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Guides & Tutorial, Pao-yue Kong Library, The Polytechnic University of Hong Kong

Reference Management Tools: FAQ

A Comprehensive Guide for EndNote, Mendeley and Zotero
EndNote FAQ

Technical Issues

Adding, Editing & Sharing References

Citation Style


When I click the EndNote tab in MS Word, it keeps asking me to login to my EndNote account. Is it normal?

It may because you are using an application for EndNote online.  Please follow the steps below:

  1. Switch to EndNote tab.
  2. Click on Preferences.
  3. Switch to Application tab.
  4. Change the application from EndNote online to EndNote.
  5. Click on OK.

There is no EndNote tab in my MS Word. What can I do?

For Windows user: 

  1. Click on File.
  2. Select Options.
  3. Click on Add-ins.
  4. Select Disabled Items and click Go... to see if EndNote Cite While You Write is on the list.  Enable it if it is on the list.
  5. Select COM Add-ins and click Go... 
  6. Check the box for EndNote Cite While You Write.
  7. Click OK.

For Macintosh user: 

  1. Close all the Microsoft Office applications (Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, etc.).
  2. Launch EndNote, then click EndNote X8.
  3. Select Customizer...
  4. Check the box for Cite While You Write.
  5. Click Next and complete the process.

If you still cannot find the EndNote tab.  Click Help > Check for Updates in MS Word, and upgrade your MS Word to the latest version.

If you are using MS Word 2011/2008 for Mac, please try to click View > Toolbars > EndNote X8 in order to display the EndNote toolbar in the MS Word.

How can I set EndNote as the default app to open the .ris files downloaded?

For Windows user: 

  1. Right-click on the .ris file downloaded.
  2. Select Open with.
  3. Click on Choose another app.
  4. Select EndNote.
  5. Click on More apps if you cannot see EndNote in Step 4.
  6. Check the box of Always use this app to open .ris file.
  7. Click on OK.

For Macintosh user: 

  1. Right-click on the .ris file downloaded.
  2. Select Get Info.
  3. Select EndNote X8.  If you cannot see EndNote X8, click on Other..., browse for EndNote X8 in the Applications folder.
  4. Click on Change All...

All of my newly inserted citations are displayed in the format of {Author, Year #No.} in Word document. What can I do?

This may be due to broken linkage between your EndNote library and the Word document. Try steps below:

  1. Launch both of your EndNote library and the Word document, and switch to EndNote X8 tab in MS Word.
  2. Click on Update Citations and Bibliography.

If the steps provided above do not work, please make sure your Word document does not contain any track changes, and then double check the following setting:

  1. In EndNote, click on Edit.
  2. Select Preferences... to open EndNote Preferences window.
  3. Click on Temporary Citations on the sidebar.
  4. Make sure the Temp Citation Delimiters are set as { and }.
  5. In MS Word, click on Update Citations and Bibliography in EndNote X8 tab.

I cannot download the .ris file from OneSearch using Safari. What can I do?

Currently, the RIS file download function in OneSearch cannot work with Safari. We have reported this issue to our vendor already.

Please try to use Firefox or Chrome to download the RIS file from OneSearch at current stage.

A message of "Cannot edit Range" pops up when I am trying to insert an in-text citation into my Word document. What can I do? 

This is caused by a crash of add-ins installed in the MS Word programme. You can follow the steps below to deactivate other add-ins that may crash with the EndNote add-ins:

  1. Click on File.
  2. Select Options.
  3. Click on Add-ins.
  4. Select Word Add-ins on the list.
  5. Click on Go...
  6. Uncheck the box(es) of the add-ins that potentially crashed with the EndNote add-ins.
  7. Click on OK to confirm.

I cannot complete the installation process after upgrading to the newest version of EndNote. What Can I do?

This may be due to incompatibility of programs during installation. Please try the steps below: 

  1. Select Custom when installing EndNote.
  2. Uncheck the box Install Direct Export Helper, and then proceed installation.
  3. Run "Risxtd.exe" file under C:\Program Files (x86)\EndNote X8.



I cannot find “Hong Kong Polytechnic U” when I try to use “Online Search Mode” in EndNote library. What should I do?
The search option of “Hong Kong Polytechnic U” in ‘Online Search Mode’ has been temporarily suspended. The function will be reinstated as soon as the connection issue has been resolved by a vendor. In the meantime, you can add references by importing the .ris file which can be downloaded via OneSearch. Please refer to the Guide “Add References from OneSearchfor more details. 
How can I know which fields in EndNote I should input for different types of references (e.g., journal article, webpages)?

