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An introduction to EndNote for Mac and Windows and EndNote Online.

What to do if the PDF import does not work

What to do if the PDF import does not work


The EndNote PDF import feature extracts Digital Object identifiers (DOI) from PDF files and matches the DOI information with data available from CrossRef (, and then uses that data to create records in EndNote.

This means that in order for EndNote to create a reference from a PDF:

  1. Your computer must be connected to the Internet.
  2. The PDF you are importing needs to have a DOI within the file.

Steps for PDF's that do not generate metadata

  • EndNote will create a reference with the PDF attached and the name of the PDF file in the title field.

You can try the Find reference updates feature

  1. Double click on the reference to view the details.
  2. Use the ‘Layout’ menu at the bottom right of the window to select: PDF Panel Right.
  3. Copy and paste some details from the PDF to the reference, e.g. the title, year and the first author’s surname.
  4. Close the reference to save it.
  5. Right click the reference and select: Find Reference Updates…
  6. If EndNote finds the reference online, a window will appear with the available update on the left and your reference to the right.
  7. You can click the ‘Update All Fields’ button to update your reference.

If the 'Find reference updates' feature does not work, you can continue to enter the reference details manually, by referring to (or copying text from) the PDF file.

Group your references

Group your references

Document auto-group

  1. Open your EndNote library.
  2. Open your Word document.
  3. In Word, Click: Update Citations and Bibliography 
  4. The document auto-group will then appear in your EndNote library and list all the references you have used in the Word document.

You can use this to figure out which references you are using in your document, that you should double check/clean up.

Note that the document auto-group is temporary and disappears each time you close your document.

Smart groups

You can create smart groups based on a search queries to quickly organise your EndNote library.

To create a smart group:

  1. Select: Groups > Create Smart Group
  2. Give your smart group a name.
  3. Enter a search query.
  4. Click the Create button.

Any new references you add to your EndNote library in the future that match the search query will also be added to the smart group.

Combined groups 

You can create new groups by combining existing groups in your library:

  1. Select: Groups > Create From Groups...
  2. Select the groups you wish to combine using the drop-down menus.
  3. Use Boolean operators: AND, OR, and NOT to combine groups.
  4. Use the +, or - buttons to add/remove fields.
  5. Click the Create button.

Sort your references

Sort your references


Click any column header to sort by that field, click again to sort in reverse order.

Sort your references using multiple fields

To sort your references using multiple fields:

  1. Select: Tools > Sort Library
  2. Select up to 5 fields to sort by (in a particular order).

For example, you could sort your library first by author, then by year, then title, to get an overview of the various authors in a field.

Select which fields are displayed in the columns

You can select which fields are displayed in the columns by right clicking on the column header
You can select up to 10 columns.

Reorder the columns

You can reorder the columns by dragging and dropping the column headers.

Add subheadings to a bibliography

Add subheadings to a bibliography

You can add subheadings to your bibliography in Microsoft Word using your own categories or predefined by an output style.

  1. In Word, in the EndNote X9 toolbar, select: Categorize References > Configure Categories.
  2. Create a category by clicking the Category Headings (+) button and enter a category name, e.g. enter Journals
  3. Drag-and-drop references into the appropriate categories.
  4. Click the OK button.

Combine multiple Word documents into a single document

Combine multiple Word documents into a single document

You can combine multiple Word documents which contain EndNote citations into a single document.

For example you may have created one document for each of the chapters of your thesis.

Note: you must use one EndNote library for all the documents or chapters you wish to combine.

To create a single bibliography at the end of the document:

  1. First create a backup copy of each of your documents.
  2. Open your EndNote library and leave it open.
  3. Open your first document, unformat the citations, and save the document with a new name: this will become your new combined document.
  4. Open the next document, unformat the citations, and copy and paste the text into the new combined document.
  5. Repeat this until you have unformatted and copied and pasted the text from all of your documents into the combined document.
  6. In Word select: Update citations and bibliography, and a single bibliography will be generated at the end of the document

To create a bibliography for each section or chapter:

  1. Combine your documents as specified above.
  2. At the end of each chapter or section in the combined document, select: Page Layout > Breaks and select one of the four options under Section Breaks: Next Page, Continuous, Even Page, or Odd Page. Next.
  3. Select a predefined style that creates bibliographies at the end of each section, such as APA 6th (sections), or Chicago 15th B (sections), etc...

If the style that you wish to use does not have a version for sections, you can modify an existing style, see the information on editing styles below.

Use journal term lists to switch between abbreviated and full journal names

Use journal term lists to switch between abbreviated and full journal names

Some styles use abbreviated forms of journal titles, while other styles use the full journal titles.

You can import journal term lists that contain both the full and corresponding abbreviated journal titles, which will be automatically selected depending on the output style.

EndNote provides journal term lists, for example for Law, Medicine and Humanities etc... that can be imported into your library.

You would do this if you are using an output style that requires abbreviated journal titles:

To import a journal terms list:

  1. Open your EndNote library.
  2. Select: Tools > Open Term Lists > Journals Term List
  3. To save the existing list: select the Lists tab, select Journals and click the Export List button.
  4. To delete the existing list of terms: select the Terms tab, press Ctrl+a on your keyboard to select all the journal names, then click the Delete Term button.
  5. Select the Lists tab, select Journals, click the Import List button.
  6. Select the folder that contains the journal term lists (i.e. the EndNote program folder called Terms Lists).

Next, if you wish to display abbreviated journal names, you must select an output style that supports this, such as Vancouver.

Customise an Output style

Customise an Output style

It is possible to customise an output style so that it meets your needs.

  1. Open EndNote.
  2. Select Edit > Output styles > Open Style Manager...
  3. Select an output style that is close to the style you need to create.
  4. Click the Edit button.
  5. Make any changes you wish.
  6. Choose Save As from the File menu, give this copy of the style a new name, and click Save (i.e. don’t save over the original style).

Note: the style will be saved on your computer in your ‘My Documents\EndNote\Styles’ folder.

For more information, please see the guides below:

Create custom reference types

Create custom reference types

EndNote has many pre-defined reference types e.g. for journal articles, conference papers etc... as well as three unused ones.
You can use the unused reference types to define new reference types.

You can also edit any existing reference types (except for the ‘Generic’ reference type).

To modify the reference types:

  1. Open EndNote.
  2. Select: Edit > Preferences > Reference Types
  3. Select the ‘Modify Reference Types’ button.
  4. Select a reference type from the drop-down menu e.g. ‘Unused 1’.
  5. Give names to the fields you wish to have available for that reference type. The fields of the Generic reference type are listed on the left, and should be used as a guide when modifying or creating reference types, e.g. rows reserved for Authors should be used only for names etc…


  • Changes made to Reference Types are stored in a special RefTypeTable xml file. To use a new file or to share your file with others, use the ‘Export’ and ‘Import’ buttons in the ‘References Types’ preferences window.
  • If you create a custom reference type, you will need to add a template for it in the output style you are using.

For more information, please see the guides below: