


If using Mendeley Desktop and the Mendeley Cite-O-Matic plugin, you can work between Mendeley and Word to create your references. After creating a footnote, click in the footnote space at the bottom of the page. Locate the Mendeley Cite-O-Matic plugin. Click on Insert Citation and search for the reference required. Mendeley will insert the reference into the footnote, formatted in the style selected.

Mendeley Desktop with Word: Mac & Windows

When using the old Mendeley Desktop app, you will need to install the Mendeley-Word plugin, sometimes called Mendeley "Cite-O-Matic" This functions differently on Mac and Windows computers. Please see these instructions:

Mendeley Desktop and Word on a Mac (Note Mendeley Desktop and Cite-O-Matic are not compatible with the most recent Mac OSs. Mac users are recommended to upgrade to Mendeley Reference Manager and Mendeley Cite instead.)

Mendeley Desktop and Word on a Windows PC


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