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EndNote Desktop: EndNote for Systematic Reviews

Help with using EndNote Desktop

Using EndNote for systemtic reviews

You can use EndNote to help you manage your references when you are carrying out a systematic review.

There are a number of EndNote features that can help you.

Removing duplicates

You can find and remove duplicate records.

  • Select the All References group
  • Select Library > Find Duplicates
  • You can compare references in two windows side by side  and select which reference you want to keep
  • Alternatively you can click on Cancel from this window and the duplicates will be highlighted immediately.
  • Drag the shaded references to the trash or to another group if you need to keep a note of the de-duplication.

Custom Fields

You can create custom fields to keep comments from reviewers:

  • Select Edit > Preferences then Reference Types.
  • Choose Modify Reference Types button.
  • Scroll down to the Custom Fields (1-8). Some of these may already be in use.
  • Choose an empty Custom Field and enter a name in the box (e.g. Comments)
  • Click on the Apply to All Ref types button then click OK.

modify reference types

To display this field in the library window:

  • Select Edit > Preferences and then Display Fields.
  • A maximum of ten columns can be displayed in the library window.
  • Select a column to change and use the arrow to select the Custom Field (e.g Custom 1) that you created earlier. Enter the name (e.g. Comments) in the Heading box. Click Apply and then OK.

Adding text to multiple records

You can add text to multiple records simultaneously. This can be helpful if you need to identify which databases you searched and the information in the database record is incomplete or blank.

  • Exported references from databases will go into the Imported References group. The Imported References group will only contain the last set of references exported from a database, so it is best to add or change text at this point.
  • Select the Imported References Group.
  • Select Library > Change/Move/Copy Fields.
  • Select the field to change or add the text to (e.g. Name of Database) from the In: drop down menu.
  • Enter the text to be added
  • Choose where you want the text to appear using the Change radio button.
  • Click OK.

change move copy fields

Sharing libraries

Reviewers can work on a single shared library and have full access to all EndNote features.  EndNote 21 (and EndNote 20.2) allows you to share a library with up to 400 people.  Each collaborator will need EndNote 21 and will also need an EndNote Online account. You may wish to back up the library before sharing. Previous versions of EndNote from X8 onwards allow sharing with up to 100 people or 200 with EndNote 20.1. 

  • Back up your library by selecting File > Compressed Library (.enlx).
  • Sync your library with EndNote Online by select the Sync Library button .
  • If you don’t have an account, you will be prompted to set up one now.
  • Select File -> Share
  • Enter the email addresses of the other collaborators, choose the permissions  and click on Invite. If you want collaborators to have different permissions, then you will need to set up separate shares (i.e. all those with Read & Write, then all those with Read).
  • Email will be sent to collaborators directing them to a webpage to login to EndNote Online.
  • In EndNote desktop collaborators can then choose File > Open Shared Library.
  • The Activity Feed button shows recent activity on your shared library.

EndNote also allows you to share groups with up to 1,000 people. Collaborators will need an EndNote Online account but they don't need a desktop account. 

  • Highlight the group you wish to share 
  • Select Groups -> Share
  • Enter the email addresses of the other collaborators, choose the permissions and click on invite.

Exporting references from EndNote to Excel

It is possible to export references from EndNote Desktop to Excel.

Before you start you should make a back-up copy of your EndNote Library.

Exporting references to Excel requires you to create a new output style in EndNote.

Depending on the type of references in your EndNote Library this can be time consuming. If your EndNote Library contains just one type of reference, e.g. just journal articles, the time taken to create a new EndNote output  style will be reduced.

Before you start editing output styles think about the data you will require in Excel. You will almost certainly want the author, publication year and title, do you also need the abstract, journal name, page numbers etc?

Below are links to a video and a guide which explain how to export references from EndNote to Excel:

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center - video

University of Sydney Library - guide

For further help please contact your Faculty Librarian via 

Further help