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EndNote 20 - Creating a Library

First time users:

  1. Open EndNote
  2. Tick the box that says 'Create a new library'
  3. Save the new library in a location of your choice

(do not save EndNote libraries in cloud storage - see below)

Generally it is recommended that you do not have more
than one library but rather use groups instead
- see the EndNote 20 Groups tutorial

To create a new library if you already have one open in EndNote:

  1. File > New 
  • EndNote libraries end with the file extension .enl i.e. Jo Soap EndNote Library.enl
  •  A folder named the same as your library and ends in .DATA will be created at the same time in the same folder.  i.e. Jo Soap EndNote Library.DATA The .DATA folder will contain any PDFs you download to your EndNote library.

It is important to keep the .enl file and the .DATA folder together.

To open your library: File > Open Library

EndNote 20 - Backing up your library

Save a copy imageIt is important to backup your library regularly in case anything goes wrong.
There are two ways to save a backup copy of your library



1. The first method of backing up EndNote library is to Save a Copy of your library.

  • Select File > Save a Copy
  • In the Save dialog box, the file name should have the word Copy at the end
    (e.g. My EndNote Library Copy.enl)


2. Alternatively you can create a compressed version (smaller file Compress library options imagesize) of your library that also contains your Data folder

  • Select File > Compressed Library (.enlx)

Choose from the following options:

  • Create your EndNote library (or Create & Email your EndNote library)
  • With File Attachments
  • All References in Library
  • Click Next
  • Name the file (the extension is .enlx), then click Save

The Care and Feeding of Healthy EndNote Libraries

There are some important things you should remember when creating and saving libraries.

  1. DO NOT save libraries to network drives. This can lead to corruption and performance issues. Libraries should only be saved to physical storage areas, such as your hard drive, USB or external drive.
  2. DO NOT save libraries to cloud or shared services such as OneDrive, Google Drive, DropBox, iCloud etc. 
    Saving files to shared or cloud services will eventually result in your library being corrupted because of the way the cloud services synchronize files over the Internet.
    It can also cause EndNote and/or Word to crash.
  3. You should only have one library. This is important for a number of reasons, including:
    • Word documents should only be linked to one library. If you use multiple libraries, it is easy to open the wrong one and this can corrupt your document.
    • You can only sync one library with an EndNote Online account.
  4. Keep your .enl file and .DATA folder together.
    EndNote libraries are made up of two parts: the .enl file (your library) and the .data folder (library information and stored PDFs). These two parts must be kept together in the same folder as both are needed for the library to work correctly.

EndNote 20 - Create a Library

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