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EndNote software FAQs

When I download RIS or ENW files to my computer (Windows or Mac), they do not open in EndNote.

If you are having trouble opening RIS or ENW files in EndNote, you may need to tell your computer to use EndNote as the default program to open them.

Note: You may need to carry out the steps below separately for both RIS and ENW files.


  1. Locate a RIS or ENW file in the folder where it has downloaded.
    • Note: In Chrome or Firefox, you can use Ctrl-J to show recent downloads in the browser. Select a RIS/ENW file in the browser window and choose “show in folder" (Chrome) or “open Containing folder” (Firefox) to see the real location of the file.


Showing how to locate downloads in Firefox or Chrome


  1. Now go to the RIS or ENW file and right-click. From the list of options, select “Properties”.


Showing how to select Properties for a file in Windows


  1. Where it says, "Opens with", click "Change"...


Showing how to change the default application for a type of file in Windows


  1. ...and browse for the EndNote application in your C:/Program Files (x86)/Endnote X9/Endnote.exe, or EndNote 20/EndNote


Showing location of EndNote program on Windows computer       




  1. As an alternative, it is also possible to select "Open with..." from the menu at step 2, then select the EndNote application as per step 4 - just make sure that the "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file" box is checked before you click OK.



  1. Locate a RIS or ENW file in the folder where it has downloaded.
    • Note: You can see recent downloads from within your browser, e.g. using Command-J In Firefox or Shift-Command-J in Chrome. Select a RIS/ENW file in the browser window and choose “Show in Finder” (Chrome) or the magnifying glass icon (Firefox) to see the real location of the file.


Using Command-J in Google Chrome

Using Shift-Command-J in Firefox


  1. Now go to the RIS or ENW file and right-click. From the list of options, select “Get Info”.


Choose Get Info on Mac


  1. Where it says, "Opens with", click "Change All"...


Use Change All to select default application to open certain kinds of file on a Mac


  1. ...and browse for the EndNote X9 application in your "Applications" folder.


Shows EndNote X9 application in Applications folder on a Mac


  1. As an alternative, it is also possible to select "Open With..." from the menu at step 2, then select the EndNote application as per step 4 - just make sure that the "Always Open With" box is checked before you click Open.

I am a Mac user and have received the error message: “This Library is currently being used by someone else."

A number of Mac users who have upgraded to macOS Sierra, High Sierra or Mojave have reported receiving the error message “This Library is currently being used by someone else. Try opening it again later.”

This is a known problem. A solution that has worked in some cases has been to ensure that the user’s EndNote files (the .enl file and .data folder) are not stored in a folder that backs-up to the Cloud.

  1. Check where the EndNote library files are stored.
  2. If the files are stored in a folder that backs up to the Cloud (e.g. iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.), move both the .enl file and .data folder to a new folder on your computer's local hard drive.
  3. To be sure that your EndNote files are not backing up to iCloud,
    • Go to System Preferences > iCloud.
    • Either make sure the Desktop & Documents Folders box is not checked, or move your EndNote files to a folder that is not backing up to iCloud (e.g. your Home Folder)

If the problem persists, there is a workaround which should avoid the problem.

  • To import references into EndNote, manually import references from within EndNote.
    • File > Import > Select the file > Select the import option "RIS" or "EndNote Import" (from the "Options" on the lower left of the window).
  • The problem seems to be limited to cases where users are trying to import directly from a browser or are clicking directly on files downloaded to their computer (say in the Downloads folder).

I have previously imported PDFs into my EndNote library but can no longer open them

Sometimes PDFs that have previously been attached to references in EndNote can no longer be opened within EndNote. You may receive an error message such as: "The following file could not be opened. This may occur for a number of reasons including, but not limited to: the file is corrupt or the relative link was deleted."

The problem is caused by broken links between your EndNote library and attached PDFs. To prevent broken links occurring:

  • avoid moving your EndNote library's .enl file without the accompanying .data folder
  • avoid sending isolated .enl files to other people. (To share your EndNote library, use the sharing facility through EndNote online or send a compressed version. These options are explained earlier in this guide here.)
  • avoid using cloud storage for your library's .enl file or .data folder
  • avoid making changes directly to your library's .data folder
  • when importing PDFs, check the box “Copy this file to the default file attachment folders and create a relative link".
  • if you are using Windows, make sure you place the .enl file and .data folder near the top level of your file hierarchy (e.g. your My Documents folder). Windows has a file path limit of 256 characters (including spaces), which can cause difficulties when PDFs with long names are saved in folders within folders, etc.
  • use short PDF names. EndNote has a feature that will rename PDFs automatically as you import them into EndNote.

