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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) on your personal device

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: X9.3.3 EndNote update, Staff: X9.3.3 EndNote 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 update (see above two links).

  • RMIT Library student Macs on campus: IT has already updated these to X9.3.3.


What about Windows?

To restore cross-platform compatibility between Windows and Mac EndNote libraries, EndNote has released a X9.3.3 update for EndNote Desktop (Windows). You can download this version update to your personal device: Students: X9.3.3 EndNote updateStaff: X9.3.3 EndNote update.
  • RMIT Library student Windows computers (on campus): IT is currently in the process of updating RMIT Windows student computers to EndNote X9.3.3.
  • myDesktop: IT has already updated EndNote to X9.3.3.
  • Software Centre (on RMIT staff Windows computers):  IT has already updated EndNote to X9.3.3.
Once IT has completed this, the information here will be updated.

Further information:

Last reviewed: 30 November 2020

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: