Stuff that Sh*ts me with Endnote

Ok, so I love bibliographic management software (if you aren’t using this and you are doing a uni degree then you

My uni is mostly into Endnote, they offer free workshops and free upgrades to the software, and I’ve had a pretty good relationship with my Endnote library over the years. 

But there is seriously some stuff that sh*ts me with Endnote. 

Here is my list of most annoying features (hello Endnote if you are thinking of an upgrade then you better seriously get into gear to compete with products like Mendeley)

the auto-filing of each attached PDF in its own obscurely numbered folder if you are using relative path. This makes it  tricky if you want to link to the PDF from programs like Scrivener (it is possible to get around this if you name your PDF’s in a consistent format and use the search function) 

– that when you’ve got a PDF open via Endnote that you can’t edit the meta-data. This is crazy- especially when you’ve found an article with no DOI and you’ve got to manually type in all the bits (Title, Author, Abstract) – I just want to copy/paste from the full size PDF but the fields are not editable! grrrr 😡 (also, what if you want to use the research notes section whilst reading the PDF- you can’t add text here. You’ve got to keep closing the PDF- Endnote you seriously need to remedy this)

– Its inability to pull meta-data from pdf’s that don’t have a DOI.  Have you ever tried to import a PDF to Endnote? It can do it but when it can’t find a DOI (digital object identifier) then it just (lazily) adds these pointy brackers < > around the pdf title and dumps it all into the Title Field (e.g. <methods_vs_methdologies.pdf>). Mendeley very nicely attempts to extract the meta-data from any PDF, puts it in the fields it thinks might be correct, then asks you to check it. 

– Its clunky grey interface. I was shocked when I updated to Endnote X6- felt like I’d been teleported back to the 1990s- grey backgrounds, soft blue highlights…ok, so its not really a functionality issue, but it does make a difference if you are looking at this for a large part of your day. Its boring, its old-school and whilst being hipster is back in- this interface is not. 


There are some things I also really appreciate about the updated Endnote X6 (find full text anyone?)- but that is another post. 

Feel free to share what sh*ts you with Endnote in the comments section. 

Update: Endnote X7 has just been released. I’ll play with it and let you know if there are improvements!


About Sarina Kilham

I'm a Doctoral Researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney. Trained as a social scientist and with a Masters in Sustainable Agriculture, I'm interested in farmer's experiences of growing feedstock for biodiesel production. My research has focused on biodiesel production in Brazil and Timor-Leste. Also on Twitter @sarinakilham and blogging at
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2 Responses to Stuff that Sh*ts me with Endnote

  1. Courtney says:

    I. Heart. Zotero.

    Most of my department is hardcore Endnote but I am working to convert them. I understand it does have some drawbacks, but so far it’s working for me. It’s much more user-friendly than Endnote which you practically have to take a course in to use properly. Haha.

    I’m going to stick to Zotero as long as I possibly can. Thankfully my advisor is allowing me to convert her so it’s working great right now. 🙂

  2. I also think zotero is wonderful. I made the switch from EndNote when it started playing musical chairs with my references, switching the correct citations with others from my library that it felt like at random and with no warning!

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