Fuse Mendeley and Zotero for perfect referencing


zotero-mendeley-microsoft-officeReferencing is a comprehensive tool to enhance the quality of academic writing. Referencing should be the epitome of every academician since plagiarism is not an instrument tolerated by scholars. Writing references at times can be hectic and confusing for authors, especially when the names are quite difficult to phantom. Furthermore, organizing the references can take longer than usual. Have you ever submitted an assignment and immediately noted you missed to align or include a reference? Mendeley and Zotero are the tools for you. The manual will help you also sort and reference physical resources.


Installing Mendeley and Zotero

Mendeley Download and Installation

  1. Download the Mendeley tool into your computer (this might take a while with slow internet), install the tool by running it as an admin.
  2. Create your Mendeley account, it is free and will only take a while.
  3. Once you get your password and username, sign in, and you are ready to go.

Zotero Download and Installation

  1. Go online and search for Zotero for Firefox (I Prefer Firefox you may still need one for chrome).
  2. Download and install the Zotero Add-on, then restart your Firefox.
  3. A small icon with a (Z) mark and a little document adjacent to it will appear, on the right menu of your Firefox.

The (Z) image is the straightforward guide to your Zotero Library while the small document box is the place you can save items to your Zotero Library.

Well done! You have successfully installed Mendeley and Zotero.


Customization, configuring and syncing

(This process assumes that you have installed a working office on your computer)


After installation, to work with Mendeley as an expert, you will be required to do final configuration.


Allow Mendeley to Add Online Content


Most times you have always wondered how you could reference physical books using Mendeley. You simply have to add the Web Importer.

  1. Go online and search for Mendeley Web Importer for Firefox
  2. You will be asked to drag a small “save” button to your Firefox Bookmark; a similar piece can be done for Chrome enthusiasts, but here it will be downloaded as an extension.

With this extension, you can save a book to Mendeley if you knew it is ISBN, Author or other bibliographic details.

  1. Search for the book either in amazon or google books.
  2. If you find the book open it and even try reading the table of contents or abstract.
  3. Click on Save to Mendeley, and go to your library, you will find it added.


Add physical content to Zotero. It has an inbuilt feature for adding items already installed, follow the same procedure as highlighted in Mendeley.


Add Mendeley and Zotero to Word

We have already downloaded Zotero and Mendeley; we have also downloaded a Mendeley, Web Importer. However, for efficient referencing, we have to add the two to MS word.


  1. Go and open your Mendeley Desktop
  2. Go to Tools and install the Mendeley MS Word Plugin (This process will download and install the Mendeley Cite-O-Matic tool)
  3. Open the MS Word Reference and you have a menu that can allow you to import items to Mendeley.


  1. Go online and search for Zotero for Word
  2. Download and install the extension
  3. Go to your MS Word; you now have an added Menu for Zotero
  4. You can now add citations quickly from your Zotero Library


Sync Mendeley and Zotero Library

  1. Go to your Mendeley Desktop tool
  2. Open the Options menu, then click on Zotero.
  3. With Zotero, click on Zotero Integration, then apply and click ok
  4. You have successfully integrated the two libraries (If you add an item to Zotero it will directly be synced and reflect on Mendeley).


How to Use Mendeley and Zotero in Word


  1. Add an item to your Zotero Library or Mendeley Desktop
  2. Retrieve bibliographic details of the item online
  3. Go to your Word and open references if using Mendeley
  4. Then click on add a citation, and browse through for the item then click it.
  5. After adding several citations, click on Insert Bibliography to insert the items references.

For Zotero

  1. Add an item to your Zotero Library
  2. Retrieve bibliographic details for the item
  3. Go to MS Word document and click on Zotero, then add citations
  4. Search for an article in the Zotero Library, then click it
  5. Then choose a chapter or page referencing and add the item, after this add Insert Bibliography.

Well done! You have successfully downloaded and synced Zotero and Mendeley. You have also added physical items using Mendeley Web Importer and Save it for Zotero.

N.B.: You might also need Zotero for Word Add-In, not covered in this tutorial for your ultimate referencing, without incorporating Mendeley.

Download this page in PDF Format.

By Evans Simiyu

Specialist: Open Source: Installation, Customization and Training (Koha, DSpace, and Libki), Referencing tool expert (Mendeley, Zotero, and Endnote), Data Analyst (SPSS), Librarian and Knowledge Manager.

For further questions, contact: mail: ivernsimiyu@gmail.com or text/call: 0728843970.

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