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EndNote - Basic (Online) & Desktop

This guide contains information on the citation management tool EndNote. Content references both the Basic (Online/Free) version and the Desktop (Paid) version.

Adding References to Your Library

There are three ways to add citations to your library. Under the Collect tab:

1. Online Search: You can search the UW catalogue and PubMed directly with this option, though it is not very granular in terms of a variety of search fields.

2. New Reference - Use this when you need to add a book chapter, website, or government report  (anything that is not in a database). Endnote refers to Book Chapter as Book Section.

3. Import References: This is where you import from the databases (PubMed, PsycInfo, Embase, etc.). Please note that it is best to import at most 400 or so at a time so that the function does not time out.

Importing Citations from PubMed

Import manually


First, in PubMed, download a file of the desired citations

  1. Select citations by checking the box to the left of individual citations, or download All results
  2. From the Send to menu, choose Citation manager
  3. Click Create File


PubMed export image

Second, in EndNote Online, import the saved PubMed file citations

  1. Go to Collect tab and choose Import References
    1. In File: click Choose File and select from your computer Downloads folder
  2. Import Option: select PubMed (NLM)
  3. To: select appropriate Group
  4. Click Import


Import file containing PubMed citations

Using EndNote Basic with Other Databases

Import citations from other databases

Look for a direct export option to move citations automatically into EndNote Online. Move the filters you frequently use to Favorites so you don't have to sort through them each time (PubMed NLM).

If you don't see an import filter that matches your database, try creating a file of the citations using one of the following formats, and then import the text file into EndNote online.

  • EndNote Export
  • RIS format


What Import Filter Option to Choose?

Usually, the import filter to use is the one that describes the combination of database and database provider.  For example, PsycInfo (OVID) or PsycInfo (Ebsco).

However, there are specific file extensions that denote which filter to use

File extension Import Option
Import Options
.nbib PubMed (NLM)
.ris RefMan (RIS)
.enw EndNote Import

If none of these work, double-check that the text file was saved in the correct format.


At present, these are the import filters you would employ for the most commonly-used databases:

PubMed - PubMed NLM

Embase - RIS format, use RefMan RIS

CINAHL - RIS format, use RefMan RIS

PsycInfo - RIS format, use RefMan RIS

Google Scholar - EndNote Import (one at a time)

Web of Science - this will export directly to your Unfiled folder - make sure it is empty, then move the citations to the proper folder

UW Catalogue - will automatically download to your Unfiled folder. Make sure Author names are correct, sometimes they reverse first and last names.