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Zotero: Importing Your EndNote Library

Information about the free online citation and research management tool Zotero

Moving from EndNote to Zotero

Switching from EndNote to Zotero is easy. The steps below will guide you through exporting the references from EndNote as an XML file and importing that file into Zotero.

Importing Your EndNote Library into Zotero

Exporting Your Library from EndNote

Zotero can't directly import “.enl” EndNote libraries, so the first step is exporting your library from EndNote. The best export format for this is XML.

With older EndNote libraries, it may be necessary to convert figures to attachments before you export. This is done by going to the References menu → Figure and selecting “Convert Figures to File Attachments…”. EndNote will prompt you to back up your library before converting. We recommend backing up the library when prompted.

  1. If you wish to export a subset of your EndNote library, select the entries you wish to export.

  2. Go to the File menu → Export. A dialog box will pop up asking you where to save the export file. You must save the XML file in EndNote's .data folder.

  3. Navigate to your EndNote data directory (typically, My Documents\endnote.Data). This directory contains a 'PDF' folder, but you should be sure to select the .data folder and not any subfolder.

    • This is important! Zotero will look for file attachments in a directory relative to the location of the exported XML file. If you save this file in the wrong spot, file attachments won't be included when you import into Zotero.

  4. For “Save as type:”, choose “XML”.

  5. If you only want to export a subset of your library, check the “Export Selected References” box. Otherwise, make sure it is unchecked.

  6. Click “Save”.

  7. Close EndNote.

Importing Your Library into Zotero

  1. Open Zotero and click File → Import
  2. Select "A file (BibTeX, RIS, Zotero RDF, etc.)" and click Continue
  3. Select the XML file you created in the EndNote export process above
  4. Click Open
  5. If you wish you create a new collection out of your imported citation, leave the box checked. (It is a good idea to leave the box checked so that you can review the citations. You can delete the new collection but keep the citations later, if you prefer)
  6. Under File Handling, select "Copy files to the Zotero storage folder"
  7. Click continue

The items and corresponding attachments will be imported into Zotero.

Exporting ONLY PDFs

If you only want to save the PDFs from your EndNote library, but do no wish to export your citation data from EndNote, follow the instructions below:

  • Create a new folder on your desktop for the PDF files.
  • Go to the EndNote Library data folder. The folder name will look like this: My EndNote Library.Data
  • You should see three folders: PDF, rdb, and tdb.
  • Enter .pdf on to the search box on the top right corner.
  • All the PDF files will be displayed.
  • Highlight all the PDF files.
  • Copy and paste them into the new folder.