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EndNote Library Management

Organizing References in EndNote with Codes, Keywords and Groups

In this guide:

Because it is recommended that you maintain a single library for all of your references, you need a way to note which references are for which projects/grants/classes, so you can locate them. There are three ways to organize your references:

Adding  unique code or keyword to all references for a given project: This can be done automatically. When records have been imported into EndNote, only the imported records will be visible in the library window. (The other references are hidden.)

  1. Under the Tools tab, select Change and Move Fields...
  2. On the Change Fields tab, select the field to which you want to add the code (such as the Keyword or Label field)
  3. Choose the desired change and spacing option
  4. Enter the code or text to add in the box to the right
  5. Click on Okay, and then read the alert box. If it is indicating what you want it to do, click on Okay

This can be done for other references as well. Using commands in the References menu, hide the references that should not get the keyword/code. Then follow the steps listed above.

The Groups feature allows you to organize your references by different topics to help you better keep track of your references. With groups, your references will be included in your main library as well as the group you assign them to.  EN provides two default groups, however, you are able to generate up to 500 custom and smart groups.

video icon See also: EndNote Groups

There are a few ways to create a new custom group:

  1. Under the Tools tab, select Groups then Create Group Set, and assign a name to the folder
  2. Right click on the Group Set in the Groups column . Click on Create Group, and assign a name to the folder
  3. Select references from your library, go to the Groups menu, choose Add References to...
  4. Select a group to which the selected references will be sent

Another way to create a group and add references:

  1. Hightlight the desired references in the library
  2. Choose Add References to...
  3. Select Create Custom Group, then enter a name for the group folder

References can also be added to an existing custom group by selecting the references from your library which you want to add and dragging them to the group folder.


Using the Smart Groups feature:  Smart groups are built using search strategies (finding authors, abstract words, note field words, etc). Smart groups are automatically updated with any references matching the search strategies as one adds and edits references. For more information on Smart Groups, consult the Help feature within EndNote (F1 on your keyboard will bring up the Help screen).

Keep in mind that a reference can only go into a group once; however one reference may be in multiple groups. Deleting a reference from a group will not delete it from your entire library; however, deleting a reference from a Smart Group will be permanently removed from the entire library. [Moving citations from a Smart Group into a regular group folder will place them more securely in your EndNote Library].  Deleting any citation from your main library will delete it from all of the groups it is in.

Create Groups from Other Groups in EndNote

Custom and smart groups can be combined under a single group by using AND, OR, and NOT logic. First, save references in custom and smart groups, then save these sets of groups as a combined group set. To create a combination group:
From the Groups menu, choose Create from Groups to display the Create from Groups dialog.

  1. Enter a name for the combination group.In the fields under the Include References heading, select up to 10 custom and/or smart groups to use as search criteria.
  2. Use AND, OR, NOT to include or exclude custom and/or smart groups in the combined group set.
  3. Use the Add (+) and Remove (-) buttons to manage which groups to be included in and/or remove from your combined group set.

There is a limited of 500 custom and smart groups per library. Once that limit is reached, a group must be deleted before a new one can be added.

Note: A combination group set cannot include group sets.