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EndNote: How Do I...?

A guide to using EndNote, your new favorite citation manager!

EndNote Tutorials

If you have multiple libraries already created, we recommend that you merge them into a single library so you can sync with Endnote Web, and to keep all your references in one place. (You can organize your projects into Groups!)

  • When manually entering multiple authors for a reference, separate them with a hard return (i.e., press "Enter").
  • DO NOT separate them with commas, semi-colons, etc.
    • Will display incorrectly (i.e., as one long name instead of multiple authors).
  • When manually adding an organization as an author (e.g., Duquesne University), add a comma after the name to make it display correctly (i.e., "Duquesne University,").
  • Without the comma, it will appear as "University, D." or "D. University".

You can share your library with up to 100 people in EndNote 20. Follow any changes made to the library through the activity tracker. It's advised that you create a compressed backup copy of your library before sharing it, just in case something goes wrong!

(Note: Anyone with whom you share your library can edit your references, so be choosy! Don't want someone to be able to edit your library but still want them to have a set of your citations? Send them a compressed copy of your current library using our instructions under "Backup a Library"! Or see how to share just a group below!)

Here are the written instructions:

  1. Go to Tools > Open Term Lists > Journals Term List.
  2. If there are already journals listed in the window, select all of the journals (right-click and “Select All”) and click “Delete Term.”
  3. Select the “Lists” tab at the top of the box and make sure “Journals” is highlighted before clicking the “Import List” button on the bottom right.
  4. It should open up to the Terms Lists folder inside of your EndNote application folder. However, if it does not, navigate to Program Files > EndNote x8 > Terms Lists.
  5. Select the journals list file for your field of study. PubMed? Choose Medical.txt.
  6. Navigate back to the “Terms” tab at the top of the box and you will now see the journal names and any abbreviations. You can close this window.
  7. Click Edit > Output Style > Open Style Manager. Find your citation style. Use the “Find By” button to select “Favorites” and see your most frequently used styles. (Note: If you use multiple citation styles, you will have to do this for each style.)
  8. Select a style and click “Edit.” Then, find “Journal Names” on the left.
  9. If the “Use full journal name” button is selected, you’re good to go! If not, choose that option or choose to use a specific abbreviation, if that’s typical of the citation style. (For APA, it is not, but for some others, it is.) You can also select to exclude any periods in the abbreviation, if that’s how a journal title is supposed to appear in your style.
  10. Click File > Save. Your citations should now have the correct journal name format! (Note: The journal name may still appear in your library as the abbreviated title, but it should appear in your citations as the full title name.)


You may come across a journal title that is not on the journals term list. You have two options:

Adding a Term Manually (Recommended for Faculty and advanced EndNote users):

  1. Double-click on a reference to open it.
  2. Right-Click on the Journal Name.
  3. Select Open Term Lists > Journal Term Lists.
  4. Click the New Term button.
  5. Type the full name of the journal (under the alternative journal title) and the journal abbreviation (under the journal name) in their respective boxes.
  6. Click OK and Save Journal buttons.

Changing the Journal Title Manually (Recommended for one-time users of a journal):

  1. Double-click on a reference to open it.
  2. In the journal name field, replace the abbreviated version with the full title.
  3. File > Save. Close the window. Only this instance of the journal title has been fixed, but if you don't plan on using this journal often or don't mind manually updating the citation each time, this will work. 

In APA 6 style, EndNote will sometimes render acronyms incorrectly

  • Example: In APA 6, "PTSD" in a journal article title should be rendered as "PTSD". However, EndNote will render it as "Ptsd".
  • To fix this on a PC, go to Edit > Preferences > Change Case. For Macs, go to EndNote x8 > Preferences > Change Case.

In APA, titles are cited in lowercase format, aside from the first word and proper nouns. Sometimes, when citations are downloaded from the database, each word in the title is capitalized. Watch the video below to see how to convert the titles to the correct format using the least amount of effort.

