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Using EndNote X4 for Mac

One of the most popular Citation Management software applications among academics is the application EndNote. EndNote has a long history is published by a reputable company, and has some pretty cool features. I use it (version X4) primarily because it is the only citation software1 which integrates natively with the word processor Pages, by Apple, Inc. The software boasts a bit of flexibility and quite a few useful features. Some of the really useful features I use are below.

  • Customizing the output style of the bibliographies.2
  • Looking for PDF files.
  • Attaching additional meta-data to each citation. (Like ISO 639-3 Language Codes)
  • Adding additional types of resources like Rutgers Optimality Archive Documents with an ROA number.
  • Smart Groups of files based on desired criteria.
  • Integration with Apple’s word processor Pages.
  • Research Notes section in the citation’s file for creating an annotated bibliography.
  • Copy our all the selected works, so that they can be pasted as a bibliography in another document.
  • XML Output of Citation Data

The XML Support of Endnote has not been hailed as the greatest implementation of XML but there are tools out there to work with it.

However, regardless of how many good features I find and use in Endnote there are several things about it which irk me to no end. This is sort of a laundry list of these problematic areas.

  1. Can not sort by resource type: For instance if I wanted to sort or create a smart list of all my Book references, or just Journal Articles. This can be done, one just has to create a smart list and then set Reference Type to Contains: “Book Section”. There is not a drop down list of reference types invoked by the user.

  2. Can not sort by custom field: I think you can do this in the interface. Though it was not obvious on how to do it.

    Endnote Display Fields

    Endnote Display Fields. Credit: Hugh Paterson III

  3. Can not view all the custom fields for a resource type across all resources. This seems to be limited to eight fileds in the sorting viewer at a time.

  4. Can not view all entries without content in a specified field. This would be especially nice to create a smart list for this.

  5. No exports of PDFs or exports of PDFs with .ris files.

  6. There is no keyboard short-cut to bring up the Import function (or Export) under File Menu

  7. Does not rename PDFs based on metadata of the resource. This is possible with Papers and Mendeley. The user has the option to rename the file based on things like Author, Date of publication, etc.

  8. Can not create a smart list based on a constant in the Issue data part. I have Volume and Issue Data. Some of the citation data pulled in for some items has the issue set as 02, 03, etc. I want to be able to find all the issues which start with a zero so I can remove the zeros. Most stylesheets do not remove the zeros and also do not allow for them.

    Items are not selectable based on Issue Data

    Items are not selectable based on Issue Data. Credit: Hugh Paterson III

  9. Can not export PDFs with embedded metadata in the PDF.

  10. Can not open the folder which contains a PDF included in an Endnote Library.

Endnote does not have a way to open the containing folder of a PDF

Endnote does not have a way to open the containing folder of a PDF. Credit: Hugh Paterson III

Endnote does not have a way to open the containing folder of an included PDF

Endnote does not have a way to open the containing folder of an included PDF. Credit: Hugh Paterson III

  1. Modifying Resource type does not accept |Language| Subject Language|

  2. There is no guide in any of Endnote’s documentation for how to create an export style sheet. This is in the Help Menus I was expecting it on the producers website or in a book.

  3. When editing an entry’s meta-data i.e. the author, or the title of a work, pressing TAB does not move the cursor to the next field. At least some times it does not continue to TAB. If I do a new entry as a Journal article, then it will tab till the issue field, but not beyond. It gets stuck.

  4. There is no LAN collaboration or sharing feature for a local network solution.

  5. There is no Cloud based collaborative solution.

  6. There is no way to create a smart group based off of a subset of items in a normal group. i.e. I want to create a smart group of all the references with a PDF attached but I only want it to pull from the items in a particular group (or set of groups).

Endnote has no option for \'part of group\' filter

Endnote has no option for 'part of group' filter. Credit: Hugh Paterson III

  1. There is no PDF Preview within the application. The existing Preview is for seeing the current citation in the selected citation style. (Preview of the output.) It would be helpful if there was also a preview pane for viewing the PDF or the attached file.
No PDF Preview internal to Endnote

No PDF Preview internal to Endnote. Credit: Hugh Paterson III


  1. There are other citation management software for OS X which claims integration with Apple’s Pages but none of these solutions are endorsed or supported by Apple. Some of the other applications which claim integration with Pages are: 1) Sente, 2) Bookends, and 3) Papers - This is according to Wikipedia, but I own and use Papers 1.9.7 and have not seen how to integrate it with Pages. (However, Papers2, released March 8th, 2011 does say that it supports citation integration with Pages.). ↩︎

  2. There are several Linguistics Journals with style sheets on EndNote’s website. Among them are: Linguistic Inquiry, Journal of the International Phonetic Association, Phonology, Lingua, Journal of Phonetics, and Language. Additionally there is a version of the Unified Linguistics Style Sheet available for Endnote. This is available from Manchester UK. https://web.archive.org/web/20120829004722/http://www.llc.manchester.ac.uk/intranet/ug/useful-links/computing-resources/wordprocessing/. [.ens file] ↩︎

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Hugh Paterson III
Hugh Paterson III
Creative

My research interests include typological patterns in articulatory phonetics; User Experience design in language tools; and graph theory applied to language and linguistics.

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