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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

EndNote: Building a Library

An overview of EndNote bibliographic management software with detailed information on getting started and customizing your software.

Importing Citations

There are 4 main ways to add a citation to your EndNote library.

  1. Searching within a database and exporting (directly or indirectly) to EndNote (Recommended)
  2. Import from Google Scholar
  3. Searching from within EndNote
    • EndNote uses Connection Files to let you connect directly to a large number of online bibliographic databases, search for the references, and retrieve those references all without leaving EndNote. These individual Connection Files in EndNote provide the information required to connect to virtually any Z39.50 compliant database. You may also wish to check out EndNote's Connection Files Page which contains their full list of downloadable Connection Files. Note that most of these Connection Files already are included in the Connect folder that installs when you load the EndNote program.

      • Note that Connection Files for Library subscription databases will not work off-campus. Please login to TunnelAll on the VPN when off-campus to use this functionality.

  4. Adding citations manually

Each database will have a different look and feel, so we can't show detailed instructions for every single database. However, we can show you a few representative examples.  More examples are under the tab "Searching Specific Databases".

Direct Export from Web of Knowledge

Search the database and then directly export the desired articles to EndNote

Direct Export is available for Thomson Reuter Databases (e.g., Web of Science, Biological Abstracts, CAB Abstracts, Medline), Scopus, eiVillage, and several other databases.  

For Web of Science:

  • Go to the library homepage, click on "Online Journals and Databases" under the "Quick Links" column, and search for Web of Science. Follow the links to the database.
  • When you see an article you'd like to save, check the box next to it. Then click on the red check at the top of the list of results. This will save the item to your Marked:

Saving articles through Web of Science

  • Once you're finished selecting items, click on Marked List at the top of the page. When the Marked List page comes up, click on EndNote.

Send articles to your EndNote

  • The citation should automatically export into your EndNote library. If not, click on the downloaded file to open it in EndNote.

Export from PudMed and Ebsco

If the database you're working with doesn't support direct export, or if you click Export/Save/Download and the citation does not automatically appear in your EndNote library, you can follow these steps to import it. Most databases now have a direct export, but you can use this method if direct export is not working for some reason.

To export citations indirectly from a database, you’ll need to export the records from the database into a text file in a particular format (usually .ris), and then import the citations from the file using a built-in EndNote filter for the source database. If you have the option, give the text file a “.ris” extension, which may allow it to be recognized and opened by EndNote, just by clicking on the file. 

This box includes examples for PubMed and EbscoHost databases.


1. Select the articles that you'd like to save. Then click on Send to, select Clipboard, and click on Add to Clipboard.

Add PubMed articles to your clipboard

2. Your clipboard should show that it has items. When you're finished searching and adding items, click where it says Clipboard: X Items.

Clipboard shows number of items saved

3. Select the items that you'd like to export, click on Send To, select Citation manager, and click Create File.

Create file for items to export

4. Depending on your operating system and your browser, you might wait for the download dialogue box to appear, and select Open with, and click Browse... Then select EndNote from the list and click OK.

Choose EndNote if you are given the "Browse" option


 You might also see a download box near the bottom of your browser window. Click the box to download, and follow the instructions above.

 Download box


1. When you've found items that you're interested in, click Add to Folder under each item that you'd like to save. When you're finished selecting items, click on the folder icon at the top of the page

Adding articles to your folder in EBSCO

2. Select the items that you'd like to save, and click on Export in the right hand column.

Export articles

3. Select Direct Export in RIS format, and click Save. Alternately, you may choose to direct export to EndNote Web, then sync later.

Direct Export in RIS Format

4. If you're using Windows, select Open with... Research Direct Export Helper. If you're using a Mac, or if you're not given this option, save the item someplace where you'll be able to find it later. Once it's downloaded, go to EndNote, click the File tab at the top, select Import, and select File. Then browse to find the file you want, choose RIS as your import option and click Import. Or you can find the file itself, and right click on it, choose Open with, and choose Endnote. If you are using a newer browser, the file might open in EndNote automatically. 

Open using EndNote

Import from Google Scholar

To import from Google Scholar, you have two options. You can import one item at a time into EndNote, or you can use the "capture" extension on EndNote Web to capture up to ten citations, then sync to your desktop.

Import Individually

If you'd like to import citations individually using Google Scholar, you must first make a few changes in your settings.


1. From within Google Scholar, go in to your settings. Click the Library links tab and search for University of Illinois. Then check the relevant boxes. Most important is "University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign- Discover UIUC Full Text." Then click Save.

GoogleScholar settings


2. Then click on the Search results tab. Under Bibliography manager, select EndNote. Then click Save. This means that, when you do a search within Google Scholar, you will have the option to Export to EndNote.

Settings to export to EndNote


3. Go back to Google Scholar and conduct a search. For each item that interests you, click on Import into Endnote.

Import individual items


4. If you're using Windows, chose to open the file with EndNote. If this does not appear, save the file in a place where you'll be able to find it, and open it with EndNote from within your computer.

Import using the "capture"  extension

1. Open EndNote web at

2. Click on the Options tab, then Download Installers. To install the capture tool, simply drag the grey box to your toolbar, as illustrated below.

Installing the capture tool

3. From the Google Scholar search results page, click Capture Reference, now on your toolbar.

Capture Reference

4. In the pop-up window, select and the group you would like to send to references to, then click Capture. Keep in mind that the capture tool does not capture abstracts - you will need to add these manually.

Capture to


Import from the Library Catalog

The only way to search from within EndNote is to use a connection file (covered below).

Search within EndNote

EndNote comes pre-loaded with a connection file for the University of Illinois Library Catalog. In your Connections Manager, make sure to select U Illinois-Urbana:

Select U Illinois-Urbana

For complete directions for searching within the library catalog through EndNote, see the section Search Within EndNote, below.


Search within EndNote

In order to search a database from within EndNote, you will have to set up connection files for each database that you plan to search. If you have not already done so, please consult the Connection Files box on the Getting Started tab.

Remember, if you want to use EndNote connection files to search databases from off campus, you must connect using the Technology Services VPN Protocol.

Because the EndNote search interface has limited functionality, it is more useful for known item searches than it is for more exploratory searches.

1. First, you'll want to make sure that you have the connection file for database you want, and that it has been checked within your Connections Manager. Click on the Edit tab, select Connection Files, and click on Open Connection Manager. From this list, make sure that the connection files you need are checked. The Illinois-specific connection files should begin with UofI. For example, "UofI - ERIC (ProQuest)."

Select U Illinois-Urbana


2.  Under Online Search in the left hand column, select the database you'd like to search. You will probably want to select Online Mode by clicking on the globe icon (without books) in the upper left of the task bar. (If you're in Integrated Mode, then ALL of your search results will be automatically added to your library).

Select the Globe Icon


3. Select any citations that you'd like to add to your library. Then click on the Copy icon in the upper taskbar (see below). Or right click on the items and select Copy to... and choose the library you'd like to add them to.

Copy Citations

Add Citations Manually

If all else fails, you can always enter a new reference manually.

1. Click on the New Reference icon in the toolbar, or type CTRL+n.

New Reference icon


2. When the New Reference window pops up, select the Reference Type for the item you want to add, and then enter as much information as you have. Warning: EndNote can be a bit finicky about how the information is entered, and if it doesn't like it then the citation may not behave properly when you need to enter it in a paper or export it to another database.

Select Reference Type