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EndNote: Saving, sorting & searching your EndNote library

Guide to using EndNote at Murdoch University

Managing your EndNote library

It is highly recommended that you make a back-up copy of your EndNote library to guard against damage/loss. This also enables you take your EndNote library with you to another location and to email part or all of your library to your colleagues.
Your library in EndNote comprises a .enl file and a .DATA folder which holds various files connected with the library.
Both Save a Copy and saving your library as a compressed library includes the .DATA folder.

Use these 2 different methods for different purposes:

Save as a compressed library file to your USB for moving between computers or sharing your library:

  • Open your EndNote library.
  • Go to File > Compressed Library (.enlx)...
  • A dialogue box will appear.

  • Choose to Create the compressed library or Create & Email (launches your default email system with the compressed library file attached); With or Without File Attachments; including All References in Library or Selected Reference(s) or All References in Group/Group Set.
  • Click Next and save it to your USB.

To restore your compressed library file:

  • Open EndNote.
  • Find the stored file and double click on it.
  • The .enlx file extension (indicating a compressed ;library) will change to .enl (indicating that it is uncompressed).
  • You can now add references to your library from any computer.

Note: EndNote libraries are compatible across platforms - you can create your library on a MAC, save it as a compressed library on a USB then open it on a PC (and vice-versa).

Save a Copy of your library on a different drive or USB as a back-up at a specific point in time.

  • Open your EndNote library.
  • Go to File > Save a Copy.
  • Include the date in the file name and save it on a different drive / USB as a back-up copy.
  • If you then want to add to & work with this copy, you must subsequently save it as a compressed library - each time you Save a Copy a different copy appears (i.e. it doesn't overwrite the existing file).

You can quickly search your complete EndNote library for a reference:

  • Click on All References.
  • Type the author surname or keyword in the Quick Search box located in the toolbar & press the Enter key.
  • The drop-down menu provides access to other searches you have conducted.

For more options when searching, use the Search panel. To access this search panel in EndNote X6 & X7:

  • Maximise your library window.
  • Click on the Show Search Panel arrow.

  • The following search box will appear at the top in EndNote X7 and in the bottom panel in EndNote X6:

  • Use the drop-down menu to choose the field you want to search (e.g. author, abstract, keyword etc.)
  • Choose& PDF from the field menu to restrict your search to the attached PDF files; Any Field + PDF to search any field and all PDFs.
  • Use Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT)& to combine words;asterisk for truncation,e.g. pregnan* finds pregnancy, pregnant.
  • Tick Match Case only if searching for specific capitalisation of the words.
  • Tick Match Words only if searching for specific references containing exactly those words.
  • Use + to add a search line; - to delete a search line.
  • Click Search. The retrieved references will appear in a temporary Search Results group.

When you open your EndNote library you will see the different parts of each reference displayed under headings such as Author, Year, Title, Journal etc. Clicking on any of these headings enables you to order your references via this part either alphabetically or chronologically.

  • To reverse the order click the arrow head that appears in the heading that currently determines the order.

To make other changes to the EndNote display in the main library window:

  • Go to ;Edit > Preferences > Display Fields
  • A dialogue box will appear.
  • Use the drop-down menus to change what is displayed in a column, then click OK.
  • To revert to the original settings, click Revert Panel > OK.

In EndNote, you can mark your references as read by clicking on the grey dot which will un-bold the reference (to reverse simply click on the dot again):

To give your references star ratings: Highlight the reference then click in the Rating column to rate the reference with between 1 and 5 stars.

You can search your library for all references of a certain rating:

  • Go to the Search Panel > select Rating from the dropdown menu > choose the rating number of stars > click Search

Video - How to create a compressed library (skip to 2.0)

Video produced and kindly shared by EndNote Training

Video - The importance of the data folder

Video produced and kindly shared by EndNote Training

Automatically discard duplicates

To set EndNote preferences to automatically eliminate duplicate references retrieved from an online search:

1. Go to Edit > Preferences > Duplicates

2. Tick the box Automatically Discard Duplicates > OK

Deleting references from your library

1. Highlight the reference you want to delete.

2. Go to References > Move References to Trash.


This guide has been based, with permission, on the guide created by the King Edward Memorial Hospital Library.