Use this guide to find out how to download and use Endnote.

About this guide

EndNote is software that helps you store, manage, search and share references for your research and study.

Use this guide to learn how to:

  • download and install EndNote (if you are from ACU)
  • use some of the main features of EndNote
  • contact the Library for more help.

Is EndNote for me?

EndNote bibliographic software is useful for:

  • Researchers and higher degree students who need to manage a large number of references for a research project, literature review, systematic review or thesis.
  • Researchers writing journal articles who need to submit a manuscript that conforms to a special journal or publisher style.
  • Students who need to manage a large number of references for a major research project (such as a systematic review) or thesis.

Students who need help with referencing should consult our referencing guide and the range of academic integrity and referencing resources available via the Academic Skills Unit.

Download EndNote

EndNote is free for ACU staff and students. The latest version available to download is EndNote 20.0.1. To get your copy for Windows or Mac:

Important notice - Before using EndNote X9.3 to 20.0.1:

  1. Backup your EndNote library - especially before you install a version between X9.3 to 20.0.1, but you should also do this regularly whenever using EndNote.
  2. Uninstall all old versions of EndNote (X9.2 and below).
  3. Once you have started using any version from X9.3 to 20.0.1, do not use older versions of EndNote (X9.2 and below) - doing so will delete your EndNote data. 

If you are having a problem downloading EndNote, contact the Library for help.

How to use EndNote

Before installing EndNote, you should check if the software is designed to run on your computer. We also recommend that you have a compatible version of Microsoft Word pre-installed beforehand.

Installing on Windows:

  1. Backup your EndNote Library (this is an important first step).
  2. Uninstall any previous versions of EndNote.
  3. Run the EndNote20.exe file.
  4. Follow the instructions to install.
  5. Allow EndNote to convert any existing library and files to the new 64-bit format.
  6. To restore EndNote sync functionality after creating a converted library:
    1. make sure the converted .enl file and .data folder are saved to the same folder as your original EndNote .enl and.data folder
    2. once the new library is converted and working, quit EndNote.
    3. delete your original .enl file and .data folder (or move these to another location if you wish to be cautious)
    4. rename the converted .enl and .data folder to the exact names of your original versions.
  7. Do not use your converted EndNote library and files with older versions of EndNote (X9.2 and below) - this will delete your EndNote data.

Installing on Mac:

  1. Backup your EndNote Library (this is an important first step).
  2. Uninstall any previous versions of EndNote.
  3. Run the EndNote20.dmg file.
  4. Select “Install EndNote 20.app”.
  5. Follow the instructions to install.
  6. Allow EndNote to convert any existing library and files to the new 64-bit format.
  7. To restore EndNote sync functionality after creating a converted library:
    1. make sure the converted .enl file and .data folder are saved to the same folder as your original EndNote .enl and.data folder
    2. once the new library is converted and working, quit EndNote.
    3. delete your original .enl file and .data folder (or move these to another location if you wish to be cautious)
    4. rename the converted .enl and .data folder to the exact names of your original versions.
  8. Do not use your converted EndNote library and files with older versions of EndNote (X9.2 and below) - this will delete your EndNote data.

Whether you have just started using EndNote or need to refresh your memory, you can access a number of official EndNote training videos and materials online at https://clarivate.com/webofsciencegroup/support/endnote/.

  • EndNote 20 for users - reference guides on how to use the latest version of EndNote.
  • EndNote Online - if you want to learn more about the online-only version of EndNote (including how it interacts with the desktop version).

You can also to refer to a variety of EndNote Training videos on YouTube.

How to use EndNote in 7 minutes

You can also view one of the following videos (for Windows or Mac) to learn the basics of how to:

  • create an EndNote library
  • import a reference from an online database
  • create a custom group and add references to it
  • use Find Full Text to download PDFs for references
  • insert a reference in a Word document
  • format a bibliography
  • add page numbers to a citation

What's New in Endnote 20 (for those upgrading from X9)

You can also watch the following webinar recording (1 hour) to learn about the changed features of Endnote 20 (You may be prompted to install WebEx webinar software to view).

Creating your library

Your EndNote library is a file (with the extension .enl) that is created and managed within the EndNote program. It is necessary for you to store references, PDFs and images.

You can create a new library by opening the EndNote program. To do this, go to the “File” menu and choose “New…”. However, keep in mind the following principles:

  • It is recommended that you only create and use one EndNote library (you can use groups to divide your library into further areas of research).
  • You should give your EndNote library a unique name e.g. Marsha_Chan_research.enl.
  • You can sync your EndNote library to an EndNote Online account (but it only works with one EndNote library).
  • You must store the .enl EndNote library file on your computer’s hard drive (storing it on a cloud or network drive can cause corruption).