You can identify which PDFs have broken links in EndNote by using Find Broken Attachment Links (under the Library menu).

To fix broken links in your EndNote library, you can:

  1. Import the missing PDFs all together as a folder (File > Import > Folder)
    • Most PDFs should have a doi (digital object identifier). Each PDF that has a doi will link automatically to its existing reference in the EndNote library.
    • For each PDF that does not have a doi, EndNote will create an empty record as a placeholder—these placeholders will need to be deleted and the PDFs without dois manually attached to their respective references as per step 2.
  2. Manually attach the PDFs to their respective references one-by-one (References > File Attachments > Attach File)
    • We recommend checking the box “Copy this file to the default file attachment folders and create a relative link” to prevent the problem of broken links re-occurring.

References from the Library Catalogue and/or Deakin Research Online (DRO) do not import into EndNote

References from the Library Catalogue and Deakin Research Online require an import filter to work with EndNote:

  • Deakin_Encore import filter is for exporting references from the library catalogue into EndNote.
  • deakinu_DRO import filter is for exporting references from DRO (Deakin Research Online) into EndNote.

These filters are included in the EndNote version installed from Deakin software library. However, if they are not in the list of connection files of your EndNote program, you can manually add them by following these steps:

Click on the Deakin_Encore import filter (or deakinu_DRO import filter) below and save the file into the EndNote Filters folder located on your hard drive:

  • Windows: C:\Program Files (x86)\EndNote 20\Filters
  • Mac: Macintosh HD > Applications > EndNote 20 > Filters

 Deakin_Encore import filter 

 deakinu_DRO import filter

If the above instructions don't work:

  1. Save the file to your Desktop
  2. Open up the EndNote Filters folder
  3. Drag and drop the saved file into this folder

Once a filter has been saved you will need to select it in EndNote:

  1. In EndNote click on Edit (Tools in EndNote 20)Import FiltersOpen Filter Manager
  2. Scroll down to the filter name e.g. Deakin_Encore (or deakinu_DRO) and click in the box next to filter name and it will show a tick
  3. Close Filter Manager

How do I save my library while I am working in it?

Unlike many software programs you may be more familiar with, such as Microsoft Word or Excel, EndNote will, for the most part, automatically save changes that you make in your EndNote Library. In some situations, such as when manually creating a new record, or attaching a PDF to a record, EndNote will not automatically save your changes. It will however, always prompt you to save when you try to close the window or move out of the record. To save changes you have made to your EndNote library at any time, you can either use the keyboard shortcut (i.e. hold down Ctrl and S button) or go to File and select Save. If save is greyed out and cannot be selected, then you have no unsaved changes in your EndNote library.

My library is damaged. How can I recover it?

If you get an error message that your EndNote library is damaged, you might be able to recover the damaged library using EndNote program:

  • Open EndNote program
  • From Tools (Library in EndNote 20) menu select Recover Library
  • Click OK in the pop-up message window
  • Select your damaged EndNote library then click Open
  • Choose where you would like to save the recovered library and edit the name of the file if you wish to, then click Save
  • A dialog box will appear to inform you that references were recovered into the new library, click OK
  • Then simply open the newly created library which should now contain all your references

My library is damaged. I have unsuccessfully tried recover library and recreating the .enl file. Can I recreate my library from the EndNote citations in a Word document?

Yes! If your EndNote library becomes damaged, and you have tried to recover the library or recreated the .enl file but this has not fixed it, you can create a new EndNote library from the EndNote citations in your Word document!;

Open your word document. Go to EndNote 20 tab, and click on drop down arrow next to Export to EndNote and select the first option, Export Traveling Library.

Click A new EndNote library as the option to export the references to.

Click OK

Choose where you would like to save the new library that will be created containing your references and give it a name. By default it will be named Untitled

A dialog box will appear to inform you that the export is complete. Then simply open the newly created library which should now contain all your references.

I cannot find Deakin University Library as one of the options in EndNote online search (Mac)?

An alternative way of importing references into EndNote library is using the EndNote online search feature. On Mac systems the Deakin library search is not one of the options. To add Deakin University Library Catalogue as one of the options in EndNote online search:

  • From the menu bar select EndNote X8 > Customizer…
  • In the customizer window tick the box next to Library Catalogues under Connections, click Next



  • Click Next
  • When changes are completed click Done.

Can I add PDF articles saved on my computer to my EndNote library?

