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EndNote: Citation Management

How to install and get started using the various EndNote versions

Searching & Exporting References

There are two ways to import references from online databases: Online Search (within EndNote) and Direct Export (from databases and other sources). The method you choose will be determined by the type of search you are doing. The chart below describes our recommendations. 

Online Search (searching within EndNote)
Direct Export (searching within a database)
Known item search

Are you searching for a specific article?  Do you have a title, author, or other citation information. If so, you should use the online search within EndNote.

Topic Search

Are you doing a topic search?  If so, it is better to go to the library databases to search for references. 

Highly specific search

If you are looking for works by a specific author within a specific time frame, or other specific parameters you should use the online search within EndNote

Using EndNote off campus

You cannot search the databases within EndNote if you are off campus. In this case you should go to the library databases directly

Direct Export & Online Search

Direct export is the preferred method for searching for references.  The search functionality is much better within the individual databases. 

The process for exporting references will vary by site.  Some databases do no not have an option to directly export to EndNote.  In those cases you may be able to import record using an RIS file.

The following are examples from OneSearch and some frequently used databases.  An extensive list of instructions by database is available from the University of Canterbury Library.  


  • Enter your search parameters in the basic search or (recommended) use Advanced Search
  • Select an article from the search results
  • Select Export RIS and select Download
  • Save the reference in the EndNote library on your computer 
  • Open the download (this may happen automatically depending on your computer settings) 
  • The reference will appear in your Imported References 


ProQuest Databases

  • From the article view select All Options (three dots)
  • Under Citation Export select RIS
  • From the dropdown menus in the pop-up window 
    • Output to: RIS
    • Content: Citation, abstract, indexing
  • Select Continue and open the download (this may happen automatically depending on your computer settings)
  • The reference will appear in your Imported References group in EndNote  


  • Choose your search parameters and search
  • Select an article from the search results
  • Select Send to and from the dropdown menu select Citation manager
  • Select Create a file and save the file in your EndNote library on your computer (this may happen automatically depending on your settings)
  • The citation will appear in your Unfiled group in EndNote


Some databases do not support direct export to EndNote or RIS files. 

To use the online search within EndNote you must download and install "connection files".  You will be able to see the preinstalled files on the left navigation menu under Online Search

  1. Click on a database title under Online Search on the left navigation menu (Academic Search Premier, Library of Congress, PubMed, etc.)
  2. Enter your search parameters 
  3. Click Search. EndNote 20 will download the first 25 search results, but you have the option to download additional results
  4. Select the items you want to keep
  5. Click the plus symbol to save these results to your EndNote Library
  6. The references you added will appear in your Unfiled group

To add more connection files search the table on EndNote's website

Capture Reference

To install the Capture tool, just drag the Capture Reference button to your Bookmarks bar (also known as "Favorites Bar" or "Bookmarks Toolbar"). In some browsers, you may need to right-click and select "Add to Favorites" or "Bookmark This Link."

To use it, browse to a page you like and click the Capture Reference button in the Bookmarks bar. The Capture Reference window will open. Follow the instructions in the window.