Custom citation style for Mendeley

The Zotero Style Repository has a total of 8405 citations styles (so far!), 1444 in medicine and 659 in biology, that is a lot! It can be difficult to find just the right citation style to use for writing your thesis.

Fortunately, Mendeley provides a Visual CSL Editor to make custom citation styles. In our department we usually use a variation of the Harvard format (author-date):

Inline citations:

  • This style is designed for long manuscripts, hence the use of a (author-date) referencing style to avoid going all the way to the references section to find out which reference is which.
  • A minimum of three authors is required to generate “et al.“.
  • I used the symbol “&” instead of “and” or “et” to avoid changing styles when writing in English or in French (or any other language for that matter).
  • Authors names are separated from the year by a “,”
  • The delimiter between inline citations is “;”.


  • Single citation: (Accadia et al., 2012)
  • Merged citations: (Ahlquist & Breunig, 2009; Dunnett & Kingsbury, 2008)


  • The style  generate “et al.” if the number of authors exceeds 6.
  • The year comes right after the authors’ names instead of leaving to the end of the reference (the reason behind this is to avoid confusion when you have successive references of the same author.
  • Journal names are abbreviated and italicized.
  • Included the edition number for books as an option (Ed. X).
  • Book chapters are generated as: Author (Year). “Chapter’s title” Book title (editors names). City: Publisher.


  • Journal article: Accadia T, Acernese F, Alshourbagy M, Amico P, Antonucci F, Aoudia S, et al. (2012).Virgo: a laser interferometer to detect gravitational waves. J Instrum 7(03):P03012–P03012.
  • Book: Dunnett N & Kingsbury N (2008). Planting green roofs and living walls. Ed. 2. Portland, OR: Timber Press.
  • Book chapter: Mares I (2001). “Firms and the welfare state: When, why, and how does social policy matter to employers?” Varieties of capitalism. The institutional foundations of comparative advantage (eds.Peter A Hall, David Soskice). New York: Oxford University Press.

The style is available on Mendeley’s CSL repository and can be used with Mendeley, Zotero and other apps supporting CSL.