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EndNote 20

Guide to using EndNote reference management software

Training activities

If you are using this guide for self-directed learning, you may find it useful to work through these tasks.

Task 1a: Keep the UCL EndNote Help guide open

Please keep this EndNote guide open throughout the session. We suggest you open a new tab or window in your browser to access other websites.

If doing self-directed learning, you may find it helpful to watch the How to use EndNote in 7 minutes video before you begin. 

Task 1b: Access the desktop version to create a new EndNote library

  • From the Start menu, or Windows icon, select EndNote from the list of programs. 
  • To create a new EndNote library, select the option to Create a new library when prompted, or go to the File menu and select New
  • Choose an appropriate name and location to save your EndNote library, e.g. your N: drive. 

Task 2: Import term lists

See Using Term Lists.

Optional: This step is more important in some disciplines than others. If you are working with references from STEM subjects, you are strongly advised to follow this step.

Some citation styles require journal titles in full form, and some in abbreviated form. Download an index of full and abbreviated journal titles into your EndNote library so that EndNote can use the correct format. This is best done when you first create your library.

Things to do:

  • From the Library menu, select Define Terms Lists. Then from the Lists tab select Journals.
  • Click Import List…, and select and open the list which best suits your subject area.
  • Click on the Terms tab if you wish to view the list of imported terms.

You can import more than one list, but too many may make EndNote run more slowly.

Task 3: Export references from an online resource

See Exporting from online resources.

Link to a database of your choice, e.g. Web of Science or PubMed, from the databases list on the UCL Library Services website.

Things to try:

  • Carry out a search in the database of your choice for articles on carpal tunnel by Gelfman.
  • The export to Endnote method will vary for each database, but generally you need to find the Export or Send to option and select Citation manager or Export to EndNote Desktop. You may need to open the saved file to actually send the references to EndNote.
  • Search for a subject of your choice and export more references to your library.
  • Search other online resources and export references to EndNote; e.g. Explore (UCL’s library catalogue), Google Scholar, Scopus.

Things to think about:

  • As references are being added to All References, in which folder do they also appear?
  • Look at the full record you have imported. Is the record complete?
  • Did you consider how much information about the reference(s) you wanted to import into EndNote?
  • What would you need to do to ensure the abstract or full reference is included?
  • Are there any other types of resource you might want to include in your library? A web page for example?

Task 4: Searching online resources from within EndNote

See Searching online resources from within EndNote.

In the left side menu pane, you will see the group set Online Search with resources such as Web of Science and PubMed listed under it.

Things to try:

  • In Online Search select a database, e.g. PubMed or click on More… to select additional databases. Please note, it is not possible to search resources that require a password. Searching Web of Science will work only from a computer on the UCL network.
  • Use the search screen above the centre pane to find articles on carpal tunnel by Gelfman and click OK to retrieve and import all results. 
  • Select the references you want to add to your library by clicking on them. The selected references will be highlighted and a tick will appear in the boxes on the left.
  • Click the plus icon above the search results to add the selected online records to your local library.
  • The records will now appear in the Recently Added group and All References.

Things to think about:

  • This method of adding references is useful when you know the details of the reference you are looking for.

Task 5: Obtain references from PDF documents

See Importing PDFs.

EndNote can import full text articles and documents and create references with the bibliographic details completed automatically. You can then view and annotate the full text document within EndNote.

For this activity you will need to have a PDF document saved somewhere on your computer. If you do not, then go to an electronic journal and download an article to your desktop. 

Things to try:

  • Go to the File menu and select Import and then File…
  • Browse to select the PDF file which you wish to import.
  • Under Import option select PDF and then click on Import.
  • Check the reference to ensure its fields have been downloaded successfully.
  • Try to import a whole folder of PDFs by going to the File menu and selecting Import and then Folder. You can then choose to have Groups and Group Sets automatically created to organise your PDF imports.

