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EndNote desktop: self-paced learning

New "Library"

The very first time you start EndNote, you will get a welcome screen. You can close this.

Closing the welcome screen will give you a blank grey window. Don't panic! This is normal.

From the File menu, select New. Give your file a name and save it.

This will give you a new empty database that EndNote calls a "library".

Choose a location on your hard disk that you are unlikely to change (e.g. in the Documents folder, possibly in a subfolder e.g. create a subfolder for Research).

Do NOT use folders synced or proxied with online systems (e.g. do NOT use Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, iCloud, etc, as the working folder for your EndNote library).

(The default name of "My EndNote Library" is fine, but this is the default name for any new library, so renaming it to something like MyResearch or MyThesis is both more unique and decreases the chances of it being overwritten.)

screenshot showing welcome screen and indicating close button


There are 5 main areas that you will be working with:

screenshot of EndNote interface with appropriate areas numbered


  1. The menu. Some features are only available through the menu.
  2. The tool bar. Shortcuts for the most commonly used features. Not everyone will use the same common features.
  3. The reference list area. As you add new references, you will see this area fill with a list of references.
  4. The folders (and groups) panel. Contains your permanent folders and groups. EndNote will also create temporary folders here as appropriate. For example, the results of a duplicate reference search, or the most recently imported references from a database.
  5. The preview panels.
    • previews for record fields
    • preview of the reference list entry
    • preview of attached files (in most cases, PDF documents)