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EndNote Desktop: Managing References

Help with using EndNote Desktop

Searching your references

To perform a search of the entire library, use the Simple or Advanced searchTo search the entire Library make sure you have highlighted All References in the left pane on the EndNote window. 

EndNote search

The Advanced search gives you the options of searching particular fields, saving your search and converting your search to a smart group.


We recommend that you have one EndNote library for all your references and use the Groups feature to organise your references as needed.Example of group set with custom and smart groups

  • Click on Groups > Create Group Set and label as appropriate (e.g. Important Authors). Group Sets are used to organise your groups.
  • Click on Groups > Create Group and label as appropriate (e.g. Bennie).

This feature allows you to create mini libraries within your master library. You can
add references to your newly created groups by highlighting single or multiple
references and either dragging them to the group in the left-hand menu or
selecting Groups > Add references to [Group Name].

You can also set up Smart Groups which automatically group references by set criteria (e.g. keyword).The screenshot shows two custom groups (Bennie and Mao) and a smart group (Akemann).

Attaching files to your references

EndNote allows you to add PDFs, images or other files to your references provided you have a copy saved in your H drive/pendrive/desktop - this allows you to add figures, illustrations or even the full text.

Highlight the reference you wish to attach a file to then select:

References > File Attachments > Attach File

Use References > Figure > Attach Figure for images.

Alternatively you can use the pin icon to attach items to your references.


If you're importing references from several different catalogues or databases, you may end up with duplicate references in your library. EndNote offers an easy way to find, compare and remove duplicate references.

Library > Find Duplicates

EndNote will allow you compare records and select the one with the best information.

Changing reference style & format

EndNote allows you to change the type of Referencing Style  - this will dictate how your references will appear when you come to cite them in a Word document. There are thousands of referencing styles to choose from, so you should check with your School to find out which style they require you to use.

To change the style select the Summary option from the right hand pane. Click on the down arrow beside the reference style, The styles in the short list are your favourites but you can choose any style from  Select Another Style. If you can't see the right hand pane, choose References -> Edit Reference.

Select Another Style option

Click on the up arrow next to Copy citation to  preview the style.

Inserting special characters into references

To insert a special character into EndNote you can copy and paste the character from a Word document or use the Character Map tool.

  • Search for the Character Map using the search box next to the Windows icon on your computer.
  • Select the Symbol font if necessary (other fonts will revert to the default display font in EndNote)
  • Select the character required and click on Copy
  • Go to EndNote and paste (Ctrl and V) the character into your open reference
  • Close the reference (saving the changes if prompted)
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