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EndNote X9: Attaching PDFs

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Attach PDFs

Add a PDF to EndNote - 2 Options

Settings - gear icon

Adjust PDF Attachment Settings

Adjust your preferences to increase yield of PDFs.

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One Other Setting Adjustment

Give Endnote just a little more information to help it find PDFs.

Add a PDF from your Computer

Adding PDFs to Endnote

In EndNote you can attach PDFs several different ways.

  • The first option is if you already have a collection of PDFs, start with those and EndNote will try to create a record for it.  Not all PDFs have data for citation managers to scan and create a record with, so it will not be perfect all of the time.  Newer PDFs (since about the mid-2000s) have a good chance of being formatted so EndNote can extract the details. 
  • The second option is to employ EndNote's Find Full Text option where EndNote will search for a copy for you. 
  • The third option is to attach the PDF manually.


Follow these steps to import PDF files, or folders containing your PDFs, to EndNote:

1.    From the File menu select Import.

2.    Then select File if you want to import a single PDF, or select Folder to import a folder containing your PDFs.


3.    Click on Choose to find the File or Folder to import.

4.    Select PDF as the Import Option, and then click the Import button.

Note:  EndNote can import PDF files containing a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) in the metadata, or the first 2 pages of the PDF.  It uses the free databases PubMed and CrossRef to look up the reference using the DOI, imports the bibliographic information, and then attaches the PDF to that record.  Your PDF must have a DOI, and EndNote must have access to the Internet, for this process to be successful.

Using EndNote's Find Full Text Feature

EndNote's Find Full Text Option 

If you already have records in your EndNote library without PDFs, you can employ EndNote's Find Full Text feature to have EndNote look for a PDF for you and attach it to the items in EndNote.  This works only for journal articles.

  1.  Select the items in your EndNote library: 
    --  To select an entire block of records, click on the first one and while holding down Shift, click on another record.  Everything from the first one to the last one will be highlighted.
    --  To select a non-linear group, click on the first one and while holding down Control, click on the other records you need.

  2. Click on References, then Find Full Text, then Find Full Text.
    Screenshot of EndNote's Find full text

  3. You will get confirmation that it is working in the left panel. 
    Screenshot of EndNote Find full text status

    The find full text feature makes a best attempt to attach PDFs but it works best with health sciences articles with about a 60% - 80% success.  To increase the chances of EndNote finding & attaching a PDF, there are 2 settings you can adjust.  See the directions below.  

  4. If you know that you want an article attached for everything you bring in to EndNote, there is a setting in Preferences that you can use to have EndNote bring in a PDF automatically.  Just know that this process takes some time, so if you pull in many articles at a time, it may slow down your computer.
    --  Under Edit - is Preferences (on a Mac, find it under the EndNote logo).  
    --  In the box that appears, click on Find Full Text.
       Screenshot of EndNote's automatic find full text o  

    -- Check the box:  Automatically invoke Find Full Text ...  and click OK.

Increase the Chances of Finding Full-Text Articles

Finding Full Text:

EndNote has a helpful “Find Full Text” feature that helped automatically capture the full text (PDF) of a reference in your library.  To enable EndNote’s ““Find Full Text” feature to work more successfully and allow you to take advantage of the UC licensed resources, you will need to use the “Open URL” setting and add the UC-eLinks address.  Copy & paste this information to the Open URL Pathway box:


Also, if you want EndNote to automatically start the find full text process, use the check box at the bottom.  A word of caution is that this is a process that takes a while for EndNote to work through - so think about how many citations you bring in at a time.  If you have 50 or more and an older, slower computer, you might want to uncheck the box.

Note:  Ignore the "Authenticate with" option.  It is for a process that UCSD does not use. We use VPN.



Also Adjust the Open URL Arguments

OpenURL Arguements under URLs & Links

The folowing OpenURL string is optional, but can help increase your results when using the Find Full Text feature.  

  • Go to Preferences (in Windows it's under Edit > Preferences in Mac, find it under the EndNote logo)
  • Choose the option URLs and Links. 
  • In the Arguments box, replace "WoS" with "EndNote" so that the argument is exactly as shown in the image below. If there's nothing in the box in your copy of EndNote, you can copy and paste the following text to replace the entire argument. Be sure you don't have any spaces in the middle of this:


Here's what it should look like when you are done: