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EndNote 20 for Windows

PDF & EndNote

You can set your EndNote preferences to automatically create a reference for any PDFs that you download to a particular folder. If EndNote is able to discover author & title information (because the PDF has an embedded DOI number), then the full reference will be created, otherwise a record showing the PDF name will be created, that you can then edit to add full details.

  • Click on Edit > Preferences > PDF Handling
  • Tick the Enable Automatic Importing option
  • Click Select Folder and browse to choose a folder that will hold your downloaded PDF files
  • Click OK.

If you set this preference then when you start EndNote it will automatically create records for new PDFs in your download folder, attaching the PDFs to these records in your Library. 

You can use EndNote to store your research PDFs and other file types. This will increase the size of your library, but makes accessing your PDFs more convenient.

You can attach up to 45 files (including PDFs) to a reference. 

There are two main methods to attach a file to a reference:

  • drag and drop - simply open a window where you can see your list of files, click on the file name/icon that you wish to attach, keep the mouse button pressed down and drag it over to your open EndNote Library and drop it on top of the reference. Your mouse icon will change to include a plus sign indicating that you are copying the file
  • click on the reference in your Library. Click References > File Attachments > Attach File on your EndNote menu bar. Browse your computer to find the file and click Open

To remove an attachment, double-click the reference in open the Edit panel. Scroll down to the File Attachments field. Click on the downward arrow on the file PDF icon and select Delete.

You can create a reference by importing a PDF into your EndNote library. This works best when your PDF has a DOI (Digital Object Identifier). A DOI is a unique number assigned to digital resources.

  1. Click on File > Import.
  2. Choose File or Folder, depending on whether you have single or multiple PDFs.
  3. Browse to locate the PDF or folder of PDFs.
  4. Choose PDF as the Import Option.
  5. Click Import.
  6. EndNote will create a reference, and attach the PDF(s).
  7. If EndNote was unable to complete the fields, then the reference will only contain the PDF, and you will need to fill out the fields manually (this usually occurs if the document does not have a DOI).

Watch: Annotating PDF files in EndNote 20

This is an EndNote Training production published on November 3 2020.  It shows how to annotate your PDF files that are located in the EndNote program.