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EndNote: a beginner's guide

An introduction to EndNote Desktop for new users. Learn how to create a Library, add and modify references, use EndNote with Microsoft Word, add groups, add full-text PDFs, back-up your EndNote Library, and use EndNote Online (EndNote basic).

Mac Operating System Catalina and EndNote Desktop

Mac users - please read.

EndNote Desktop version X9.2 or earlier will not work with Mac OS Catalina. This operating system is designed for programs with 64-bit format.

EndNote version X9.3 is compatible with Catalina. X9.3 is also compatible with older Mac operating systems, including the one which precedes Catalina. However, the new EndNote library format that X9.3 is designed for (i.e. 64-bit format) is NOT compatible with older Mac EndNote versions, such as X9.2 or earlier. This means that when Mac users open their existing older version library in X9.3 or later for Mac, EndNote will convert their older version library to 64-bit format upon pressing Yes (see screenshot below). The original 32-bit EndNote library will remain unchanged should you need to use it with older versions of EndNote (X9.2 or earlier).

Upgrading to X9.3 (on Macs)

You should first download and install the latest EndNote X9.3 version update for Macs BEFORE you update to your personal device to Mac OS Catalina: Students: X9.3 update, Staff: X9.3 update.

If you have already upgraded to Catalina BEFORE updating your EndNote program to X9.3, you will be unable to open EndNote in the Applications folder as it will be disabled. Older EndNote versions will not run. To fix this, you will need to download and install (or re-install) version X9.3: Students: X9.3 update, Staff: X9.3 update.

What about Windows?

To restore cross-platform compatibility between Windows and Mac EndNote libraries, EndNote has scheduled a X9.3.1 update for EndNote Desktop (Windows) for release later in the year. In the meantime, until this update is ready, if you want to move or copy your EndNote X9.3 Mac library to a Windows computer using X9.2 or earlier, you will need to sync your Mac library with your EndNote Online account, then sync that to your Windows machine. The new Mac 64-bit (X9.3) EndNote library format is NOT currently compatible with Windows or older versions of EndNote.

Further information:

UPDATE: IT has informed the Library that they will be updating all RMIT Mac student computers to the latest EndNote Mac version (at present, it is X9.3) over the summer in time for Semester 1, 2020.
Last reviewed: 16 December 2019

EndNote Desktop on RMIT Windows student computers

Windows users - please read.

The EndNote Desktop X9 version currently installed on RMIT Library student Windows computers is: X9.0. The EndNote company has released a newer version: X9.2. (All Library student Macs already have X9.2.)

You are prompted to download and install this newer version when you open EndNote Desktop X9. Alternatively, using EndNote's toolbar, you can go to Help > Check for Updates in Windows, or EndNote X9 > Check for Updates on Macs:

  • RMIT academic staff: you can install the new version to your own personal device or RMIT work computer if you have local admin rights. If you do not have these rights, you can submit a request with RMIT's IT department and ask to be given admin rights.
  • RMIT students: you can only install the new version to your own personal device. If you are a Masters by Research or PhD student, you can install the new version to your RMIT-owned laptop or computer if you have admin rights. If you do not have these rights, please contact RMIT's IT department and ask them to download and install it for you.

The newer updated version (X9.2) makes important fixes to bugs or faults within versions X9.0 and X9.1. If you still have X9.0, certain EndNote functions do not work as they should, and it also impacts on the way that EndNote-inserted citations behave in a Microsoft Word document. Although X9.1 is an improvement to X9.0, the former still has other bugs.

UPDATE: IT has informed the Library that they will be updating all RMIT Windows student computers to the latest EndNote Windows version (at present, it is X9.2 but EndNote will release X9.3 later in the year) over the summer in time for Semester 1, 2020.


Last reviewed: 16 December 2019

What is EndNote Desktop?

EndNote Desktop is a software program that:

  • Creates, stores and manages your references/citations.
  • Saves your selected references/citations from online resources (e.g. LibrarySearch, library databases and Google Scholar) to export them into your EndNote Desktop library.
  • Inserts references/citations from your EndNote Desktop library into your Microsoft Word document, and automatically creates a bibliography, so you do not have to manually do so yourself. Bibliographies are created in your chosen referencing style (e.g. APA 7th ed., RMIT Harvard, IEEE, Vancouver, AGLC4, Chicago, etc.).

Video: What's New in EndNote X9?

Video produced and kindly shared by EndNote Training.


EndNote can display references in your preferred referencing style  (e.g. APA 7th ed., RMIT Harvard, IEEE, Vancouver, AGLC4, Chicago, etc.).

Before you use EndNote:

You need to know which referencing style your School, supervisor or lecturer wants you to use, and then become familiar with that style by using the resources below.

Learn how to reference: