Paging librarians of Metafilter... running out of sanity
September 17, 2016 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Need to format citations for a paper using Mendeley. Unfortunately, the formatting requirements provided by my institution, although specific, do not list the style name. I have been trying to find the style / create a new style using but I just cannot seem to figure this out. Can someone point me to the right style?

I was trying to find the exact match on and then tried to use the "edit" feature to create a style myself but I am getting lost and am getting pressed for time. I have already spent two full hours on it and am not any closer to figuring it out.

Our library is closed for the weekend and none of my colleagues use a reference manager. I need to show the formatted paper to my boss on Monday.

The inline citations are supposed to be [1] numbers in square brackets [1], and the reference list needs to be sorted alphabetically. Full names followed by initials, no italics. I am only citing journal articles so I do not need to figure out how to format book titles.

Smith M., Bernice K., Xing P., Depoortere M.: Title of the paper. Acta Angiol. 2017, 14, 1, 20-24.

Lovely Mefites, I'd really appreciate your help!
posted by M. to Writing & Language (11 answers total)
Best answer: Can you get it by editing this one?
posted by hoyland at 10:11 AM on September 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I took a crack at it with the visual editor and got to here. I'm not positive about the numbering of the in text citations.
posted by hoyland at 10:17 AM on September 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks Hoyland - this is about 75% of the way there :)
I am afraid I cannot for my life figure out the editor and your second link went right above my head... should I paste it somewhere on the site?
posted by M. at 10:23 AM on September 17, 2016

In order to help with identification, are you able to give a link to your formatting instructions? Or specify more narrowly the discipline (guessing from your example it's medical)?
posted by davemack at 11:24 AM on September 17, 2016

Response by poster: Well... the formatting instructions are in my native language (Polish). Most of the 2-page text applies to text formatting, tables etc. I have translated the applicable instructions above.
Happy to email the full instructions to anyone versed in the language :)

And yup, it's medicine.
posted by M. at 11:33 AM on September 17, 2016

Best answer: Well, this is a closer, but not exact, match:

Dowloadable Mendeley Desktop reference style for this journal:
posted by davemack at 11:53 AM on September 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

How many articles are you citing? If it's not too many, you could always use a style that's close and then go back and do some minor editing.
posted by bluedaisy at 2:13 PM on September 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: About 90
posted by M. at 6:50 PM on September 17, 2016

Have you been able to use the suggested style I gave last night, and adapt/edit it to produce what you need?
posted by davemack at 7:05 AM on September 18, 2016

Response by poster: Thank you for your thoughtful responses! I am grateful to both davemack and hoyland for their gracious assistance. I waited a bit before responding so as not to threadsit too much - but I think I now have enough to go on.

So, what bluedaisy made me realize is that it's much easier to edit the reference list at the end than to change the order of in-text (inline) citations. The instructions I got specifically request the citations to be listed in alphabetical order which meant, as much as the other specifications in davemack's suggestion are close to what I need, I just cannot figure out how to change the alphabetical vs order of appearance part.

For future Mefites reading this question, maybe there is a more intuitive editor out there but especially being tired from all the typing I just gave up on trying to understand the editor on the page.

I ended up pasting hoyland's script (code?) into the window and it worked! I saved the style as "OriginalStyleIGoogledEDITED" and imported it into Mendeley. I am going to do the rest of the editing after having my boss approve the final version - so I can worry about commas and italics later. Main thing, I got the order right.

I also imported davemack's suggested style into my Mendeley style library.

Hoyland and davemack, I owe you a [virtual] beer! Thank you!
posted by M. at 8:15 AM on September 18, 2016

Best answer: Thanks for the update. I trust that what you've been able to do this weekend will be OK as far as your boss is concerned -- it's always frustrating and anxiety-provoking when you can't access usual sources of help such as your library, especially when you're working to a deadline, and inevitably what you'll have done will have to be to some extent provisional.

The near-match style I found is actually a version of the Vancouver system, in case that helps. There are several variations available, and you can access the base-version using Mendeley Desktop via View, then Citation Style. In the Citation Style table, you'll be able to see the installed styles, from which you can specifiy (and change) your default citation style. You'll likely find that for Vancouver it says that there are 'updates available'. If you click the tab for Get More Styles and search for Vancouver you'll see lots of variants, including some university-specific ones such as Imperial College London, and clicking on any of these will then allow you the option to install.

Regarding the citation style editor, there's a guide at, but you might also find the Zotero guide helpful too:

Hope this helps, rather than overloads you.
posted by davemack at 9:13 AM on September 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

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