Although EndNote has defined many citation styles for pick and use, you still need to get familiar with the citation style that you are using, i.e. what kind of information are needed for which type of references in that style.  You can refer to the Referencing Guide from ELC (English Language Center) below for more information:

Some information of the reference imported from a source is incorrect/incomplete. What Can I do?

Imported references can be manually edited. Please refer to Edit References for more information.

I would like to cite a chapter of an edited book, but the reference exported from OneSearch is a book instead of a book chapter. What should I do?

Double-click on the reference to open the reference window.  Then change the Reference Type from Book to Book Section.  

You can then manually change/input the information like chapter author, chapter title, editor, book title, pages, etc., depending on the requirement of the citation style you are using.

In a group project, I completed my part with some references inserted in the paper.  How can I share those references with my teammates? 

The simplest way  to let your teammates have your references is using Export Traveling Library function if you do not need to co-edit the references.

Another option is to share your whole library (including references, PDFs, and annotations) with your teammates so that they can also work on the references at the same time. 

Why EndNote sometimes shows both first initial and family name in the in-text citation for some authors (e.g., (E. Chan, 2010) and (E.C. Chan, 2010)) instead of showing the last name only (Chan, 2010)?

To avoid ambiguity in author name, many citation styles (e.g., APA) require to include the authors’ first initial with their family name in the in-text citations if authors with the same family name are cited in the same article.

If these authors are actually the same author, please make sure you input their names consistently so that no initials will be displayed in the in-text citations.

To learn more about the naming rules of authors, please refer to the Referencing Guide prepared by ELC below:
    APA:        FAQ #7 in APA Referencing Guide
    Harvard:  FAQ #6 in Harvard Referencing Guide

The IEEE style in EndNote is slightly different from ELC’s IEEE Guide and IEEE journal style. Which one should I follow?

So far, there is no standardized IEEE style among different reference management platforms. Which style to use depends on your purpose:

For any style you install, please double check if the citation format fulfills your requirement. Consult your supervisor or contact us if you have any enquiries.

My supervisor does not wish me to show DOI on the reference list. What can I do?

You can simply delete the DOI information in the reference record one-by-one, or perform a bulk change with the steps below:

  1. Click on Tools.
  2. Select Change/Move/Copy Fields...
  3. Select DOI from the pull-down manual.
  4. Select Clear field.
  5. Click on OK.

An alternative way is to edit the citation style. Refer to Edit Citation Styles for more details.

How can I show abbreviated journal names on the reference list?

First, make sure the setting of journal abbreviation is correct for the style you chose:

  1. Select the style you are using.
  2. Click on Edit.
  3. Select Output Styles.
  4. Click on Edit "(style name)".
  5. Select Journal Names from the sidebar.
  6. Make sure Abbreviation is selected under Journal Name Format.

Then, you can import the list of journal names with abbreviations in different subject by the steps below:

  1. Click on Tools.
  2. Select Open Term Lists.
  3. Click on Journals Term List.
  4. Switch to Lists tab.
  5. Select Journals.
  6. Click on Import List...
  7. Select appropriate list(s) to import, and then click on Open.

You may also refer to this video to learn more about how to set up a journals term list.

Can I use EndNote for iPad to insert in-text citation in MS Word App?

iPad version’s EndNote only allows you to insert temporary citation in a Word document.  You still need to complete the in-text citation and bibliography by using the Cite-While-You-Write tool in MS Word installed via EndNote desktop or EndNote Web.  Please see more instructions here

What should I input for the "OpenURL Path" and the "Authenticate URL" under Preferences > Find Full Text?

Please refer to information below:

OpenURL Path:

Authenticate URL:

Please remember that Find Full Text function is limited by the university's subscription and other technical issues.

You are also reminded to only download the full-text of the articles you intend to read, in order to avoid triggering the excessive or systematic download which is prohibited and may cause University-wide suspension to affected databases.  

How can I import references from RefWorks to EndNote?

Can I convert my in-text citations added by Cite-N-Write of RefWorks to Cite-While-You-Write of EndNote?

Please refer to the guide of Convert Cite-N-Write to Cite-While-You-Write for details.

I would like to export EndNote references to Excel. What shall I do?

First of all, please download the citation style “Export to Excel (Sample style showing basic format)” from EndNote Output Styles. For detailed steps, please refer to the guide ‘Get More Citation Styles’. 


Then, you can make a copy of the references from EndNote library to Excel:

  1. ChooseBasicExportToExcel” as the citation style in EndNote.
  2. Select references that you would like to copy to Excel.
  3. Click on Edit and then Copy Formatted.
  4. Paste to Excel.