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EndNote: PDFs and other file attachments

Using EndNote to manage your bibliographic information.

Adding PDFs and other files

In addition to storing references in your EndNote library, you can also attach different types of files to a reference - most usefully, the full text of articles in PDF format.

There are several ways of doing this:

  • Manually attach files (PDF, Word, Excel, image, etc) saved on your computer to a reference already in your library
  • Automatically import PDFs to your library and allow EndNote to create a reference from it, if you don't already have one
  • Use EndNote's Find Full Text feature to search for and attach PDFs to references already in your library.

Instructions and tips for each method can be found below.

Manually attach files

You can manually attach a file (from wherever you have saved it) to a reference in the EN library.

Select a reference in the EN library - from the top menu click on References - File Attachments - Attach File. You can attach a pdf or any other file type including Word doc, Excel spreadsheet, etc.

The file icon and name of the file will appear in the EN library reference in the File Attachments field. These files are stored with your EN library in the .data file that forms part of your EN library - see video on the importance of the .data file

Note: Use the Figure field to attach a graphic picture or file that you want to insert individually into a Word document using Cite While You Write. You can attach more than 1 file to any of the references (attach file) but you can only attach 1 figure to each reference (attach figure).

When selecting a file to attach manually to the EndNote reference note the check box along the bottom titled, "Copy this file to the default file attachments folder and create a relative link." This gives you the option to:

  • Tick (select) the check box to copy the original file and place a copy in the .data folder that is part of your EndNote library (default).

  • Untick (deselect) the check box to create a link to the original folder where the file is stored.

Rename PDFs option allows you to rename PDFs already attached to your references.
See also the section on PDF Handling under Managing References in this guide.


Importance of the .data folder

PDF Auto Import Folder

Importing PDFs

This feature allows you to import individual pdf files or folders of pdf files into your EndNote library. However the pdf must be in the correct format for EN to do this as it uses embedded DOI information.

  • From the File menu select Import File (or Folder)
  • Use the Choose button to locate the file/folder you want to import
  • Select the PDF file/folder and then click Open
  • Select PDF from the Import Option dropdown list
  • Select an option from the Duplicates dropdown list
  • Click to import the file into your EN library


N.B. This method will not always be successful - you may only import the pdf without any bibliographic information - the entry will look like this:

<Name of file.pdf>

When this happens you can delete this reference and search for it in a database to import it into your EN library or you can manually fill in the necessary information in the reference fields  - you can also copy and paste into the EN fields the information from the pdf which will be attached.

PDF Auto Import Folder

You can set up a folder to automatically import PDFs whenever EndNote is opened.
You simply put PDFs that you want included in your EndNote library into the folder and next time EndNote is opened the PDF is imported and EndNote tries to create a record for the article.
Here is a short video PDF Auto Import Folder to show you how to accomplish this.

Find full text PDFs

EndNote's find full text feature will search the Internet, download and attach full-text pdfs to selected references. You can optimise this feature by setting preferences specific to the University of Adelaide.

To do this:

  • Go to the top of your EndNote library and select Edit --> Preferences --> Find Full Text. (For Mac users, the Preferences option can be found under the EndNote menu to the left of the File menu
  • Make sure the following information is entered if you are trying to access the pdfs of articles provided by the University of Adelaide Library:

Open URL Path:

Authenticate with URL:

Select the references in your EN library that you want to attach pdfs to (make sure they are highlighted) - from the top menu select References - Find Full Text - Find Full Text. If you are working off campus you may be asked to authenticate - use your University of Adelaide login.

You can also use the shortcut icon on the menu bar to do this.

You may not be successful in finding pdfs for all your journal articles - the results are displayed in the left panel of the EN library

The references with found pdfs will have a paper clip symbol displayed next to those references in your EN library.

This method will not work for all PDFs - success rate will be better for recently published PDF files where the DOI is embedded in the document.

It will always import the PDF - one option is to then manually enter the required data in the EN library fields or copy and paste the information which will be found in the PDF preview window at the bottom of your EN library.