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Biology: Getting Started with EndNote in Biology

A guide to library resources and research in biology and the life sciences.

Getting Started with EndNote

What is EndNote?

EndNote is software that helps you manage your research and format your citations. EndNote is licensed for use by current Northeastern faculty, staff, and students, which means it's freely available to you. It comes with a plug-in for Word, called Cite While You Write. It is very similar to other citation tools such as RefWorks, Mendeley, and Zotero. If you are already using one of these you may not need to use EndNote unless it is required by a professor or lab. 

Why should I use EndNote?

In short, it will save you a massive amount of time throughout your time at Northeastern and beyond. EndNote will help you organize your references, keep track of research, and most crucially help create bibliographies and in-text citations for you in minutes. Unlike NoodleTools or EasyBib, EndNote can cite in a variety of different citation styles including the more specialized styles you'll now be asked to create bibliographies in such as Nature style, and more. 

What is the difference between EndNote X9 and EndNote 20?

EndNote 20 is the newest version of EndNote. Currently, some of the tutorials and screenshots on this guide are reflective of EndNote X9 and others are reflective of EndNote 20. Use the tabs in the boxes to choose either EndNote X9 or EndNote 20 for either Mac or PC. Both programs provide similar experiences, but EndNote 20 has a significantly different interface than EndNote X9 so while much of the core of the software has stayed similar, it does look different. If you are having trouble with either program, please ask a librarian, visit EndNote's Support Site, or check out EndNote's YouTube Training Channel

Need More Help?

In addition to support from ITS and the library, EndNote Support is also available to you. 

To get started using EndNote, there is a research subject guide with commonly requested information on downloading EndNote and using the Microsoft Word plug-in to easily create your bibliographies. 

There are also recorded webinars and short tutorials available that will take you through the essentials of using EndNote, and other commonly asked questions:

Downloading EndNote

Downloading EndNote

Faculty and staff can download EndNote through the ‘Software Downloads’ link in the Software & IT Support section of Services and Links on my.northeastern.edu. Students should follow the steps for downloading EndNote below.

EndNote can be very tricky to download correctly, and the Microsoft Word plugin only works with the desktop version of Microsoft Word, not Word 365. Because of this, you will have to download Microsoft Office if you do not already have it on your computer. 

You have access to Microsoft Office for free through Northeastern. To download, follow the steps on this page to first sign into Office 365 and then Install Office. Troubleshooting tips for EndNote are below, but for any questions, please contact ITS

Before you download:

For Macs (in particular Macbook Airs), please have your computer and Microsoft Word completely up to date with all software updates prior to attempting to download EndNote. Be sure to also have your Microsoft Word completely closed before starting the download process. If you do not follow these steps and perform the updates in advance of download, it is highly likely your download will not be successful.

For PCs, the same general recommendations apply, and the most common error is having EndNote ask for a license key. The easiest way to trouble shoot this error message is here

Steps to Downloading EndNote X9 and EndNote 20:

Please review the above information before starting the following steps.

1. Run any updates on your computer, including updates for Microsoft Office.

2. If you do not have the desktop versions of Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, etc.), please download them.

3. Before downloading EndNote, be sure to close Microsoft Word. On a Mac, be sure to close it completely by going to the Word menu and clicking Quit Word, or using the keyboard shortcut 'command' + 'Q'. 

4. Go to the Student Hub and log in.

5. Click Resources.

6. Under 'Software & IT Support', click 'Software Downloads'.

7. Select EndNote X9 or EndNote 20 for either Mac or PC. Note: If you wish to download the newest version of EndNote, please select EndNote 20. 

8. Follow the prompts to complete download. For PCs, please be sure to follow the instructions exactly. If not, EndNote will ask you for a license key. If you receive that error message, please see troubleshooting instructions here

Did EndNote correctly integrate into Microsoft Word?

How do I know if it downloaded correctly?

The main trouble spot for most students is that the EndNote menu doesn't show up in your Microsoft Word. When you open up Microsoft Word, you should see an EndNote menu. It may look different depending on which version of Microsoft Word you have. 

Mac (EndNote 20):

Box and arrow pointing to EndNote 20 menu in the Microsoft Word Toolbar

How do I know if it downloaded correctly?

The main trouble spot for most students is that the EndNote menu doesn't show up in your Microsoft Word. When you open up Microsoft Word, you should see an EndNote menu. It may look different depending on which version of Microsoft Word you have. 

PC:

How do I know if it downloaded correctly?

The main trouble spot for most students is that the EndNote menu doesn't show up in your Microsoft Word. When you open up Microsoft Word, you should see an EndNote menu. It may look different depending on which version of Microsoft Word you have. 

Mac (EndNote X9):

Location of EndNote X9 Toolbar in Microsoft Word Document on a Mac

How do I know if it downloaded correctly?

The main trouble spot for most students is that the EndNote menu doesn't show up in your Microsoft Word. When you open up Microsoft Word, you should see an EndNote menu. It may look different depending on which version of Microsoft Word you have. 

PC:

Location of EndNote Toolbar in Microsoft Word on a PC

Adding the EndNote Toolbar into Microsoft Word

If you do not have the EndNote menu in Microsoft Word:

For a Mac, follow the instructions in the video below. The video below demonstrates this using EndNote 20, but you can find a video demonstrating this in EndNote X9 here.

If you do not have the EndNote menu in Microsoft Word:

For a PC, see the steps below. These should be the same for both EndNote X9 and EndNote 20:

Follow these steps to add in the EndNote plug-in (Cite While You Write) in Microsoft Word.

  1. In Word, click the File tab and choose Options.
  2. Select Add-Ins from the left hand menu.
  3. Under the heading Active Application Add-ins, check whether you have the EndNote Cite While You Write COM Add-in (see the Type column).
  4. If it is not listed, then go down to the bottom of the window to the Manage drop-down list.
  5. With COM Add-ins showing, click Go...
  6. If CWYW is installed, then EndNote Cite While You Write will appear as one of the add-ins available. Make sure the box beside it is ticked, then click OK.
  7. The EndNote ribbon should appear immediately in Word.

If you're having trouble, please reach out to either ITS or EndNote support directly. This article on adding the Cite While You Write plug-in into different versions of Microsoft Word may also be useful.  

Creating a New Library in EndNote

Creating a New Library in EndNote

In EndNote, you'll arrange your references within 'libraries'. You can think of libraries as the equivalent to Word Documents. You can have multiple word documents for different assignments, projects, and purposes. EndNote is much the same way. You can create different libraries for different projects, classes, or content areas. 

I recommend starting with one library, and focusing on organization within the library. 

Open EndNote.

On a Mac, it will ask you to create and save a library when you first open the program. If not, you can go to File → New to create a new library (see photo below). While the interface will look different depending on the version of EndNote you use, the steps are the same to create a new library.

EndNote 20 (Mac):

How to create a New Library in EndNote X9 (Mac). Navigate to File then New

Creating a New Library in EndNote

In EndNote, you'll arrange your references within 'libraries'. You can think of libraries as the equivalent to Word Documents. You can have multiple word documents for different assignments, projects, and purposes. EndNote is much the same way. You can create different libraries for different projects, classes, or content areas. 

I recommend starting with one library, and focusing on organization within the library. 

Open EndNote.

When you first open EndNote on a PC, you may only see a blank gray screen to start with. Go to File -> New to create a library and then get started with your project.

Creating a new library under the File menu

Creating a New Library in EndNote

In EndNote, you'll arrange your references within 'libraries'. You can think of libraries as the equivalent to Word Documents. You can have multiple word documents for different assignments, projects, and purposes. EndNote is much the same way. You can create different libraries for different projects, classes, or content areas. 

I recommend starting with one library, and focusing on organization within the library. 

Open EndNote.

On a Mac, it will ask you to create and save a library when you first open the program. If not, you can go to File → New to create a new library (see photo below). While the interface will look different depending on your version of EndNote, the steps are the same to create a new library.

How to create a New Library in EndNote X9 (Mac). Navigate to File then New

 

Creating a New Library in EndNote

In EndNote, you'll arrange your references within 'libraries'. You can think of libraries as the equivalent to Word Documents. You can have multiple word documents for different assignments, projects, and purposes. EndNote is much the same way. You can create different libraries for different projects, classes, or content areas. 

I recommend starting with one library, and focusing on organization within the library. 

Open EndNote.

On a PC, you'll only see a blank gray screen to start with when you first open EndNote. Go to File → New to create a library and then get started with your project (see photo below).

Creating a new library in EndNote X9 on a PC. You will see a completely blank gray screen. Navigate to File -> New to create a new library.

Getting Organized in EndNote: Creating Groups

Getting organized: Creating Groups

Groups can help you organize your references. You can create groups to organize your references by topic, by class, by project, or any other preference you may have. See below for instructions on how to create groups.

Mac: In your EndNote library, go to the menu Groups and select 'Create Group'. 

Creating a new group on a Mac in EndNote. Navigate to the Group menu and choose Create Group.

A new group will be created in the 'My Group's section on the left hand side of the library. Name the group, and then you can drag and drop references into it for organization.  

Location of New Group under 'My Groups' in left hand portion of EndNote screen

Getting organized: Creating Groups

Groups can help you organize your references. You can create groups to organize your references by topic, by class, by project, or any other preference you may have. See below for instructions on how to create groups.

PC: In your EndNote library, go to the menu Groups and select 'Create Group'. 

Creating a new group by clicking on the Groups menu and selecting Create Group.

A new group will be created in the 'My Group's section on the left hand side of the library. Name the group, and then you can drag and drop references into it for organization. 

New Group created underneath the 'My Groups' header on the left hand menu

 

Getting organized: Creating Groups

Groups can help you organize your references. You can create groups to organize your references by topic, by class, by project, or any other preference you may have. See below for instructions on how to create groups.

Mac: In your EndNote library, go to the menu Groups and select 'Create Group'. 

Creating a new group on a Mac in EndNote. Navigate to the Group menu and choose Create Group.

A new group will be created in the 'My Group's section on the left hand side of the library. Name the group, and then you can drag and drop references into it for organization.  

Location of New Group under 'My Groups' in left hand portion of EndNote screen                 

 

Getting organized: Creating Groups

Groups can help you organize your references. You can create groups to organize your references by topic, by class, by project, or any other preference you may have. See below for instructions on how to create groups.               

PC: In your EndNote library, go to the menu Groups and select 'Create Group'. The steps for creating a group in EndNote 20 should be the same, although the interface will look different.

Creating a group in EndNote X9 on a PC. Navigate to Groups Menu and select Create Group.

A new group will be created in the 'My Group's section on the left hand side of the library. Name the group, and then you can drag and drop references into it for organization. 

A new group in EndNote on a PC appears in the left hand side of the window.

Importing PubMed References into EndNote

Importing PubMed References into EndNote

One of the key components to using EndNote successfully is to be able to download citations from a database, such as PubMed, into EndNote. Watch the video below to see how to export a citation from PubMed into EndNote on either a Mac or a PC. 

EndNote 20 (Mac & PC):

Importing PubMed References into EndNote

One of the key components to using EndNote successfully is to be able to download citations from a database, such as PubMed, into EndNote. Watch the video below to see how to export a citation from PubMed into EndNote on a Mac or a PC. 

EndNote X9 (Mac):

Importing PubMed References into EndNote

One of the key components to using EndNote successfully is to be able to download citations from a database, such as PubMed, into EndNote. Watch the video below to see how to export a citation from PubMed into EndNote on either a PC. 

EndNote X9 (PC):

Importing and Attaching PDFs in EndNote

How do I import a PDF into EndNote?

You can find step by step instructions and screenshots for both Macs and PCs in this PDF tutorial. If you import a PDF into EndNote, it will create a new citation. If you already have a citation in EndNote and wish to attach a PDF, please watch the video below. 

Can I attach a PDF to an already existing citation?

Yes! Watch the video below for more step by step instructions.

How do I import a PDF into EndNote?

You can find step by step instructions and screenshots for both Macs and PCs in this PDF tutorial on EndNote X9. If you import a PDF into EndNote, it will create a new citation. If you already have a citation in EndNote and wish to attach a PDF, please watch the video below. 

Can I attach a PDF to an already existing citation?

Yes! Watch the video below on how to attach PDFs to existing citations in your EndNote X9 library. 

Creating Citations in Microsoft Word Using EndNote

Create In-Text Citations and Bibliography Entries

Creating in-text citations and bibliographies using EndNote will save you time. Watch the video below for a quick introduction to creating in-text citations and bibliographies. The Microsoft Word plug-in is the same for both EndNote X9 and EndNote 20. 

Changing a Paper's Citation Style using EndNote

Changing your Paper's Citation Style

As shown in the video above, your paper's citation style will be set to Annotated by default the first time you use the Cite While You Write tool in EndNote. Watch the video below to learn more about changing citation styles using EndNote. The Microsoft Word plug-in is the same for both EndNote X9 and EndNote 20. 

Adding a Citation Style to EndNote

What if the citation style I want to use is not in EndNote?

Both EndNote X9 and EndNote 20 only include 500 citation styles by default, which means you may want to add an additional style in at some point. An example of this is the Journal of Bacteriology style, which isn't included by default, but can be added in. 

Steps to install additional styles in both EndNote X9 and EndNote 20:

  1. Find the EndNote link for the citation style. Often this can be done by googling 'journal name + EndNote'. 
  2. Download the style
  3. Double click the style file – it should open in EndNote X9
  4. With the style open, go to the File Menu and choose ‘Save As’.
  5. Close the style.
  6. In your MS Word plugin, you should now be able to select the style after clicking ‘Select Another Style’. Sometimes you may have to restart Microsoft Word for it to appear.