Using Scrivener with Mendeley for intext citations?

I would like to start using Scrivener for my doctoral work and I would like to use Mendeley to do so since it is free, works with a Mac, and I can keep using it after I graduate. I have read Mendeley may be a bit easier than what I had been using with Word (Zotero). I need to use it for inline citations in Harvard format. I have looked with the search function and don’t see a clear post in the forums or much online outside the forums. Can anyone please explain how to use Mendeley for citations and creating bibliography for in-text citations? Thank you very much in advance!

See Section 20.4 of the Scrivener manual for information about working with bibliography managers.


Thanks for your quick response. I have selected Mendeley as my default reference manager. I tried to drag and drop from Mendeley but when I did that it just copied over the entire citation, nothing with curvey brackets or anything like that. I don’t see any documentation on Mendeley or any more documentation that I saw in the Scrivener manual (though I did read section 20.4). I’m still not sure what exactly I have to do. Could you or someone give any more specifics? Thank you so much!

If Mendeley has a shortcut you use that.
In Papers 3 the custom shortcut is ctrl+ctrl. It opens a small window where I can search for the correct citation, which is then inserted as a citekey in the Scrivener text. After compiling to .docx I open in Word and use the same shortcut, which then also gives the option to convert citekeys to complete references.

I was recently experimenting with Mendeley because I have a friend who might use it, and I found it pretty dreadful, to be honest. I deleted it from my hard drive and made a mental note not to try it again. You may have better luck, but I was not impressed by the experience.

In the past I have used Endnote, Sente, Mendeley, Zotero, Bibdesk, Papers and Bookends. The one I use now, and which I have used the longest is Bookends. Personal tastes vary, and it looks a bit dated, but I find it solid, and the support is very good.

I would say that if you are going to spend three years of your life doing doctoral research, you want the best tools you can find, not the cheapest. Bookends and Scrivener served me very well for my PhD.

I have looked at bookends and I will peobably have to switch completely the day Papers 3 stop to function. There are a few things I miss in bookends and the most important is “collections”. I classify every article as belonging to one or several subjects, called collections in Papers 3. So my who,e library consists of a large number of sublibraries, and each article can belong to several ones at the same time. A bit like using keywords.

I used Papers for a while (I think it must have been version 2) and liked various things about it, but was bitten by the chaotic upgrade to the new version. There were some horror stories of people losing data, and it took a long time for the transition to be accomplished. I jumped back to Bookends, which I had used before, and was not as pretty, but was (and is) very powerful. Moreover, it plays very well with Tinderbox, DEVONthink, and Scrivener.

I use Smart Folders in Bookends, which might achieve something like the Collections you mention. You certainly get a lot of power with Bookends. Even SQL/Regex searches, which I’ve never used, but would seem to offer a lot to power users. And when I recently had a difficulty with something that didn’t work when dragging to Tinderbox, I got a reply to an email and a solution within about an hour of asking about it. And I’m in the UK while the developer in in the US.

You have both smart groups and smart folders, and you can cascade smart groups into folders (i.e. a grand collection can be compiled from multiple smaller search collections). These metadata based groups are dynamic, and can use either standard search interface, or pure SQL/Regex, which allows for very subtle matching.

BUT the major issue is how to transfer your collections across if you ever do need to, I’m not sure how Papers exports this information, but Bookends supports quite a complete Applescript interface and that may help. At least according to this: … mport.html – though PDF annotations can be converted, collections are not…

My experience with Mendeley is similar to mbbntu — Mendeley has a really poor UI and feature set (online benefits apart), and IMO this is just a corporate tool from publishing behemoth Elsevier to try to capture users with a “free” lure. Reference management and building up you knowledge map is so important for most academic work that if you only buy one piece of software, it should be a good reference manager…

Mendeley mostly focuses on Word-only, Zotero seems to have more integration with other apps, and there are workflows people use with Scrivener…

Yes, it was a bit chaotic but the problems were solved pretty quick. Unfortunately the original creators of the software sold it to the company selling RedCube, another reference handler, and they are now turning it into a subscription model. So I will have to swap to Bookends sooner or later.

Okay, that’s something I seem to have missed. But I do hope it’s possible to transfer the Collection metadata if I move everything to Bookends. Having to go through every single paper and assign that manually would be a nightmare.

There was something else lacking as well, but I canät remember right now. Possibly something about which databases were available for searching from within Bookends.

Where is the metadata stored? If it is in data fields, you are probably OK. Bookends has quite a large number of blank user fields that can hold whatever data you choose, and pretty powerful find/replace for manipulating data in fields. In fact, it is about the only reference manager I can think of that will allow you to comprehensively mess up your database with injudicious global replace on fields :wink: Just to summarise, it will allow you to prepend or append text to a field, it will allow you to transfer the data from one field to another, and various other operations. As I said, you get a lot of power with Bookends – power that I haven’t found with any similar program.

My recollection is that online search and downloading of data was much more slick with Sente and with Papers, but Bookends has improved that over the years. And the developer is very good at keeping an eye on changes in JSTOR and the like and updating the way that Bookends queries them. Moreover, there is a whole section of the manual (over ten pages) on designing your own import filters, so you can roll your own if you wish. I started counting the ready-made filters in the program, but gave up. There must be about 200 of them, including some fairly obscure ones (Anglia Ruskin, which is just down the road from me). I note there is also LIBRIS, the Swedish Union Catalogue, if that is of any interest :slight_smile:

In short, if you want power and the ability to massage the data in your reference manager, and tweak both input and output, I doubt there is anything for Mac that matches Bookends at the moment. There are much prettier programs, but this one just keeps chugging along very reliably. Quite a good forum, too, and the developer answers a lot of questions there.

PS: the fact that Bookends has a browser within it means you can look at any web page without leaving the program. So you can search anything, basically. And have your own bookmarks in it.

PPS: This states: “Note: Bookends will also import manual collections made in Papers 3. The limitations are: (1) collection hierarchies will not be preserved (i.e. the manual collections will be converted to Bookends static groups at the top level), and (2) if you have nested manual collections, the references will be imported into a single static group that has the name of the topmost collection.”

Moderator Note: moved to Technical Support; you were posting in an area meant for sharing tips.

Yes, as I have been looking more into Bookends, I think I will probably go with that.