Things to think about:

  • EndNote will only complete the bibliographic details if it is able to locate them. If not, it is best to import the reference and then add the full text document to it by right-clicking on the reference and selecting PDF and then Attach PDF.
  • EndNote can be set up to automatically import from a selected folder on your computer. Go to the Edit menu and select Preferences. Click on PDF handling and under PDF Auto Import Folder check the Enable Automatic mapping box and select the folder of your choice.

Task 6: Search for the full text for references within EndNote

See Managing full text documents.

Things to try:

  • Highlight one or more references. You can hold down the Control key and click on individual references to highlight more than one.
  • From the References menu, select Find full text and then Find full text.

Things to think about:

  • On UCL computers, EndNote is automatically configured to search freely available or UCL-subscribed full text.
  • EndNote will not always be able to locate the full text even where UCL has a subscription as it is also dependent on the publisher’s website containing necessary metadata.

Task 7: Add a reference to your library manually

See Adding a reference manually.

It is easier and more efficient to add references to your library using online sources, but sometimes you might need to add a reference manually.

Things to try:

  • Go to the References menu and select New Reference.
  • Add details for the following book:

Referencing and understanding plagiarism by Kate Williams and Jude Carroll. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. 

  • Make sure you select the correct Reference Type from the drop-down menu, e.g. book, journal.
  • Try out different ways of entering authors’ names, e.g. Kate Williams; Caroll, J. (Note each author should be entered on a separate line. When entering a corporate name, e.g. University College London, you need to enter it followed by a comma so that EndNote treats it as a single name, and not an individual with the surname ‘London’).
  • Save and close the reference when you have finished.

Task 8: Learn to navigate your library

The screen is split into three main areas:  

  • The centre pane lists your references. Sort the references by clicking on any column header.  
  • The left pane displays Groups. If you are writing multiple assignments, each piece of work can have its own set of references contained within a group. 
  • The right pane has three tabs:
    • Summary shows how the reference would display in a bibliography;  
    • Edit offers a view of all fields for the highlighted reference and allows for edits. 
    • PDF displays the PDF of the reference, if there is one attached. 

Task 9: Create Groups and Group Sets

See Using Groups.

Things to try:

  • From the Groups menu, select Create Group. Give the group a descriptive name, e.g. Introduction, and add some references to it by clicking and dragging, or right-clicking on a reference (or selected references) and selecting Add References To…
  • To delete a reference from a group, right click on it and select Remove References from Group. If you do this, the reference will only be deleted from the group but not the EndNote library.
  • Create Group Sets to organise your Groups.

How can you:

  • Find a reference that you have removed from a group?  Where is it?
  • Find out if there are any duplicates in your library?
  • Change a Group’s name?
  • Create a Smart Group?

Task 10: Change reference fields displayed in EndNote

It can be useful to change the fields that are displayed within the centre pane in EndNote so that you can more easily examine them.

Try the following:

  • Right-click on any column heading, e.g. Title, in the centre pane and select or deselect listed fields.

Task 11: Search for references within your library

See Searching your library.

Try the following:

  • With All references selected in the left pane, use the search box to search your library; e.g. search for references with the author ‘Amadio’, or references with the word ‘carpal’ in the title. Selected results will be displayed in the centre pane and the number of results will appear under Searching All References.

Task 12: Remove duplicates

See Duplicates.

Having duplicate references in your library can cause problems when you come to citing references.

Things to do:

  • Ensure All References is highlighted in the left pane. Then go to the Library menu and select Find Duplicates.
  • Compare duplicate references to decide which to keep, then you can copy and paste information between references if necessary.

Task 13: Back up and save copies of your library

See Creating and saving an EndNote library.

Every EndNote library is made up of a library file (.enl) and a data folder (.data). Your library will not work unless both are saved together in the same place. It is advisable to create backups of your library in case it becomes corrupted.