Backup up and restoring your library

Whether you are installing a newer version of EndNote or reinstalling on a new computer, it is important that you make a backup copy of your library:

  1. Go to the "File" menu and select "Compressed Library (.enlx) ..."
  2. Select "Create" if you just want to save the file to your computer.
  3. Choose whether you want the backup copy to save your references with or without the file attachments.
  4. Choose whether you want to backup all the references in the library, selected references or groups of references.
  5. Select "Next", navigate to the folder where you want to save the file, and save.
  6. A .enlx file will be created. It is this file that you need to keep for when you want to restore your EndNote library.

To restore an EndNote library you just need to go to the "File" menu, select "Open..." and choose your backed up .enlx file.

Customising the EndNote library display

There are a few ways that you can customise EndNote to best suit your needs. For instance, you can:

  • Add or remove the fields you want to display by going to the "Edit" menu, then "Preferences"; and then selecting "Display Fields".
  • Sort the order of your references by clicking on the relevant the column (field) header.
  • Change the layout of the panels within your window by going to the "Layout" button in the very far right corner of the EndNote window.
  • Search for a reference using the "Quick Search" box on the bar just under the menu options.
  • Compare and discard duplicates by going to the "Library" menu and selecting "Find Duplicates". Just make sure you don't discard or delete any references you're citing in Microsoft Word.

Importing references from online databases

References are used in EndNote to store information about a publication (such as the title, authors, publisher, pages and lots more). Many online databases will provide you with the option to export/download these references to EndNote.

As every database uses a different process to export EndNote references, you should be looking for:

  • one or more icons that imply a citation or a reference is available - sometimes represented as a set of quotation marks (")
  • terms such as: "export", "citation" or "reference"
  • mentions of the term "RIS" - the .ris file contains bibliographic information (title, author, etc,) that EndNote can usually transform into a reference.
Example: Exporting references from Google Scholar to EndNote

Follow the steps below to learn how to export references from Google Scholar and import into your EndNote library.

  1. Go to Google Scholar at http://scholar.google.com.
  2. Select "Settings" in the upper right-hand corner (the icon that looks like three horizontal lines).
  3. Under "Bibliography Manager", select the dropdown box under "Show links to import citations into" and choose "EndNote".
  4. Select the "Save" button.
  5. Once you have searched Google Scholar, you will now see and select the "Import into EndNote" link.
  6. An .enw file will download (or you will be prompted to save such a file).
  7. Open the .enw file and EndNote should automatically import the references in the "All References" section.

Editing references

Each reference is made up of numerous fields for information (metadata) about the publication, e.g. title, authors, DOI, journal title, etc. It is also assigned a reference type, e.g. journal article, book, book chapter, artwork, etc.

You can edit a single reference by selecting your reference, and then choosing "Edit References" by right-clicking or going to the "References" menu (you can also simply double-click any reference). The reference will open in its own window and when you close the window you should be prompted to save.

When you edit a reference, keep in mind the following:

  • Make sure your reference type matches what is listed in the "Reference Type" drop-down menu.
  • Always be accurate when entering data into a field.
  • Use capital letters in article, book and journal titles according to guidelines of the referencing style you are using.
  • Don’t format text (e.g. italics or bold). EndNote formats the reference according to the referencing style.
  • Authors should be entered one per line. Begin with the family name and separate the family name and given names with a comma, e.g. "de Gaulle, Charles".
  • For organisations and companies, make sure you include a comma at the end, e.g. "United Nations,".
  • Abbreviate journal titles if required for your referencing style. You can view the video below to learn how to do this by setting up a journal term list.
  • If required, you can always create a new reference via the "File" menu.
Abbreviating journal titles by setting up a journal term list

Creating group sets and groups

You can organise your references into groups that are displayed in the left panel of EndNote. These groups can be named as you prefer and arranged as part of a broader group set. For example:

  • If you are a student, you might create a group set for your unit, and create separate groups within the unit group set for each assessment task.
  • If you are a researcher, you might create a group set for a research project, and then create separate groups within the research project group set for each of your publications.

To create a group from the menu:

  1. Create a group set by clicking on the “Groups” menu and choose “Create Group Set”
  2. Once you have a created a group set, select it in the left panel, then go back to the “Groups” menu and choose “Create group”

To create a group from the left panel:

  1. Create a group set by right-clicking an empty space below “Trash” in the left panel and selecting “Create Group Set”.
  2. Once you have created a group set, right-click it in the left panel and select "Create Group".

