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Saving Citations from Online Databases: Direct Import

There are several ways to add references to your EndNote Library, the top being the most efficient method: 

  • Manually 
  • Exporting from a database 
  • Creating a reference from a PDF

Continue to the boxes below to learn how to do all three methods of adding references to your EndNote Library.

Adding References: Importing from a Database

With EndNote minimized, search the database via the web interface as you normally would.  Every database works a little differently, so check the drop-down menu under Adding References tab for a particular database.

The exact method will vary with the database vendor, however here are the general instructions:

  1. Select or mark  the citations you want to save
  2. Click on any option that indicates you want to Download or Export those references (terminology varies by vendor or database)
  3. Choose "Save to EndNote" or "Export to your bibliographic software" or a similar option.
  4. One of two things will happen:
    1. The references will be directly imported into EndNote
    2. You will be prompted to Choose an import filter for the database and then the references will be directly imported into EndNote.
  5. If unsuccessful, try saving the file as a tab delimited text file and importing the .txt file

Adding References Manually

You can also manually add a reference to your EndNote library.

  • From the main menu bar, click References and then New Reference
  • Select the appropriate Reference Type (book, journal, etc.) from the pull-down menu
  • Enter the citation information [EndNote adds punctuation]
  • Enter surname first [Einstein, Albert]
  • Enter each author on a separate line
  • Enter volume or issue numbers only [e.g. 5 not v.5]
  • Separate keywords with a semicolon, backslash or enter
  • Notes are fields that you can define.

Tip: When entering a corporate or institutional author name like "California State University" or "Centers for Disease Control", enter a comma after the name. This will prevent EndNote from inverting or abbreviating the name as it would for an individual author's.

To close a reference click on the X button or select Close Reference under File.

The Preview pane at the bottom of the screen displays a selected reference in the selected format style. Not all fields will be displayed. To see the complete reference double click on it from the main [Library]window.    

To Change the bibliographic format style:

  • Highlight the reference you wish to change [or go to Edit then Select All to change every reference]
  • Click on the Select Another Style drop-down menu. If you don't see the format you need, click on the Select Another Style and a very long list will appear

Using a PDF to Create a Reference

Note: Not all PDFs have the embedded metadata for this to work. You can try the following steps below to see if it will work for your PDFs. In the instance this does not work, you will need to either manually create the reference or find the citation in a database to export into EndNote.

  1. Select File from the main menu
  2. Select Import then File from the dropdown menu.
  3. Select the File
  4. Select PDF as the Import Option
  5. Decide on duplicates
  6. Select Unicode (UTF-8) as the Text Translation.
  7. Click on Import
  8. If a citation is created, be sure to check the reference to determine if the citation is complete/correct.

Using Import Filters (for files that don't export automatically)

Not all databases offer the direct export option. For those that don't you can use EndNote's import filters to transfer the reference data into your EndNote library. Here's how:

  1. Save the results you wish to keep in a text file
  2. From EndNote's File menu, choose Import
  3. Select the text file that contains your saved results
  4. From the Import Options menu, select Other Filters
  5. Select the filter that corresponds to the database your results came from
  6. Click the Import button

    If what you are looking for is not on any of the lists, you can go to the EndNote Import Filter site, to find the correct filter.
    Click here for more detailed instructionsInstalling EncNote X3 Import Filter Download Instructions.
Last Updated: Feb 1, 2024 3:54 PM