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EndNote for researchers: Attaching PDFs


Full-text PDFs are not automatically included when exporting references into EndNote from a database.

You will have to add the full-text file manually, as described below.

Attach a PDF file to a reference in EndNote

1. Obtain your PDF.   Download or save a PDF file to a location where you can find it easily. This will be a temporary location, so somewhere like the Desktop is fine.

2. Drag the file icon onto the appropriate reference. Arrange your windows so you can see both EndNote and the downloaded PDF file. Drag the PDF onto the relevant record in the EndNote reference list.


A paper clip symbol next to the reference list title indicates that a file is attached to that record.

The PDF Viewer tab will show the filename of the PDF you have attached.  

You can now delete the original downloaded file: EndNote has created a copy of the PDF file within the associated .Data folder of your EndNote library.   

Alternatively, select the relevant record, then click ReferencesFile AttachmentsAttach file ...

If you use this method, when choosing the downloaded PDF file, leave selected the option

Copy this file to the default file attachment folder and create a relative link.


Viewing the full-text document

You can read the PDF in the preview and quick edit area next to the list of items in your library.

To view the PDF on the entire screen, click on the Open PDF icon.

This opens the PDF and can be reversed using the Close PDF icon.

This area also gives you some basic tools for adding highlighting and sticky notes to the full-text PDF.

To highlight text in the PDF,  select the text you wish to highlight, then click the Highlight Text tool. To add a sticky note, select the text you wish to annotate, then click the Sticky Note tool. Double click the inserted icon to edit or read the sticky note.


PDF copyright and licencing issues

To ensure you comply with copyright law and database license requirements the library recommends the following:

  • always adhere to copyright limits of ‘fair dealing’ when adding pdfs to your Endnote library.
  • if you share your library with others, share just the references; do not include the full text attachments
  • when you leave Federation University you must delete all full text licenced content from your EndNote Library