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EndNote desktop guide: Managing your references

Managing references

In this section we are going to look at the essentials of managing references in your library.

Preview panel

The right hand panel of your EndNote library contains two sections. The top half gives you the option to edit the record and if a document is attached, to open the document. The bottom section allows you select and preview a referencing style.

Preview panel


Referencing style

You can select and preview your referencing style in the bottom right section of the preview panel. You can select different styles from the drop down menu. A few styles will be offered initially and more are available if you click on 'Select Another Style'. If you wish to add a style that does not already available through the 'Select Another Style' option, e.g. BU Harvard, you will need to add it manually (see our guidance).

Reference preview

Editing a reference

To edit a reference,

  1. click on the title in the main list of .
  2. then click on Edit

Changes are auto saved generally but you can prompt a save by going File > Save, or you will be asked to save when you close the reference.

Edit reference details

Removing duplicates

Duplicates are very common in an EndNote library and it is essential that you remove them. The process is quite straight forward.

To screen references individually

  • Select,  Library > Find duplicates
  • A dialogue box will appear, which shows the first of the duplicates and allows you to compare them. Ordinarily you delete the later added reference (see the reference numbers in the screenshot below (green boxes)) as you may have already edited the existing reference

Compare duplicates pop-up

The number of duplicates to review is indicated in the left pane

Number of duplicates


To remove all duplicates en masse

There is a risk in removing them all in one go, as duplicate identification is not perfect, but it is a lot quicker than screening every reference


  • Select,  Library > Find duplicates
  • A dialogue box will appear, which shows the first of the duplicates and allows you to compare them
  • Click cancel
  • The later added duplicate of any reference will be highlighted in green

Delete multiple duplicates at the same time

  • Right click on any one of the green highlighted references
  • Select move references to trash

Managing duplicate identification

You can manage how EndNote identifies duplicates through by going to

  • Edit > Preferences > Find duplicates
  • Use the check boxes to specify how EndNote identifies duplicates

Organising references in groups

Your references are categorised in the left pane of the library. 'All References' reflects all the references in your library. In the Groups section, you can create custom groups. There are three types of group, but the basic is the most useful.

  • To create a group, right click on My Groups, select Create Group, and give it a name
  • To populate a group, left click and hold on a reference in your library and drag and drop it to the group

Creating groups in EndNote

Note: If you place a reference in a group, it does not remove that reference from All References, or create a copy of that reference. It is the same reference, with the same Record Number, just reflected in two places.

Note: If removing a reference from a group, make sure to choose the option to Remove Reference from Group, not Move Reference to Trash. If you remove to trash it will also remove it from All References.

Adding full text

Full text can be added for references, either by importing a file (usually a PDF) or by including a link to the full text online (not all full text is available as a file)

Adding a file e.g. PDF


  • Save the file you wish you attach to a reference, to your computer e.g. to your desktop
  • Open the reference you wish to attach it to (see edit reference for how to do this)
  • Identify the File attachment field
  • Drag and drop the file to this field


  • Highlight the references to which you wish to add the full text (it is often easiest to locate them to a group)
  • Click on the Search the Web for full text documents icon

Search the Web for full text icon

  • EndNote will attempt retrieve full text files (where they are freely available or available through a University subscription). If the full text is not available as a file but as full text online, a URL will be inserted instead.
  • The results will be displayed in the panel on the left of your library under Find Full Text
To set this up in your own purchased copy of EndNote please contact us


Import previously saved PDFs

To import a batch of PDFs previously saved to your computer see our section on Import locally saved PDFs

URL linking

Where a URL has been added to the URL field in a reference, either manually by yourself or automatically using Full Text Finder (see Harvesting above), right click on the reference and click on Open URL (not Open URL Link) to go to the full text online. You will find the full text available in online format rather than as a document (unless there has been a reason the document couldn't be harvested, in which case you could now add it manually (see above)).