Yes! You can import a single PDF into your EndNote library, or you can import an entire folder of PDFs into your EndNote library at the same time. Instructions for importing references into EndNote from PDFs are found on the Working with PDFs page of this guide.

My EndNote libraries have been deleted accidently but the .Data folder remains. Can I recreate my EndNote library?

Windows users:

  • Open Notepad on your computer
  • Select File>Save As to save the blank document
  • Give the file the same name as your .Data folder adding .enl to the name
  • Save it in the same place on your computer where the .Data folder exists



  • The .enl file should now appear with an EndNote icon. Double-click to open it and view your recreated library


Mac users:

  • Open TextEdit application on your computer
  • Select File>Save As to save the blank document
  • Give the file the same name as your .Data folder and select Rich Text Document as file format
  • Remove the tick for Hide extension
  • Save it in the same place on your computer where the .Data folder exists



  • In Finder, go to folder you saved your file, click on the file name and change the extension from .rtf to .enl



  • It will ask you if you want to change the file extension, click Use .enl



  • The .enl file should now appear with an EndNote icon. Double-click to open it and view your recreated library.

How can I copy references from one EndNote library to another?

  1. Select the references you want to copy
  2. From EndNote toolbar select References >   Copy References To > Choose Library
  3. Choose the destination library then click Open

How can I use my EndNote library on both my PC and my laptop (or Mac)?

You can sync your EndNote library between two desktop computers. Watch the EndNote Sync video from EndNoteTraining YouTube channel for instructions.

When I use Find Full Text in EndNote, I am not prompted to enter my Deakin username and password

Deakin authentication URL path should be included in the installation, however, you may need to optimise EndNote in order to be able to search for journal articles that Deakin University Library subscribes to:

  • From Edit menu select Preferences
  • Click Find Full Text
  • Make sure all four boxes are checked
  • In the OpenURL Path box insert
  • In the URL box under Authenticate with insert
  • Click OK


How can I export references from an EndNote library into Excel?

There are three main steps to exporting references from EndNote into Excel. The first is to remove carriage returns, the second is to select the Tab Delimited referencing style, and the final step is to export into Excel:

  • Step 1: Remove carriage returns for all fields

EndNote’s tab delimited output style retains carriage/hard returns in some fields (e.g. authors, keywords, abstract). These carriage returns in all fields expect the author field, messes up imported data in Excel (e.g. carriage returns in the keywords field causes each keyword to appear on a separate row in Excel rather than in the same column). A work-around for this issue is to use EndNote’s find and replace feature and change the carriage return to something else, like a slash (i.e. /). The best way to do this is to remove hard returns from all fields in EndNote, and then add the returns back for the authors field (as this field actually needs the return to work properly).

Instructions to remove carriage/hard returns:

  1. Click on Edit (Library in EndNote 20) menu and then Find and Replace…
  2. Select Any Field from the drop down menu for In:
  3. Click inside Find:
  4. Click on Insert Special> and Select Carriage return
  5. Click inside Replace with:
  6. Type in the dash symbol
  7. Click on Change



  • Step 2: Select Tab Delimited as Output Style
  1. From styles drop-down box click on Select Another Style… 
  2. Choose Tab Delimited from the list of options
  • Step 3: Export to Excel

You can now export your references to Excel.

  1. Select the references you want to export
  2. Click on File Export
  3. Save the file as a text file (*txt.). Give the file a name (e.g. Excel Export), choose where to save the file and make sure to select your Tab Delimited style as output style.



4. Open a blank Excel document. Go to File and then Open. Go to where on your computer you saved your export text file. Using the drop down menu, select Text Files as the file type. Click on your file and then click on Open

The file will open within Excel. You will likely need to expand the columns and you will need to add the headers at the top of the columns, however the content should come through correctly within the appropriate columns. 

How can I export my Mendeley references into EndNote?

Step 1: In Mendeley

  • Select File Export Library... 
  • Choose RIS as Export format
  • Click OK to save the file

Step 2: In EndNote

  • Select File > Import > File...
  • Click Choose to select the file you saved from Mendeley
  • Select Reference Manager (RIS) as Import Option
  • Click Import

How can I use EndNote with Latex?

For instructions please see EndNote and LaTeX guide.

MS Word FAQs

I need to use curly quotes, { } , in my writing. Can I still work with unformatted citations in Microsoft Word?

By default, EndNote uses curly quotes for unformatted citations: e.g. {Lipton, 2017 #66}. If you want to use curly quotes in your written text, however, EndNote may also try to format these as citations, resulting in a "Select Matching Reference" error message.

