Tag Archives: Endnote

What to do when Endnote adds initials to citations


The name is 5995, Cow 5995, by Wesley de Ridder, Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

When you are citing literature in Endnote using an author-date system, you will sometimes find that Endnote adds author initials to your citations. So instead of
      (Smith and Weston, 2004),
it says
      (R. A. Smith and Weston, 2004).
This is so annoying! But its really easy to fix once you realise why Endnote has done it.

Endnote does this when you have two authors with the same surname, so that readers can tell which Smith you re talking about. For example, if somewhere else in your document you have cited L. L. Smith and Jones, 1999, then adding the initials to both is necessary. Unfortunately in those cases you just have to live with it.

But what about when its the same Smith, but Endnote still adds the initials?  You will often find you are citing more than one of the same author’s papers so it can be a common problem. The issue is that Endnote doesn’t know its the same Smith, because you have slightly different entries for the author’s names.

So, for example, if one reference is listed as authored by
       Ronald A. Smith
and another is listed as authored by
 –      R. A. Smith
then Endnote thinks these are different people.

To fix this what you need to do is look at your references in Endnote and make the authors all the same. (Well only if they really are the same people!) And I mean exactly the same. Full stops make a difference to Endnote. I also found that spaces do to and these can be tricky if there is a space at the end of the name as you can’t see it.

I usually don’t worry if names are slightly different as I enter them in Endnote. I wait until I see a problem in the document I am writing, because I have far more references in Endnote than I would ever use in one document.

Customising Endnote citations

Sometimes you need the Endnote citation to look different to what comes up automatically. I have already discussed (in this previous post) how to change (Smith, 2001) to Smith (2001) so that you can put the author’s name in a sentence like this:
Smith (2001) found that 6 of 8 dogs treated with…..”

But what if you want to write a sentence like this?
There have been many published reviews of this issue (for example Smith, 2001).”

If you just insert the citation as you normally would you get this, which has too many brackets.


So instead you can format the Endnote citation to have a prefix. Start by inserting the citation the regular way, without putting it in brackets or writing “for example”. Then select the citation and, on the Endnote ribbon, go to Citations > Edit and Manage Citation(s).


The Edit and Manage Citations pane will open. Type “for example ” in the prefix section. Don’t forget the space after “example”. Then press ok.


Now your citation will be changed to look like this (except not purple!).


You can use the same text to add any words before or after the citation that will appear within the brackets along with the reference. Have a play and you will see how easy it is to get it just right.

Adding new endnote styles

Endnote comes preloaded with a lot of output styles. These are the rules that dictate how your citations and reference list looks. For example whether the citations are numbered or given by author and date, whether the reference list uses punctuation for the author initials, whether the article title is in capitals or bolded, whether the journal title is in italics and so on. One of the fantastic things about Endnote is the way it can change all of this for you when you change to a different output style.

Sometimes you may want to use an output style that does not come standard. For example the output styles for some veterinary journals do not come already loaded in Endnote. Or your lecturer may want you to use a particular one you haven’t got. But its easy to add them. There are really just two steps.

Firstly you need to find the output style. If you put the name of the journal into Google and add Endnote output style to the search terms you will likely go straight to it as the first search result. Alternatively Endnote have a search page at this link http://endnote.com/downloads/styles. Here you can fill in the name of the style you want or search based on other criteria.


Once you have located your style you simply downloaded it to a convenient place (eg your desktop). Then

  1. Double click the style file that you just downloaded and it should open in Endnote.
  2. Within Endnote go to File Menu > Save As
  3. Replace the word copy with your style’s name and click Save
  4. Click on File Menu and choose Close Style.


Formatting in-text citations in Endnote


When you are writing it is sometimes useful to refer to the authors of a paper in the sentence, rather than just including the citation at the end of the sentence. This means you can use more active language rather than the passive voice, and it can make your writing clearer and more concise.

