Skip to Main Content

EndNote Desktop: Overview

Features and functions of EndNote Desktop citation management software for managing and organizing references, and creating citations in Word.

What is EndNote Desktop?


EndNote Desktop is a full-featured citation management system that works with Windows or Mac computers. The software must be purchased and installed by the user. EndNote Desktop helps you manage and organize your references, attach and annotate PDFs and other files, share your references, and insert and format citations in word processing software, such as Microsoft Word.  To obtain a 30-day free trial or to purchase EndNote Desktop, go to:

Note: Screenshots in this library guide are mostly derived from a Windows version of EndNote Desktop X8.  A newer but similar version, EndNote Desktop X9, is now available from the EndNote website.  Most functions described here remain the same between the two versions.

Mac Users:  Update to EndNote X9.3.1 before upgrading to MacOS Catalina.  Older versions of EndNote Desktop will not be compatible with MacOS Catalina.  For more information:

EndNote Desktop Features

EndNote Desktop X8, My Library panes

Search and collect reference information

► Organize references in groups

► Import/attach PDFs

► Annotate PDFs

► Search/filter database references and content

► Create new records with 50 predefined reference types

► Insert citations and create bibliographies – thousands of journal citation styles (Cite While You Write plugin for word processors)

► Synchronize references with EndNote Basic (web version)

► Share library with other desktops with same software version installed

► Backup or save reference file with Compressed Library function

Startup & Setting Preferences for UW Libraries

Once your EndNote Desktop software is installed, go to the File menu, "New" create and open a new library.  By default, the file is named "My EndNote Library.enl" but it can be renamed.  Save the new library to a destination on your hard drive.  (Note: Only one EndNote Desktop Library can be synced with EndNote Basic; therefore, it may be best to organize references into groups-- i.e., folders--rather than into separate libraries.)


Some functions, including "Find Full Text" and "Connections" will require set-up to work with the University of Wyoming Libraries databases.

***Find Full Text settings in EndNote Preferences

Settings for "Find Full Text"

Navigate to the Edit menu, Preferences, Find Full Text. Make sure all the database boxes are checked. Copy and paste the OpenURL for UW Libraries:

Leave the "Authenticate with" URL blank.

Click 'OK" when finished.


EndNote Online Search, Database Options for Connections

Connections allow you to search a database or library catalog and download citations from within EndNote, without navigating to the library website.

Connections to databases and catalogs can be downloaded from the EndNote website:  Save the files to the Connections folder under the main EndNote folder.

Make sure any databases (and vendor/interface, if specified) you select are available from the UW Libraries, such as Academic Search Premier.  Many of the UW Libraries subscription article databases will not be available as Connections, and therefore require searches to be started from within the library database.

To set access to Connections: Go to the Edit menu (for Windows), Connection Files, Open Connection Manager. Select the database (such as Academic Search Premier) that you want to set. Choose Edit, then Connection Setting. Uncheck the boxes for UserID and Password.

Connection Manager for database settings in EndNote


Ask a Librarian

Profile Photo
Ask a Librarian
Coe Library Help Desk: 307-766-3190

EndNote Desktop Training