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Guidance on using EndNote software at the University of Adelaide

PDFs and other file attachments

You can manually attach a file stored on your computer to a reference in your EndNote library.

Select a reference in the EndNote library.  From the top menu click on References > File Attachments > Attach File (or Ctrl + Alt + A). You can attach a PDF or any other file type including a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, or an image.

Alternatively you can double click on a reference in the EndNote library and add the attachment in the citation Summary pane.

Screenshot showing the navigation pane for adding a file attachment in EndNote.

The file icon and name of the file will appear in the EndNote library reference in the File Attachments field. These files are stored with your EndNote library in the .data file that forms part of your EndNote library.

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.

EndNote 20 file attachments (0:46)

EndNote's find full text feature will search the Internet, download and attach full-text PDFs to selected references.

You can optimise the Find Full Text feature by setting preferences specific to the University of Adelaide. This may be necessary if you are using EndNote on a non-University computer (e.g. your own desktop or laptop).

To do this:

  1. From the Edit menu, select Preferences and select Find Full Text from the list of options. For Mac users, the Preferences option can be found under the EndNote menu to the left of the File menu
  2. 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:

EndNote screenshot showing find full text preferences

3. You will also need to select the URLs & Links option at the bottom of the EndNote Preferences list and ensure the ISI Base URL matches the link below:


EndNote screenshot of EndNote preferences, URLS and links.

Video: EndNote 20 Find Full Text Preferences (0:43)

EndNote can search for, download and attach full-text PDFs to references, either individually or in groups.

Select references in your Library, then select from the main menu References > Find Full Text (you will need to Authenticate with your University ID number and password to proceed).

EndNote may not be successful in locating a PDF for all references - the success rate will be better for recently published PDF files where the DOI is embedded in the document.  The results are displayed in the navigation panel on the left of the EndNote library.

Screenshot showing find full text search results in EndNote.

The references with found PDFs will have a paper clip symbol displayed next to those citations in your EndNote library.

Screenshot of an EndNote citation with the paperclip icon showing that a full text file has been found for this article.

The videos below demonstrate how to run a find full-text search for a group of articles using Windows and macOS.

EndNote 20 (Windows) Find Full Text (1:20)


How to use EndNote 20 in seven minutes: macOS
"How to use Find Full Text to download PDFs" (0:29)

This video will start and finish in the correct place the first time you watch it. To watch again, you will need to refresh your browser.

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 EndNote to do this as it uses embedded D.O.I. 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 drop-down list.
  • Select an option from the Duplicates drop-down list.
  • Click Import.

Screenshot of import PDF dialogue box in EndNote.

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.