EndNote Basic Quick Start Guide

EndNote basic logo

Endnote Basic is a free web-based system for organizing articles and creating bibliographies. This Web-based tool provides users with 2GB of online storage for their references and the ability to instantly format bibliographies in their word processor.  These instructions are for EndNote Basic. For those that have purchased EndNote - please see this EndNote guide created by Georgia State University. It is possible to sync citations between EndNote and EndNote Basic.

Creating an account

To use EndNote Basic you must sign up for an account. If you have a Web of Science account, that account will also work for EndNote Basic.

EndNote Sign up screen

Once you have established an account you will use the myendnoteweb.com page to access your library. Make sure to bookmark this page in your browser for easy access.

Adding citations to EndNote Basic

Importing citations from databases

You can save citations from many of the McMaster Libraries databases and import them into your EndNote Basic library using a simple two-step process.

While in your database, you need to export the selected citations or save the information from the database in either "EndNote" or "RIS" format. Remember what database you search.

Once you have saved the data open EndNote Basic and click on the "Collect" tab.

EndNote Import References screen

To import your file:

  1. Go to the Collect tab and click the Import References link.
  2. Click the Choose File button. This will open a window for you to find and select the import file.
  3. Select the database you exported the records from using the Import Option drop-down menu. If the database you used isn't in the list, then select "RefMan RIS" from the menu.
  4. Optionally, from the To: drop-down menu, select the group (or folder) into which you want to save the references.
  5. Click the Import button.

The references imported from the selected file are now saved to the folder you selected, or into your "Unfiled" folder.

FireFox Add-on

EndNote provides a Firefox browser add-on that allows you to capture information about the webpage you're looking at. This works best when you're reading an abstract of a journal article or a news website.

The Add-on is available in EndNote Basic under the Downloads tab.

EndNote basic Downloads screen

Once the add-on has been installed, you should see a new toolbar below the standard Firefox address bar:

Firefox toolbar for Endnote

The "EndNote" button takes you to the EndNote website; the "Capture" button lets you add citation information from the page that you're on to your EndNote Basic account. The "Capture" button describes the page you're on, not any citations that are on the page, so it doesn't work with a list of articles in a database.

The first time you use the "Capture" button, Firefox will ask you to give your EndNote Basic username and password.

Once you've successfully logged in to EndNote Basic, the "Capture" window will appear with information about the articles on the current page:

Endnote Capture Window

Make sure that the information in the "Capture" window is correct and complete, so that EndNote will be able to format your bibliography correctly later.

Manually add citations

  1. Go to the Collect tab and select New Reference
  2. Change the reference type (e.g., book, journal article, etc.) by selecting the appropriate type from the Reference Type drop-down list box. The screen will redraw when the reference type changes displaying appropriate fields for that reference type
  3. Enter the details of the reference into the appropriate bibliographic fields (i.e., author, title, year, etc.).  
  4. Choose the folder where the reference will be saved from the Groups drop-down list box.
  5. Click the Save button. 

Creating Bibliographies with EndNote Basic

Creating bibliographies in MS Word

EndNote Basic can automatically create bibliographies and format citations in documents, assignments, manuscripts, and more in a variety of citation styles.

Before you can do this, you have to install EndNote Basic's plug-in for Microsoft Word. This plug-in enables EndNote Basic to create and automatically update your bibliography and citations in your Word document. Install the "Cite while you write" plug-in from the Downloads tab within EndNote Basic:

Endnote Plugin Download Screen

Once you've installed the Word plug-in, it will appear as a new toolbar:

EndNote plugin for MS Word

The first time you use the Cite While You Write toolbar, click on the "Tools" menu in the toolbar and select "Cite While You Write Preferences...". In the preferences window that appears, click on the Applications tab:

EndNote Cite While You Write Preferences

Click on the "EndNote online" option, then fill in your account information and click "OK". You are now ready to start adding citations to your Word document.

  1. Open your Word document and begin writing, when you need to insert a citation into your text, click the Insert Citation(s) button on the Cite While You Write toolbar. The EndNote Find & Insert My References Window will appear
    EndNote Find & Insert My References Window
  2. Type a search into the "Find Citation" search box, and the matching articles in your EndNote Basic account will appear.
  3. Select one or more of the articles, and click on the "Insert" button (if you are using an "author-date" style and want to change the display, then click on the down-arrow to select how you want to insert your citation).
  4. The in-text citation will appear, and the article will be added to your reference list at the end of the document. If this is the first citation you've inserted, then the reference list will be created.

To change the way that your bibliography is formatted, click on the Configure Bibliography button in the toolbar. This window lets you change the citation style on the Format Bibliography tab; adjust the font and title of the bibliography on the Layout tab; and enable or disable immediate formatting of your citations and bibliography on the Instant Formatting tab.

Create a bibliography within EndNote Basic

EndNote Basic lets you create a quick bibliography using the Bibliography section of the Format tab. You can create a bibliography from all the references in one of your groups, or if you just need a few references that you want to post to a blog or email to somebody, add them to the "Quick List" on your My References tab.

1. In EndNote Basic go to the Format tab and select Bibliography.
2. In the References drop-down menu, select the folder or group that you want to use as the source for your bibliography
3. In the Bibliographic style drop-down menu, select a bibliographic output style from the menu (i.e., APA, MLA, etc.).
4. In the File Format drop-down menu, select one of the file formats listed: HTML, TXT (plain text), or RTF (rich text format).
5. Click the Save, E-mail or Preview & Print button.

Quality Assurance

EndNote Basic facilitates the management and formatting of citations. However, it is vital that you check the citation data at the import stage and check the formatting of your in-text citations and the generated bibliography to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the data captured or the references being produced.

More support for EndNote Basic

Check out the Getting Started Guide at the EndNote Basic website for more tutorials.

Adapted with permission from Western Libraries