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Research Guides



The Organization section has information about organizing your EndNote Library and other related information.


Groups. You can create groups (they are like folders) to organize your references. One way to create a group is to click the EndNote Groups menu + Create Group. This creates a new group in the Groups panel at the left and is set for you to edit the group name. You can click and drag a reference (or select multiple references) to the group. Another way to add to a group is to click a reference, then right-click it, then point at Add References To and then Create a new group or add the references to an existing group. If you create a new group, you may have to afterwards name the group. You can right-click or double-click a group to rename. If you delete an item from a group using the delete key (or right-click the reference in a group and then click either Remove References from Group or Cut), it deletes it from the group but not from All References. If you right-click a reference in a group and click Move References to Trash, it will delete the reference from the group AND from All References.

Smart Groups. A smart group is a group that is based on a search of the references in your EndNote library. If new items are added to the library that the search will find, then those items will also be listed in the smart group. For example, if I create a smart group based on the search for the word qualitative, then any items in my library then or that I add later that the search for qualitative finds will be listed in that smart group. You can create a smart group by clicking the Groups menu + Create Smart Group. This will open the Smart Group window and let you input the search. You can set the Smart Group Name at the top of the window. For an example, where the field name starts with Author selected, click and scroll up in the list and select Any Field. Then at the right input the word qualitative and then click the Create button. You can edit the name of the smart group by right-clicking the smart group name in the groups panel and then click Rename Group. You can edit the search by right-clicking the smart group name and then clicking Edit Group. You can also create a smart group from a search of your EndNote library. If the Search Panel is not displayed, click Show Search Panel at the top of EndNote, then input a search, click the Search button, then click the Options button and click Convert to Smart Group.

Group Sets. A group set is a secondary level or organization for groups and smart groups, like group headings. To create a group set, in EndNote click the Groups menu + Create Group Set. You can drag a group or smart group to any group set by dragging it to the group set name or to a group in a group set (though that is the same as dragging the group to the group set name and does not affect the order of groups in the group set which is alphabetical). You can right-click a group set name to rename the group set (including the automatic group "My Groups").

You can also click a group or group set in the groups panel and then right-click to create a group or smart group or group based on other groups or a group set or to rename or delete.


Each EndNote reference has a keywords field and you can add keywords to it. Click a reference in the EndNote library and then click the Reference tab in the tabbed panel at the right. At the top of the panel, is a gear icon; make sure that setting has Show Empty Fields checked (so the keywords field will be displayed even if there is no data in the field). Scroll down to the keywords field. You can type a keyword into the keywords field. It may be easier to work with keywords if you put one keyword to a line.

Two ways that keywords can be useful is allowing the reference to be found in the EndNote library by a search for that keyword or in creating a smart group based on that keyword. Some drawbacks or issues with keywords are that many databases automatically send keyword data, so the keywords field can contain many keywords already. That might conflict with your own careful assignment of keyword terms. Another issue is the difficulty of uniformity in keywords. For example, if I wanted to add a keyword Texas A&M University to some of my references, I might later inadvertently use different formatting (though unlikely) of Texas A & M or Texas A and M or TAMU and none of those terms would be found by a simple search for Texas A&M University (an OR search including all of those different versions of the university name would have to be created). One nice feature of EndNote is that if you are clicked into the keywords field you can press Ctrl + 1 (on a PC) or Cmd + 1 (on a Mac) to see a list of all keywords used in that EndNote library. Referring to and using that list can help in uniformity of keyword use.


When EndNote transfers references from databases, the reference data often includes an abstract which is one type of annotation. You can also annotate your own references. The Research Notes field is included in each reference and is reserved for your use. EndNote does not transfer data into the Research Notes field. You can include up to about ten pages of text in that field. You might include quotes from the text, your own summary, thoughts about the text, or plans for how to use the source in your writing,

If you use the Annotated Review style, it will show both the Abstract field (if there is an abstract) and the Research Notes field (if there are research notes) in the preview for each item in the EndNote library.

Editing data

You can edit any data field in EndNote references except for the record number. One option is editing in the tabbed panel at the right with the Reference tab selected. Editing also allows changing the Reference type, if needed. (Sometimes a reference might be transferred into EndNote with an incorrect Reference type, for example, a book might be transferred as a journal article.) You can also double-click a reference in the EndNote library to open an editing window. That window has a few more editing options including a change case icon (Aa -- Capitalized and uncapitalized A) to change case. That can be helpful when the reference has all caps in a field.

Checking for duplicate references

To check for duplicates in an EndNote library, click the EndNote References menu + Find Duplicates. The Find Duplicates window, if duplicates are found, opens and shows two duplicate records. (If there are more than two duplicates of the one reference, the statement at the top of the window shows that, for example, Comparing 1 and 2 of 3 duplicates.) You can scroll through and compare the two duplicates and copy data from one record to the other, if needed. The button at the top of each record (Keep This Record) will result in EndNote keeping that record and putting the other record in the Trash group.

At the top of each reference the record number for that record also is displayed. The record numbers are assigned to the references as they are added, in number order. If a record is deleted, the number is not reused in that library, so the lower number is the reference that was added earlier to the library.

If you close the Find Duplicates window, all duplicate records are shown highlighted (selected). This leaves one of each duplicate set unhighlighted, so deleting the selected records will leave one of each duplicate set. (This method is much faster however it does not let you compare records in case one record is more complete.)