Things to try:

  • Go to the File menu and select Compress Library (.enlx) to save your library as one compressed file. This is useful if you need to send your library to someone by email; it is also unlikely to corrupt in this format. You are advised not to use cloud sharing facilities such as Dropbox to save EndNote libraries as they are easily corrupted if you do so.
  • Alternatively, go to the File menu and select Save a copy to save both files to an alternate location.

Task 14: Use Cite While You Write

See Cite While You Write (CWYW) Toolbar.

Cite While you Write is the facility (or tool) whereby EndNote desktop or EndNote Online work with Word to create bibliographies or insert references from your library in a Word document and format them in a citation style of your choice, e.g. Harvard, Vancouver.

Things to try:

  • Type the following text into a Word document:

It is important to cite correctly. Gelfman writes about carpal tunnel syndrome.

  • Click on the Endnote tab in Word.
  • Place your cursor in your document after the word ‘correctly’.
  • Click on Insert Citation and search for ‘williams’ to find the book reference you entered manually. (Tip: you can use any search term to find a reference, including a word from the title or the year of the work. Where a search term is common to more than one reference a list of references will appear and you can select one or multiple references from the list).
  • Click on Insert. Your reference is entered as a citation in your document, together with an automatically formatted bibliography / reference list. Select Vancouver from the ‘Style’ drop-down menu so that your references display in a numeric citation style.
  • Now put your cursor at the end of your text and click on the Go to EndNote button. Highlight two references by the author Gelfman by holding down the Ctrl key to select multiple references. Then either:
  • Go to the Tools menu and select Cite while you write and then Insert Selected Citation(s), or
  • Return to Word, click near the bottom of the Insert Citation icon on the toolbar then select Insert Selected Citation(s).
  • In EndNote, select an output style of your choice from Tools and Output Styles, choose some references and then create an independent bibliography in Word.

Things to think about:

  • Are journal titles displaying consistently in either full or abbreviated format? If they are not, you may need to edit their entries in the Term List. (See Task 2.)
  • Click where you have inserted references 2 and 3 and the text will go grey, indicating there is hidden code present. Why should you not type over any part of the Word document which is greyed?
  • Discover what command you can use to safely alter inserted citations, then delete one of the Gelfman references.
  • Using the same command, change your citation style to Harvard.
  • In your second sentence you have mentioned the author Gelfman, so the in-text citation does not need to include the author’s name. Click on that in-text citation and then use the Edit & Manage Citation(s) feature to exclude the author’s name from this citation so that only the year will display.
  • You can insert more references and try using different output styles.
  • If submitting your work to Turnitin or to a publisher, you should remove the hidden coding. How would you create a copy of your paper with no coding?

See Preparing a paper for publication/Turnitin.

Task 15: Explore EndNote Online

See EndNote Online.

If you already have an EndNote Online account and do not wish to synchronise it to the library you have been working with in this session then go to and log in. Otherwise:

In EndNote click on the Library menu and then Sync and follow the instructions to sign up for an account for the online version. 

Things to try:

  • Go to EndNote Online
  • In the My References tab, find out how to edit a reference and add it to one of your groups. Sort your references to display the most recently added first.
  • Go to the Collect tab to add references to your library: do an online search or add a new reference manually.
  • Go to the Organize tab, create a new group, add some references to it and then use Manage Sharing to share your group with a friend.
  • Go to Web of Science or Explore (UCL’s library catalogue) carry out a search and export some references directly into EndNote Online.
  • In Word, change the toolbar to the EndNote Online toolbar by clicking on the EndNote tab and then Preferences. Click on the Application tab and select EndNote online from the drop-down menu. Enter your EndNote online account details. Try inserting some references to your Word document from EndNote Online. 

Things to think about:

  • If you work with EndNote Desktop and EndNote Online, make sure you ‘sync’ your library every time you open the Desktop version and just before you close it.
  • Sharing your library: It is possible to share your entire EndNote desktop library with other EndNote desktop users.

See Sharing a Library.

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