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EndNote: Getting Started

What Is EndNote?

EndNote is a software program that allows you to manage references. It functions as a:

  • Database manager: EndNote stores, manages and searches within your own personal database of references
  • Citation formatter: it automatically formats in-text citations and bibliographies in your chosen reference style in Word documents
  • Bibliography maker: it builds lists of references you have cited in a paper, and automatically creates the bibliography in a number of different styles
  • Data importer: it enables the importing of references from databases into an EndNote library

EndNote also allows you to share references or reference libraries with other users, and to store and annotate PDF documents and other files with your references.

Some aspects of EndNote are tricky, but if you take the time to learn how to use it, EndNote can be a valuable tool to save time and help you build a library of material that you can use throughout your studies.

Start with our Introduction to EndNote X9 guide (linked on this page) or take a workshop at the library. You will learn the basics of how to download and use EndNote, how to insert references in your documents, and how to back up your EndNote library. You can follow the links and instructions in this library guide for more information.

View a recording of one of our workshops at the page below:

Note: EndNote relies on the user to input all details fully and accurately, and to check that the output is correct. Refer to the Referencing guide for guidance on constructing references in APA style. You must always check the information entered into your EndNote library, and check the references it produces.

More information:

Endnote Software Downloads

How Can I Access EndNote?

On campus, EndNote is available on all ECU student computers and available for installation on ECU staff computers.

As ECU staff and students, you are also entitled to install EndNote on your home computer. 

You can download the latest version of EndNote (X9) from ECU IT Services, software download service. Desktop EndNote is available for Windows PCs and Mac. You will need your ECU Login to download the software.

ECU IT Services installation instructions:
EndNote X9 Windows installation instructions
EndNote X9 Mac installation instructions

Note: update EndNote to version X9.1 if you are running X9. This fixes a bug related to page numbers in citations.

If you are using EndNote on Mac using Catalina, X9.3 is compatible. Please back up your library before you update your OS to avoid losing access to your library.

If you wish, you can also set up an online EndNote account and use the synchronise option in EndNote to automatically synchronise both online and desktop EndNote libraries. See the EndNote Online page in this guide for further information.

Saving and Backing Up Your EndNote Library

It is vitally important that you back up your EndNote library. Multiple copies should be made and these copies should be kept in different places. e.g USB, external hard drive.

Backup: If your EndNote library is saved as a Compressed Library, then both of the files EndNote needs to load your library (the references in your EndNote library, plus data files such as groups and attached documents) will be saved. Go to the drop down File menu and choose Compressed Library.

If you upgrade to a new version of EndNote:

  • Make a copy/backup of your EndNote library, including any customised style files and import filters, before updating your EndNote version. Your EndNote library will be overwritten if it is only stored in the Program Files folder.
  • Uninstall the older version of EndNote before installing the new version.

EndNote safety tips:

General Safety Notes

  • EndNote libraries are made up of two parts: the .enl file and the .data folder. These two parts must be kept together, both are needed for the library to work correctly.

  • EndNote libraries should be kept on your computer's hard drive. Storing and editing libraries on a network drive can lead to corruption and performance issues.

  • EndNote libraries should never be stored in cloud-syncing folders such as DropBox, OneDrive, Box, SugarSync, etc. Syncing folders corrupts EndNote libraries over time. Use EndNote's own sync function and EndNote Online if you will be working on multiple computers.

  • References in EndNote libraries can be synchronized between desktop and laptop computers, the online library, and an iPad using EndNote Sync.

  • Complete EndNote libraries can be shared with other EndNote X7, X8, or X9 users through EndNote Sync and Library Sharing.