Once a group set and its groups are created, you can drag and drop individual references into the individual group of your choice.

An important note about deleting groups

If you delete a reference from the “All References” section found in the left panel, the reference will be completely removed from your library. If you only want to remove a reference from a specific group, navigate to that group first and select it from there.

Smart groups

If you want certain references to be automatically grouped together you can use smart groups. For instance, if you want to group all references from a particular journal, you could create a smart group to do this for you automatically.

Attaching a file to an existing reference

You can link each EndNote reference to a file (PDFs, images and documents). To do this:

  • Select a reference.
  • From the panel in the right hand side, click the +Attach File button (in Endnote 20).
  • Or, go to the "References" menu and choose "File Attachments", select "Attach File..." and navigate to where you have stored the file on your computer.

Creating references by importing PDF files

When you import a PDF file, EndNote can often automatically generate a reference for that file (if it has metadata embedded within it). To import a PDF file (or multiple PDF files from a folder):

  1. Go to the "File" menu, then "Import", then choose "File..." (for a single PDF) or "Folder..." (for multiple PDF files)
  2. Select "Choose" and navigate to the file or folder you wish to import.
  3. Select "PDF" from the "Import Option" drop-down menu.
  4. Choose an option that best suits you from the "Duplicates" drop-down menu.
  5. Select a "Text Translation" option (if available). The default value is "No Translation".
  6. Select "Import".

EndNote will automatically create a new reference with the PDF attached to it.

If the PDF did not contain any metadata, EndNote will create a blank reference. You might still be able to automatically generate metadata by entering the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) into the DOI field and then choose "Find Reference Updates..." by right-clicking the reference or via the "References" menu.

Automatically importing PDF files from a designated folder

You can set your preferences to enable automatic importing of PDF files that are added to a chosen folder on your computer. To enable this feature, go to the "Edit" menu, then "Preferences"; then:

  1. Select "PDF Handling".
  2. Choose whether you want your PDF files to be automatically renamed.
  3. Check the box "Enable automatic importing".
  4. Choose "Select Folder" and navigate to your chosen folder.
  5. Select "OK" to apply your settings and close the preferences box.

Finding full text with EndNote

The "Find Full Text" feature lets EndNote to attempt to find full text for your references. This is useful if you have references for publications but don't have a copy of the full text. Keep in mind that EndNote will not find a matching full-text for all your references, but only those where:

  • your library has a subscription
  • where the database allows EndNote to download full text
  • when the reference has enough information (metadata) in its fields.
Enabling find full text in the settings

Go to the "Edit" menu, then "Preferences" and select "Find Full Text". Then enter the following:

  1. OpenURL Path: http://acu-edu-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/openurl/61ACU/61ACU_SP
  2. URL: http://ezproxy.acu.edu.au/login
  3. Select "OK" to apply your settings and close the preferences box.

Image of the Find Full Text preferences window

Using the find full text feature

Once you have enabled the option in the settings, you can now use EndNote to try and find the full text for your references:

  1. Select your references in EndNote (use the CTRL key to select multiple references).
  2. Right-click any of your references, choose "Find Full Text" and then "Find Full Text...".
  3. Enter your ACU username and password when prompted.
  4. In the left panel under "Find Full Text", EndNote will indicate that it is searching and how many full text publications were found.
  5. When complete, you will see a paperclip icon alongside any references where the full-text has been found.

You can insert EndNote references into Microsoft Word as citations or as a bibliography or reference list. This EndNote feature is called "Cite While You Write" (CWYW).

Important information before using Word and EndNote

If you feel uncertain about any of the following, please contact a Senior Librarian for help.

  • Check that your version of Word is compatible with the current EndNote version.
  • You should install Word before you install EndNote. If this is not possible, you'll need to run the EndNote installation file again and choose the repair option for the EndNote tab to appear in Word.
  • If you use Track Changes or manually edit the citations in your Word document, it can corrupt your work (making your citations and bibliography unreadable and breaking the link between Word and EndNote). To avoid this:
    1. Always make sure Track Changes are turned off for your original document.
    2. If you need to edit using Track Changes, save a copy of your document, and then on the EndNote tab in Word go to the "Convert Citations and Bibliography" and choose "Convert to Plain Text".
    3. You or a supervisor can then turn on Track Changes to edit the document.
    4. When your document has been edited, copy any changes in your original document.