Want to create a bibliography of all the citations you've used in a paper? Highlight the citations in your library. (Edit > Select all to highlight your entire library or a group.) Double-check that you've selected the right style from the dropdown box in EndNote. Then, go to References > Copy formatted. Now, navigate to where you'd like to place your bibliography. Right-click or use ctrl + v to paste the bibliography into your paper. Now, you can format the bibliography using regular Word commands. 

Need to export your sources into a XML file to use in your systematic review software, like Covidence?

First, select the group you'd like to export. Below, I have the "Data Resources" smart group highlighted. Want to export your entire library? Just highlight "All References," the first tab.

EndNote groups

Then, go to File > Export. In the pop-up box, give your file a unique name, specific to that group. Save it as type "XML (.xml)" from the dropdown box. Below that, select to show all fields in the output style box. Also, note where you are saving this file at the top so you remember where to find it later! This example will be saved in the Downloads folder. Click "Save".

Export Options

You can now upload the XML file into your systematic review software!

Discover EndNote AFTER you've finished your paper? Unfortunately, it's not easy to get your citations into EndNote from Word. Here's a PDF explaining three options for getting your bibliography into EndNote from Word. Or you can use this video to create your own filter in EndNote to import an unformatted text document, if you plan to import bibliographies often!

Before you make any major changes to your library, like adjusting settings or sharing your library with someone, it's best practice to create a backup copy, just in case something goes wrong. Compressed copies are also the best way to email your library! (Note: The recipient must have the desktop version of EndNote to view the .enlx file.)

To do this, go to File > Compressed Library (.enlx)...

Create a copy with or without file attachments, i.e., including or not including any PDFs you've attached through Find Full Text. You can either create a copy of your entire library, a smart group, or only the references you currently have highlighted. 

Next, choose a location to store your compressed library. You can save a copy to your computer, a flash drive, the Cloud, etc. (Note: Only save backup copies of your library to flash drives or the Cloud. Never work on a copy you've saved to these locations, as they mess with the sync capabilities. If you'd like to use a backup copy as your working copy, download the backup copy back onto your computer into your documents folder and work on it from there. Don't forget to make a new backup copy!!)

Making backup copies is especially important when you've shared your library with other users. If they delete an important citation or a PDF you spent hours annotating, you'll be able to recover it from your backup copy!

It's best to make backup copies of your library frequently. EndNote has its own syncing service, but the more copies there are, the better. Save a backup copy in a separate physical location, i.e., don't save your only backup copy to your computer, because if your computer catches fire, both copies will be gone! Save a copy to the Cloud and/or a flash drive and/or another computer. 

If you'd like to backup a copy to use in the future in another citation manager or make a file to send to a non-EndNote user, go to Edit > Select All to highlight all of the references in your library or highlight only the references you'd like to include. Then, go to Edit > Output Styles > Open Style Manager. Scroll down until you find "RefMan (RIS) Export". Now, this will appear where your citation style usually is located. Go to File > Export and save a .txt file of your citations in RIS format. The file will now be readable by most citation managers.

The APA style guide specifies that the first time you use a group author for an in-text citation, you should use square brackets to indicate an abbreviation. Then, in subsequent in-text citations, you use the abbreviation instead of the full name of the group author, for example:

First in text citation:

Children should learn about family finances in age-appropriate ways (American Psychological Association [APA], 2011). 

Second in text citation using the same source:

Children should learn about family finances in age-appropriate ways (APA, 2011).

To make these abbreviations in EndNote:

  1. For the first reference, use the EndNote citation edit tools to:
    1. Exclude Author
    2. Add a Prefix with the full group author name, square bracketed abbreviation, comma, and space (e.g., American Psychological Association [APA], )
  2. For subsequent in text citations, use the EndNote citation edit tools to:
    1. Exclude Author
    2. Add a Prefix for with the abbreviated group author name, a comma, and a space (e.g., APA, )