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EndNote 20: EndNote Online

Guide published on 10th February 2022

EndNote Online

EndNote Online is the Web version of EndNote desktop, with similar but restricted functionality.

Using EndNote Online you can:

  • work with an EndNote library between computers
  • share your EndNote desktop library (or a group from it) with others.

The full range of EndNote features is therefore available using EndNote desktop in conjunction with EndNote Online. Note that you can sync only one library at any one time.

The accompanying tabs on this page detail how the two versions work together. The first step is registration and synchronisation

  1. In the EndNote desktop toolbar click Library > Sync.    
  2. In the EndNote Login box click Sign Up and follow the instructions.


Before starting synchronisation, be sure to create a backup of your library. (Note you can synchronise only one library.)

The larger the library and the more attachments there are, the longer the synchronisation will take. A progress bar in the bottom right of the screen indicates how it is proceeding.

After synchronisation, a change to any synchronised library will be reflected in copies of that library. For example, if you delete references from your desktop library they will also be deleted from your online library. Similarly if you make a change in your online library first, the desktop library will be updated accordingly.

You can open your EndNote Online library from the EndNote desktop toolbar by clicking Help > EndNote online

Working on a document between computers

Suppose you have EndNote desktop version on your office computer, which contains a library, e.g. Office.enl, that you have synchronized with EndNote Online. You want to be able to work at home, using the full functionality of EndNote desktop, on a document that you created using Office library. 

To do this it is first necessary to create a duplicate of the Office library on your home computer.

  1. First ensure that Office library and the document are saved as backups.
  2. On your home computer (loaded with EndNote desktop), create an empty library, e.g. Home.enl .
  3. Synchronize Home library with EndNote Online so that it is populated with records from Office library. Note that although the two libraries contain identical content, the unique number (#) for each record can differ between libraries.
  4. Open the document created on your office computer.
  5. Before working on the document, its citation record numbers must be aligned with the record numbers in Home library. To do this, in Word's EndNote toolbar, click Update citations and bibliography.
  6. When you return to your office computer to again work on your document, after opening it click Update citations and bibliography to ensure the citation numbers now correspond with the records in Office library.
  7. The next time you work on your home computer make sure you have synced Office library with EndNote Online and then sync again with Home library. Ensure that you Update citations and bibliography after opening the document. If you use a further computer you will need to create another new empty library and follow the above process.

The process is described fully in EndNote Sync, using the X9 interface (Clarivate EndNote Training video, 2:31 mins)  

It is possible to share your EndNote 20.1 (or later) desktop library with up to 200 other EndNote users (EndNote 20, and X9 permit sharing with up 100 users).  This feature is potentially useful for work teams within Monash who are working on specific projects.

To share a library you, and all colleagues you share a library with will need:

  • EndNote X9 or 20 loaded onto to the desktop (to update to the latest version of  EndNote 20, in the toolbar click Help > Check for Updates... ) 
  • an EndNote Online account (see Registration and synchronisation tab)
  • an email account.

Your entire library, including file attachments can be shared (please see below about limitations to sharing outside Monash).
You can only share one library with others, however multiple libraries can be shared with you.
Access to someone else's library is only available from your desktop.
Anyone you have shared your library with can add to, annotate and use the library at the same time.
Access to your library is controlled by you from your desktop. An individual's access can be removed at any time.

The syncing process between a desktop library and Endnote Online is used to share a desktop library.

See EndNote 20 (Windows) library sharing (Clarivate EndNote training video, 1:02 mins)

The overall process is described fully in Configuring Library Sharing in EndNote Desktop, using the X9 interface. (Clarivate EndNote Training video, 3:30 mins)

Sharing an EndNote library with colleagues at Monash

A number of factors may impact on the way you choose to share an EndNote library.

  • Do you have just one library? or do you have multiple libraries?
  • Do you already use EndNote Online to sync your EndNote library?  This may be to share groups of references with others, or for portability of your library between computers at home or on campus.

If you have more than one library and use EndNote online you may wish to consider the following scenario for collaborating with colleagues.

  • Have an administrative staff member or research assistant who does not otherwise use EndNote create a library on their desktop and use their email address to create an online account. This person becomes the 'owner' of the library.
  • The owner of the library can provide access to the library for up to 200 people ('sharees') if using at least EndNote version 20.1. This is done by invitation via email address. If the recipient does not have EndNote Online access already the invitation will prompt them to create an account. 
  • The entire library, including attachments, is synced to all sharees and takes up as much space as it does on the owner's computer. The library can only be accessed via the File > Open Shared Library command in EndNote.
  • As long as everyone has EndNote X7.2 or later loaded and has an EndNote Online account they will be able use the full functionality of EndNote Desktop. They can add, change, or delete references and attachments. 
  • The owner of the library should make frequent back-ups of the library using the File > Compressed library command.

If you are working collaboratively with non-Monash colleagues it is recommended that sharing occur via an EndNote Online library by using the group sharing function instead (see the next tab).  In this way there are no concerns about copyright infringements because pdf attachments cannot be shared.  Links to documents are able to be shared.

Collaborating using EndNote

For further information on collaboration using EndNote, and a comparison of the various options, consult the Little EndNote How-To Book (PDF, 10.1MB), Chapter 7.

It is possible to share a group of references with others, perhaps those with whom you are collaborating.

Any individual you share your group with must have an EndNote Online account and email address. Access to a desktop version of EndNote is not required and you can nominate if colleagues are to have 'read only' access or 'read & write' access.  Note: Sharing of file attachments is not permitted, however links to documents/articles can be shared.

The process is described, with accompanying videos, in EndNote: Sharing Groups using EndNote 20 and X9 desktop version .