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FAQ: Can I use my existing bibliography with Endnote?

Unfortunately if you have already created a bibliography using a word-processing program such as MS Word, it is not easy to use it with Endnote. In general a word-processed document will not have enough clues to enable Endnote to interpret the different parts of each reference. This is unlike references which are available for downloading from the Internet for importing into EndNote which are normally marked up with tags to enable them to be interpreted (e.g. AU- before author TI- before title etc).

However you may be able to use your word-processing program to add tags which will make it possible for EndNote to identify the parts of each reference. For example, a reference which ran: Smith, John, Bibliographic Sorting, (Cambridge, CUP: 2004) might be tagged:

AU- Smith, John 
TI- Bibliographic Sorting 
PL- Cambridge 
YW- 2004

You would then need to create an EndNote filter tying the tags AU- etc to the correct fields.

If you have been using the in-built bibliography function found in Word 2007 and later, you may be able to convert these references using the "Convert Citations and Bibliography" command which you can find on the EndNote tab in Word. If you do this, you should also run the "Export to EndNote" command (also on the EndNote tab) to export the corresponding references into your main EndNote library

Always make backups before running these commands in case something should go wrong and corrupt the files.

Note that EndNote is primarily intended for creating working databases of references which can then be used to produce journal articles together with a bibliography. If, for example, you are working on a book-length scholarly bibliography of the works of Montesquieu and have completed most of it, EndNote is not an appropriate tool for the final polishing.

The Computing Service runs a course on basic use of EndNote each term (see Endnote for Bibliographies courses). If you need further help, or if you can't attend the course and would like a copy of the course workbook, email 


Last updated: June 2014