Empty library when cooperating

If you cooperate with other researchers from outside Erasmus MC or have installed EndNote locally on your home device you might find that libraries that you receive as .enlx files in your Erasmus MC environment are empty.

This is caused by a recent update of EndNote (version X9.3.2 to X9.3.3). Forced by changes in the newest Mac IOS, EndNote switched to a 64-bits application. A file created or saved in a 64-bits application cannot be opened in a 32-bits environment and will appear empty. After an update all existing EndNote libraries that are opened will be converted into a 64-bit file with –converted behind the file name, while the old 32-bits libraries still continue to exist. It is because of this that we have not yet updated to the newest EndNote version.

A new version of EndNote will become available during Spring 2021: EndNote 20 (X9 is actually version 19). This will include an important update of features and a major interface change, which will ask for more extensive guidance and documentation from the Medical Library. It is then that  we will switch to a 64-bits version.

If, in the meantime, you receive an EndNote file from someone with EndNote X9.3.3, ask them to export the contents of their library as a .ris file. Please follow the steps below. When you have received the .ris file, you can import them in your own 32-bit EndNote library.

Exporting a .ris file from the 64-bits EndNote installation

Select the references you want to export, and go to File > Export.
Manually change the extension in the file name field from .txt to .ris (you don’t have to change the “Save as” drop-down menu).
In the Output Style drop-down menu select RefMan (RIS) Export. If you don’t see this option in the list, click on “Select another style…” and select that option from that list first.
Now click Save and send the file to the desired recipient with a 32-bits version.

Opening a .ris file on a 32-bits EndNote installation

First open an existing library or create a new library in which you want to import the references sent to you.
Now open the .ris file directly from your e-mail or from Windows Explorer. The contents will be imported automatically in your current EndNote file.

For questions, contact the Medical Library: info.mb@erasmusmc.nl

How to install EndNote on my own computer?

You can install EndNote on your own computer by downloading it from the Erasmus MC intranet.

Go to this link on the Service Portal and click on the appropriate link to download either the Windows or the Mac-version of the software.

Tips for using EndNote for (Systematic) Reviews


The EndNote program can do much more than just compile a bibliography for an article. Especially with systematic reviews it can be very useful to do this in EndNote.

You can easily use EndNote to assess articles for inclusion in a (Systematic) Review. You create groups for this and drag the articles from the Unfiled folder to the relevant group.

The employees of the Medical Library of the Erasmus MC have written an article about this in JMLA. Herein the procedure is explained step by step:  Reviewing retrieved references for inclusion in systematic reviews using EndNote

What is the best way to store my files (e.g. to use them at home and at work)?

One file for all articles

It is most convenient to keep one large file for all articles that you publish. This will contain all references that you have used and PDFs that you have read. This way you never have to search long for a reference.

Two parts: *.enl and *.data

An EndNote file always consists of two parts, a file * .enl and a folder * .data. The two should always stay together and keep the same name. If you change the name of one, you must also change the other.

No File > Save

EndNote does not have File > Save, only File > Save a Copy. EndNote immediately saves all changes. Only use File > Save a Copy to actually make a copy, for example as a backup.

Save to external hard disk or USB-stick

If you want to work with the same EndNote file at home and at work, it is useful to save it on a portable hard disk or on a USB stick.