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EndNote X9: Adding References

The most efficient and less error-prone process for adding citations to EndNote is to get the information directly from a database or catalog - no retyping needed. Use one of the following methods to bring information into your EndNote library:

  1. Directly export the references from a database (e.g., JSTOR, PubMed, Web of Science)
  2. Use Online Search to search a catalog or database from within EndNote
  3. Search a database or catalog, create a file of results, then import into EndNote library
  4. Import a PDF or a file of PDFs and let EndNote create the record (and attach a copy of the PDF)
  5. Enter references manually - for those odd things not found in a database or catalog


Importing Information from a Database

Database logos

Importing Items from a Database

Ideally, you can capture the key citations you find in a database and bring it in to EndNote.  Depending upon the database, there may be several ways to accomplish this task. 

The first step is to use one of the Library's databases or other internet resource (e.g., Google/Google Scholar) to identify articles of interest. 

The next steps will vary by each database or resource used and some will offer direct export while others offer a different method.  However, for each method, there are basic instructions are common to all databases. 

Direct Export

1)  Identify articles of interest (use check boxes, marked lists, or temporary folders -- each database is different).

2)  Look for Export or Export citations.

4)  Each database is slightly different.  Some create their own special file, but if in doubt, RIS format is a universal file type.


Online Search 

1)  The first time you want to search a specific database from within EndNote (and it is not already in the list with Library of Congress, PubMed or Web of Science),

a) Go to "Tools" on the menu bar,

b)  Click "Online Search,"

c)  Pick your database, and

d)  Click "Choose."

2)  Run your search.  Search by the categories that are there, or use the drop-down menu to search "All Fields." 

3)  Identify and select the article(s) you want by clicking it and highlighting -- use the keys Ctrl or Shift before clicking to select more than one.  Go to "References" (or do a right click), click on "Copy References To" and select the library you have open.


EndNote has a shortcut to get back to your library or to start an online search.  Look for these buttons:

Screenshot of Endnote's Online Search buttons


 Search, Save a File &  Import  (this one will be a rare occurrence) 

1)  Search the database

2)  Identify articles of interest (use check boxes, marked lists, or temporary folders).

3)  Look for clues for exporting such as "send to," "export" or "save."

4)  Save citations into a file - it should be a plain text or a tagged text file.

5)  Go to EndNote and click "File," "Import" and then "File."

6)  Click "Choose" to find the file you just saved.

7)  Under "Import Option," choose the database you searched or, if you don't see it, choose "Other Filters" and then locate that database in the list and click "Choose.

8)  Click "Import."


Import a PDF or a folder of PDFs  (for a more full description, see Adding PDFs to EndNote).

1)  Go to EndNote, click "File," "Import," and choose either "File" (for a single PDF) or "Folder" (for a folder of PDFs).

2)  Click "Choose" to point to the PDF or folder of PDFs.

3)  Under "Import Option," use the drop-down menu and choose "PDF."

4)  Click "Import."

5)  A new record for each PDF is automatically created and PDF is attached.


NOTE 1:  Amount of information varies based on the PDF(s). Newer ones (since mid-2000s) that come directly from the publisher will do better than one from interlibrary loan.  

NOTE 2:  For incomplete citations, you can use "Update Reference" under References to have EndNote find and add the missing information. Make sure you have at least a title and an author in the record - type it in for most cases. 


Enter References Manually (another one you should only need on rare occasions)

1)  Click "References"  then "New Reference" to bring up the new reference template.

2)  Select the "Reference Type" (if other than journal article).

3)  Enter the information you have for this citation.

4)  Click "File" and "Save" to save the reference.