Skip to Main Content

EndNote 20 Guide

Using Compressed Libraries

Compressed Libraries

If syncing, sharing or collaborating using EndNote Online isn't an option for you, it's possible to transport a library between computers using EndNote's Compressed Libraries function.

To compress your library: 

  • Back up your library to your hard drive  
  • Click File > Compress Library (.enlx) ... 
  • Choose ‘Create’ if you wish to download the file to a USB, or ‘Create & Email’ if you wish to try emailing it 
  • Select whether you’d like to save attached PDFs 
  • Ensure ‘All References in Library’ is selected 
  • Click ‘Next’, and save the file to your USB, or to your computer’s hard drive if you’d like to email it 

To open your compressed library on another computer: 

  • Download the compressed file to your hard drive  
  • Double click the downloaded .enlx file or .enl file, or you can use File > Import > Import EndNote Library 

After make any changes, you will need to back up the library to your hard drive then repeat the process by creating a new compressed version of the library, with a new file name, to transfer back to the first computer. Do NOT overwrite the previous version.  

You can also use the Compressed Library function to transport a select set of references, or a Group. This is the same process as compressing a whole library, except that you will need to select the group or select your references on the Compressed Library screen. 

There are some things to be aware of if you choose to transport references using a Compressed Library. 

  • Libraries that exceed 4 GB in size and/or 65,535 files cannot be compressed by EndNote. Please see Transporting Large Libraries below for further instructions.
  • There is always the potential for file corruption when transporting a library using this method. Syncing using EndNote Online is an easier and safer option if possible. Whichever you choose, always back up your library first.  
  • If you’re using Cite While You Write on any current documents, be aware that this process may cause mismatched references. 

Sharing a Compressed Library

To share your Compressed Library with a colleague, follow the method for transporting your library, but enter the recipient’s email during the collaboration process or provide them with the compressed library via USB.  

Please note that the person you’re sharing with won’t have access to any new references or updates unless you continually share copies of your compressed library with them. 

Collaborating with a Compressed Library

Collaborating using a compressed library works the same way as sharing a compressed library. However, collaborators who have made any changes to the library will need to follow the process of backing up and compressing the updated library, then sending it back to you via email, USB or cloud storage before you can work with it.  

Transporting Large Libraries

If your library is larger than 4GB or 65,535 files, you will not be able to use the Compressed Libraries function. In this case, you will need to create a copy of the library. 

  • In EndNote Desktop, click File > Save a Copy
  • Give your copy a unique name
  • This will create two files, a .enl file and a .data file. Make sure you keep both files together. 
  • Compress the files using a third party file compression software such as WinZip. 
  • Transfer the compressed files to another computer via email, cloud storage or USB.