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EndNote extras: Work with PDFs

EndNote extras

Import and create references from PDFs

EndNote allows you to import a single PDF file or a folder containing several PDFs and will then attempt to automatically create a reference for the PDF.


  1. Select File then Import
  2. Choose File… (for a single PDF) or Folder... (for multiple PDFs)
  3. For the Import File option, select Choose and navigate to your PDF file or folder
  4. Select PDF for the Import Option
  5. Choose Discard duplicates
  6. Click Import

Your PDF will now appear as a reference in your EndNote library.


If the PDF does not have a DOI (Digital Object Identifier), EndNote will create a reference containing only the filename of the PDF in the Title field. The PDF will be attached to this reference, and you will need to edit the reference:

  1. Cut and paste the title of the PDF into the Title field of the reference and save it
  2. Right mouse click on the reference in your EndNote library and select Find Reference Updates
  3. If no updates are found, you will need to manually enter the information for the reference.

Automatic import of PDFs

PDF handling preferences allow you to automatically import PDFs from a folder on your computer.


  1. First, create a folder and save to the desired location on your computer (e.g. desktop)
  2. In EndNote, click on the Edit menu, select Preferences and PDF Handling (Windows) OR click on EndNote, select Preferences and PDF (MAC)
  3. Under PDF Auto Import Folder, tick Enable automatic importing
  4. Click on Select folder and navigate to the EndNote PDFs folder that you have created
  5. Click on Apply and OK

EndNote will regularly scan this folder and import the new PDFs you have saved to it and create a record in your EndNote library.