There are two ways to avoid this problem.

  1. If you are using curly quotes for mathematical equations, use MS Word's Equation Editor to embed your equations. This removes the equations (and curly quotes) from the text EndNote scans for references.
  2. Alternatively, change the default temporary citation delimiter. You can change this in MS Word using Configure Bibliography (the small arrow below the Instant Formatting command) or in EndNote (Edit > Preferences > Temporary Citations). In place of curly quotes, you can use any unique pair of characters, such as # $ or ^ &. We recommend using double or triple square brackets (e.g. [[ ]]) to make sure you avoid errors across the rest of your document.

How can I merge multiple documents to produce one document with a single reference list at the end?

Please see the instructions for Merge Word documents in the EndNote & Microsoft Word page of this LibGuide.

How can I have multiple bibliographies within one document?

Please see the instructions for Merge Word documents in the EndNote & Microsoft Word page of this LibGuide.

How can I remove the link between in-text citation and the references in the reference list?

  • Open the EndNote Configure Bibliography dialog box
    • Windows: click on the small arrow in the bottom right-hand corner of the Bibliography box in the EndNote 20 tab
    • Mac: select Bibliography> Configure Bibliography from the EndNote 20 tab
  • Remove the tick  for Link-in text citations to references in the bibliography


I accidentally cited two copies of the same reference in my document. How can I replace the duplicate copy with the original?

You may first notice that you have accidentally inserted two copies of the same reference in your word document when you see two copies of the reference in your reference list or when the in-text formatting of a reference does not recognise earlier instances of citing that reference (as shown below).

You can relatively easily transform your references so that only one copy of the reference has been cited. This will basically involve replacing all instances of one copy of the reference with the other copy. This process involves three steps:

Step 1: Convert all citations in your document to unformatted citations. Click on the drop down arrow next to Convert Citations and Bibliography, and select Convert to Unformatted Citations

Now that the references are unformatted, you can see that they have different record numbers (i.e. 37 and 46) even though they are both the same reference.

Step 2: Manually change one of the references to be the same record number as the other reference. Because you are in unformatted mode, you can use the keyboard to delete the old number and type the new number in (As you can see below, I have replaced the second citation with number 37 to match the first citation).

Step 3: Click on Update Citations and Bibliography (return to formatted mode)

Done! Your document should have automatically updated to only have one version of the reference in the reference list.


N.B. If you have cited both versions of a reference many times throughout a long document, and searching through the document to manually change each one would take a long time, you can use the word function of Find and Replace to make this process faster. i.e. Still complete step 1 (converting to unformatted citations first). Then at step 2, use Find and Replace to search for the reference by author, year and record number, then simply replace with the version you wanted to keep:


EndNote tab does not appear in MS Word (Windows)

Follow this instruction if EndNote tab does not appear in MS Word:

  1. In MS Word program on File tab select Options
  2. In the left pane of the Word Option window select Add-Ins
  3. From Manage drop-down menu select COM Add-ins then click on Go
  4. In COM Add-ins window check the box next to EndNote Cite While You Write then click on OK


EndNote tab does not appear in MS Word (Mac)

First of all, make sure you have the latest update of Microsoft Word and EndNote by clicking on Help menu and then Check for Updates.

If you don't see the EndNote option in the list of toolbars (it's usually the last one) or for MS Word 2016, follow these steps:

  1. Open EndNote program
  2. Select EndNote 20 menu > Customizer
  3. Check the box in front of the "Cite While You Write" option
  4. Click next until the Customizer is finished

  1. Open MS Word, EndNote tab should be available now. ( For MS Word 2013 Click View menu> Toolbars, select EndNote option)


I have created a bibliography in a Word document but now I want to start using EndNote.......Is there a way to convert my bibliography into an EndNote library?

As a general rule, there is no way to convert your bibliography directly into EndNote but there are other programs out there that can help you

  1. For Mac users: you can use REF2RIS software full instruction for this procedure are given
  2. For Windows users: text2bib and are online converters that can be used to convert a text version (.txt) of your bibliography into a BibTex file for importing into EndNote. The conversion process is far from perfect; you will need to edit the references carefully after you save them in EndNote. (EndNote can be picky about BibTex files created by other programs—if you encounter problems, the free program Zotero enables BibTex files to be converted into RIS format, which works in EndNote more consistently).