Setting the referencing style in Word

  1. Make sure you have selected the EndNote tab in Word.
  2. Select the "Style" drop-down and choose which style you require, e.g. APA 7th.

Inserting citations

To insert a reference as a citation in Word:

  1. In your Word document, place your cursor where you want to insert the citation.
  2. Select the EndNote tab and then choose "Go to Endnote".
  3. Select the reference(s) from your library.
  4. Go to the "Tools" menu and under "Cite While You Write (CWYW)" click "Insert Selected Citation(s)".

The citation(s) you selected will be inserted into Word, a bibliography will be generated, and both will be formatted in your selected referencing style. You can also turn formatting off by selecting the "Instant Formatting is" option in the EndNote tab in Word. Unformatted citations have curly brackets and exposed record numbers {Wu, 2018 #34}.

Editing citations

If you directly edit the inserted citation or bibliography fields within Word, your changes will not be saved and you could potentially corrupt the document. Therefore, you need to make sure you edit citations properly by using the "Edit & Manage Citation(s)" option in the EndNote tab. Doing this will allow you to:

  • use the prefix field to enter text to be displayed immediately before the citation text, e.g. "cited in " to display as (cited in Coles, 2011)
  • use the suffix field for text after the citation text and for page numbers where the pages field does not work correctly (e.g. Chicago style).
  • enter page numbers by using the pages field.
  • Make certain changes using the Formatting drop-down menu. e.g. format in-text citation as Author (Year) rather than (Author, Year).

Also keep in mind that if you make a change to a reference in EndNote itself, the change will reflect in Word if that reference has been used as a citation or in the bibliography.

Inserting and formatting a bibliography

Your bibliography (or reference list) is automatically generated as you insert citations from EndNote into your Word document. This also means that if you format your bibliography like a standard Word document, it will be continuously overwritten. However, you can choose how to format your bibliography by selecting the small arrow at the bottom right of the EndNote tab's "Bibliography" section.

Adding a bibliography manually

There may be circumstances where you wish to manually insert a bibliography from EndNote into Word. To do this:

  1. Have your Word document open.
  2. Open EndNote (you can also select the "Go to EndNote" button in the Word tab).
  3. When you are in EndNote, hold the CTRL key and select each of the references you want in your bibliography.
  4. Go to the "Edit" menu and select "Copy Formatted".
  5. Go back to your Word document and paste the references you have copied.

You can choose from almost 500 referencing styles pre-installed with EndNote 20. Over 6000 additional styles are also available to you directly from EndNote.

Specific styles at ACU

In some instances, your lecturer-in-charge may require you to download and install specific styles during your study at ACU.

Installing individual styles

  1. Download the style you want to install.
  2. Double-click the style file ending in .ens (it should automatically open in EndNote).
  3. In EndNote, go to the “File” menu and choose “Save As”. Replace the word “copy” with your style’s name and click “Save”.
  4. Click on the “File” menu and choose “Close Style”.

EndNote online

Whilst this guide primarily focuses on using EndNote as installable software (sometimes referred to as "EndNote desktop"), you can also use a browser-based EndNote called "EndNote online". You can read the Quick Reference Guide for Online to learn more about the online version of EndNote. If you use EndNote desktop, EndNote online allows you to:

  • access a browser-based version of EndNote via https://www.myendnoteweb.com/, but requires you to register for an EndNote account
  • store an unlimited number of references and attachments
  • synchronise one library between the desktop and online versions
  • share your entire library with other EndNote users
  • use EndNote for iPad (which you can download from the iTunes Store).

Sync your EndNote library

Once you've signed up for an EndNote account, you can start the sync process from within the EndNote desktop software. But before you do, just make sure that you have an empty EndNote online library (only keep references here that are not already in your desktop version).

  1. You should only have one EndNote library, but if not, make sure you choose the one library you wish to sync.
  2. Go to the "Edit" menu, choose "Preferences" and select "Sync".
  3. Enter your email address and password under "EndNote Account Credentials".
  4. Double-check that the correct library file is chosen under "Sync this EndNote Library".
  5. Select the "Enable Sync" button.
  6. Select "Apply".

When you are connected to the internet, EndNote will sync your library between desktop and online (including iPad) versions. Any change made to a reference or attachment in either online or desktop versions will affect the other.

Sharing your library

You can share your library or a group to other EndNote users. Whilst you can nominate what level of access these other users can have, keep in mind that if they have read and write access then changes that they make will affect the references in your library or group.

Endnote 20 group sharing
Endnote 20 library sharing


Contact the Library

Request Endnote support

Last reviewed: 7 April 2021