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EndNote X8

Referencing & EndNote

Before you begin using the EndNote program you need to know which referencing style your school uses and become familiar with that style. While EndNote will display references in your selected referencing style (e.g. APA, Chicago, Vancouver etc.) you need to be able to recognise any mistakes or inconsistencies in your references. For more information about referencing please see:

Inserting citations

Open a Word document. Click on the EndNote X8 tab in the Word ribbon. If the tab does not appear go to the Cite While You Write FAQ CWYW1.

Windows tool bar

Mac tool bar


Using Insert Citation within EndNote

Place the cursor in the word document where you want to insert the citation. Go to EndNote and highlight the reference you want to insert into your document. Click on the Insert Citation icon   Your document will now show an in-text citation and a corresponding entry in the bibliography.

Using Insert Citation within Word

In EndNote highlight the reference you want to insert into your document. In your word document, place the cursor where you want to insert the citation. In Word, on the word ribbon click on the drop down arrow next to the Insert Citation icon Insert citation icon in Wordand select Insert Selected Citation(s). Your document will show an in-text citation and a corresponding entry in the bibliography.

Using Find Citation within Word

Place the cursor in the document where you want to insert the citation. Click on the drop down arrow next to Insert Citation and select Insert Citation... or you can just click on the magnifying glass.

Type a keyword or author name in the search box and click Find. From the list of results that appear, highlight the citation you wish to insert. Click on the drop down arrow beside Insert and select your preferred option.

  1. Insert - (Reid 1988)
  2. Insert & Display as Author (Year) - Reid (1998)
  3. Insert & Exclude Author - (1998)
  4. Insert & Exclude Year - (Reid)
  5. Insert in Bibliography Only - (the reference will only appear in the bibliography and not as an in-text citation). 

Your document will show an in-text citation and corresponding entry in the bibliography.  

To move back to your library click on Go to EndNote in the tool bar.

Editing in-text citations

  1. Click on the in-text citation you want to edit. It should be highlighted in grey.
  2. Click on Edit & Manage Citation(s) or right click on the in-text citation and choose Edit Citation(s) and then More...
  3. A dialogue box will appear in which you can make changes to the citation. 
  4. Use the drop down arrow at Formatting to choose your required option.
  5. To add page numbers according to your referencing style enter the details in the suffix box, for example p.25. 
  6. To remove a citation click on the drop down arrow next to Edit Reference and choose  Remove Citation. Click OK

Converting to plain text documents

If you want to make manual changes to your references or are submitting an electronic copy of a paper to a publisher, it is recommended that you remove the field codes which link the document to EndNote.  This unlinks the field codes and saves the formatted citations and bibliography as a plain text copy.

Open your formatted Word document

  1. Select the EndNote X8 tab and click on Convert Citations and Bibliography>Convert to Plain Text>OK
  2. A new unsaved document with no field codes will appear
  3. Save it with a new file name. NB: your original document with the field codes will not be changed

Mac users:

Open your formatted Word document. On the toolbar click on the Tools drop down arrow  Drop menu for Tools and choose Convert to Plain Text and then Save. The new document will appear as a new unsaved document with no field codes. Save this document with a new file name. Note that your original document with the field codes is still retained.

Traveling library

Your Word document contains a ‘traveling library’ of the references cited. This traveling library allows you to collaborate with other authors working on the same Word document without each author having the same EndNote library.

To export references from a Word document to an EndNote library:

  1. Send your word document as an email attachment to your collaborator
  2. Collaborator opens the Word document received (it may be a Read Only document) and follows the instructions below to use the traveling library
  3. On the Endnote tab, go to Tools menu, select Export to EndNote and then Export Traveling Library. Select your EndNote library and click OK


  1. The reference data saved with each citation includes all fields except Notes, Abstract and Figures
  2. Do not unformat the document you received if you do not have the original references in your library
  3. The traveling library only operates if you are collaborating with someone using Word 2007 onwards

Note: We recommend that you export to a new EndNote library so you can review the records before adding them to an existing library.

There is an alternate way to copy references from your Word document to an EndNote library. Open both your Word document and the EndNote library. Then, in EndNote, go to the Tools menu, then the Cite While You Write submenu, and select Import Traveling Library.

Note: When you use the Import Traveling Library commands, the exported references are renumbered and do not retain their original reference numbers.

Manuscript templates

Mac users: This feature is currently unavailable for Macs.

If you are writing a thesis, or writing for publication in a journal, you may find these templates useful, as they provide a guide that makes the writing process easier. EndNote comes with templates for quite a number of journals and theses styles such as MLA and APA. They open up as Word templates.

To open a manuscript template:

  1. In EndNote, from Tools, select Manuscript Templates
  2. In the templates folder in EndNote, select the title of the journal you need and click Open. The template will appear ready as a word document for you to type in your text.
  3. If your journal template is not available in the template folder you may be able to download it from the EndNote website and save it into C:\Program Files\Endnote X8\Templates.

Using { } brackets in Word

If you are using brackets regularly in your Word documents (e.g. for mathematical of scientific formulas) you may find that EndNote tries to format the content within them as references, as it understands brackets to signify in-text citations. You may be prompted by persistent messages asking you to choose a reference to add in these brackets.  This can also happen when using parentheses in Word documents.

If this happens, we recommend that you change the symbols (known in the program as temporary citation delimiters) which EndNote understands to signify in-text citations:

To do this open EndNote and go to Edit (for Mac users EndNote X8) > Preferences > Temporary Citations.  Change the Temporary Citation Delimiters from curly brackets (or other brackets) to two different symbols which you are unlikely to use in your document (e.g. £ and $). Click on Apply > OK. You should find that this stops EndNote from trying to format content in brackets incorrectly. Your in-text citations will continue to display in the brackets as dictated by your chosen referencing style as normal.