If you are working in the biomedical area, and your bibliography consists largely of journal articles that would be included in the Pubmed database, you should be able to use the HubMed citation finder to automate much of the transfer to EndNote.

I see a message stating that “An unknown error occurred” in regards to EndNote when I try to open or edit Word files.

The following is an advanced procedure.  We recommend that you do not attempt to make the changes described unless you have previous experience editing or deleting Windows Registry keys.

The problem is a damaged Word Data registry key. To solve this problem you need to Delete the Word Data registry key:

  1. Exit all Office programs
  2. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK
  3. Locate the following registry subkey, as appropriate for the version of Word that you are running:
    • Word 2002:  HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft \Office\10.0\Word\Data
    • Word 2003: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Office\11.0\Word\Data
    • Word 2007: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Office\12.0\Word\Data
    • Word 2010: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Office\14.0\Word\Data
    • Word 2013: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\ Office\15.0\Word\Data
  1. Click File menu> Export  
  2. Name the file Wddata.reg, and then save the file to the desktop
  3. Click Edit menu> Delete 
  4. Click Yes
  5. Exit Registry Editor
  6. Start Word

If Word starts and works correctly, you have resolved the problem.

If the problem is not resolved, restore the original Word Data registry key:

  1. Exit all Office programs
  2. Double-click the Wddata.reg icon on the desktop
  3. Click Yes, and then click OK

Instead of seeing my regular citations, I’m seeing strange code….. What can I do to fix this?

Quick Fix: Hit ALT+F9 (Option+F9 on Mac) on your keyboard to toggle field codes. If you are still seeing the codes, proceed with the steps below:


  1. Go to the File tab and click Options
  2. Click on the Advanced option on the left-hand side and scroll down to the section titled Show Document Content
  3. Uncheck the item titled Show field codes instead of their values and click OK
  4. The document should now appear normal


  1. Go to the Word menu and select Preferences
  2. On the View menu uncheck the box named Field Codes
  3. Click OK
  4. The document should now appear normal

I have seen an ‘Insert Citation’ icon in word not under the EndNote tab, can I use this to insert an EndNote citation?

No. Although you may have noticed that under the REFERENCES tab in word is an Insert Citation button as shown below:

We do not recommend using this to insert EndNote citations in word. Instead, use the Insert citation command from within the EndNote tab further along the word toolbar as shown below:

How do I cite corporate authors (e.g. AIHW) correctly in Word?

Citing corporate authors is a little more complex than citing works written by one or more individuals. The approach you take to citing corporate authors can vary depending on how many times you expect to cite that corporate author in your text. Below is just one suggestion for how to cite corporate authors.   

Step 1 Reference record in EndNote

Depending on the requirements of your referencing style, either enter corporate author names as the full name of the organisation followed by a comma (i.e. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare,) or enter the full the name of the organisation followed by the abbreviated name in parentheses and then a comma (i.e. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [AIHW],)

When you cite in Word, the author name will appear exactly as you have entered it into EndNote. For example, if you choose to include the abbreviation in your EndNote record, the abbreviation will appear within the in-text citation and the record in your reference list.  

Step 2 Edit appearance of all subsequent citations to this corporate author

All additional in-text citations will also show the full author name, however many referencing styles allow subsequent citations to only include the abbreviation in place of the author name, i.e. (AIHW, 2013) rather than (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2013).

To achieve this, you will need to edit the appearance of each subsequent in-text citation: 

  • Go to Edit & Manage Citation(s)
  • Select the reference and change the default display to exclude Author
  • Then type the abbreviated corporate author name as you would like it to appear in the in-text citation in the Prefix field
  • Click OK

Referencing FAQs

How can I refer to a study that is cited in another article (cite a secondary source)?

If you read an article or book which cites or quotes some information that you want to use, always refer to both the original source and the source where you found the information. The words cited in (as cited in) or quoted in (as quoted in) and the page number where the article was cited are used to indicate how the information from the original source has been used in the article you have read.

  1. Insert the citation of the article you have read from your EndNote library
  2. Select the citation in MS Word and click on Edit citation(s) icon
  3. In Edit citation tab, add as cited in into the Prefix box and the page number into the Suffix box


In-text citation:
      According to Browns (as cited in Stuhmcke, 2001, p. 56) ...

Reference list:
     Stuhmcke, A 2001, Legal referencing, 2nd ed, Butterworths guides, Butterworths, Sydney

I have to use abbreviations of journal titles in my publication. Can EndNote handle this problem?

To find out how to add journal abbreviations to EndNote please see Journal abbreviations page of this library guide.