For example you may want to say that
“Smith (2001) found that 6 of 8 dogs treated with…..”

When you insert the reference though with Endnote it will first appear as
“(Smith, 2001) found that 6 of 8 dogs treated with…..”
which is not correctly formatted.

To change the formatting of the citation, select it by clicking on it and then go to Edit and Manage Citation(s) on the Endnote ribbon.

Under Formatting choose Display as: Author (Year) from the drop down menu and then select OK.


Your reference will now be correctly formatted.

Some basics of the display in Endnote

This tutorial from Cushing/Whitney Medical Library at Yale gives some really basic advice about controlling what you see in the Endnote display. Although filmed using an older version of Endnote, the tips still apply to current versions.



Okay so since I wrote this post Yale have rearranged their website. The link i first gave stopped working. The one above is now corrected but is hanging because of too many redirects. Hopefully they get it sorted soon.

This page has the list of presentations and some of the other links might work better: http://guides.library.yale.edu/content.php?pid=13249&sid=88836

An automatic Endnote group you might not have known about.

A really nice feature of Endnote that you might not have noticed is that it provides an automatic group of the references you have cited in a document.. The group is labelled with the document name and the group appears at the top of the left hand pane.


To make the group appear, you need to update the library in the document on the Endnote ribbon using the Update Citations and Bibliography button.


Using this group is a really easy way to look at the references you are citing, and open the pdfs from it.

It’s also perfect for going through the references you have actually used in a document and fixing up formatting issues so that they are correct in your reference list. Instead of searching for and finding each one separately you can just advance through the list in Endnote.

I also use this feature to collect groups of references when I am drafting documents. I find it easier that forming Endnote groups because I can include more information about the reference within the word document. For example, I can list the search terms I used to find these references or information on which ones I still need to read, or get hold of. I can make notes about each reference in the word document as I look at it.


Every time I open the document, Endnote lists the group of references in it for me, labelled with the name of the document. And not just one document. Endnote forms a group for all the documents you have open. Really helpful! Just remember that you might have to Update Citations and Bibliography to see each one.

The Endnote app

Endnote app

I really love the Endnote Ipad app. It makes me so mobile with my research which is really important as a working mother. Now I have everything I need without carrying around piles of paper. Its perfect for working from the car while waiting for children at ballet or soccer, its perfect for reading while travelling, its perfect for meetings when I need to point people to a particular reference.

Basically I have Endnote on my computer with all my references in it linked as pdfs. This syncs to the cloud with Endnote sync. The Endnote app syncs with the cloud too, which means I can access my references, including the pdfs from my ipad. You can predownload the pdfs you want to read so you can access them even when you are not connected to the internet (like on a plane).

Like all apps it does not have all the features of the full programme, but it does have a good search function, does allow you to see groups you have created and does allow you to annotate documents. But used as an extension of the computer version, rather than a replacement, its perfect.

Check it out here https://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/endnote-for-ipad/id593994211?mt=8

Using Endnote

If you are doing any academic writing you will need to acknowledge your sources. Endnote is a reference management tool which helps you to store references, find them, and automatically create citations and reference lists that are correctly formatted. You can change the reference formatting at the touch of a button.

For example you may prefer to write using an author-date style of citation. This style includes the names of the authors you are citing in brackets within the text. I recommend you use this method when writing because it allows you to become more familiar with who is who in the world in which you are writing. You will start to recognise key works by their authors names. But the journal you are writing for may require you to use a numbered citation formatting. Endnote can switch between these easily. It will reorganise the reference list appropriately switching it from alphabetical order to the order citations appear all by itself.

Endnote allows you to store references, search the full text and annotate them. No more lost references in the piles on the study floor. You can also download citations ad the full text of references directly from the library databases while searching.

You will save uncountable hours of work if you use Endnote right from the start, when you first start reading for writing. The following introduction to Endnote will help you get around the software and start using it.