Available for beta testing: Online Mendeley importer

In the latest Zotero beta we've added a new Mendeley importer that imports data directly from an online Mendeley library rather than a local database. This avoids the need to install an old version of Mendeley Desktop to work around the database encryption Mendeley added several years ago. Since that time, Mendeley has introduced Mendeley Reference Manager, which is essentially a wrapper around the web library without a real local database, further making any sort of local import infeasible.

If you use Mendeley Desktop, you'll need to make sure that all data and files have been synced to Mendeley servers before importing. (This was already necessary in order to sync with and import from the pre-encryption version of Mendeley Desktop.)

If you use Mendeley Reference Manager, your data and files are already all online.

To begin an import, go to File → Import within Zotero and choose the "Mendeley Reference Manager (online import)" option. You'll be asked to log in to Mendeley to allow Zotero to perform the import. Your Mendeley password is never seen or stored.

The importer is compatible with the existing local importer, so if you've added items to Mendeley since a previous import, you can import again using either tool and new items will be imported without duplicating existing items. The new importer also imports PDF annotations for use with Zotero's new PDF reader.
  • Worked perfectly -- incredible. Thank you so much!
  • Mine is unfortunately very slow, and crashes before completion with a bunch of 401 errors. My library is 1809 files big. I assume the Mendeley API has a bunch of unreasonable limitations to discourage this sort of thing, and thus hard for you to do anything about. Thanks for all your efforts, regardless!
  • @asmusod: We'll have a fix for the 401 errors (which happen if the import takes longer than ~8.5 minutes) later today.
  • @asmusod: Please update to the latest beta via Help → Check for Updates and try again, and let us know how it goes.
  • @dstillman Thanks a bunch, the import now completed successfully!
  • Hi there, I'm new to Zotero.

    I've just successfully imported my Mendeley library. When I open one of the PDF's that came from Mendeley in Zotero I can see my old highlighted text and annotations, however Zotero is unable to extract annotations from any of these imported PDF's. I have ZotFile and Mdnotes for Zotero active and have not had issues doing this with PDF'sI've edited in other software.

  • @philip.s.ericsson: You add Zotero annotations — including imported Mendeley annotations — to notes using Zotero's own annotation functionality. If you're trying to use ZotFile, that won't work — ZotFile doesn't know anything about Zotero annotations and is no longer necessary if you're using the Zotero PDF reader.
  • Does this way of importing from Mendeley to Zotero keep the tree folder structure of all entries that exist in Mendeley?
  • This would wonderfully simplify my life. Is there an ETA on when this will be available in a non-beta version?
  • edited September 12, 2021
    Zotero seems to have merged "Tags" (the ones I created in Mendeley) with "Author Tags," and somehow added some new tags that are basically random phrases from the article itself. Is there a way of importing my Mendeley library so that I have just the tags that I created and organized in Mendeley into Zotero?

    Also, my Mendeley online import to Zotero has been going on for over 6 hours (Mendeley library is quite large--7.52 Gigabytes..!). Is it possible to stop the import for now and come back to it after rebooting my computer, redo the online import without duplicating items?
  • The Mendeley Importer was great, but it also imported all of the random tags assigned by the authors / library databases. I can see that many people over the years have requested a bulk tag editing feature. It took me a very long time just to delete the tags from A - E. Please when will this functionality be available? My Zotero library is suffering from it. Thanks.
  • Hi,
    I downloaded the latest beta for Ubuntu but the option "Mendeley Reference Manager (online import)" doesn't show up when I select import. The only options are "file" and "Mendeley" (which then asks for a local Mendeley database).
    Could anyone help me please and tell me what I am doing wrong?
  • It sounds like you're not running a recent beta release of Zotero, you can check by selecting "Help"->"About Zotero", version is mentioned underneath the logo, it should say something like "5.0.97-beta".

    You can download latest beta build from here.

  • edited 7 days ago
    I'm wondering if Zotero is working towards enabling group folders from Mendeley? If yes, I'd wait until it's ready.
  • @yaoyaoirhr: The Mendeley importer has always supported Mendeley folders.
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