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Adding References by Importing PDFs

How it works:

It is possible to import PDF documents directly into EndNote. This can be helpful for those who already have a number of documents saved to their computer.

If the document includes a machine-readable DOI, then it will automatically create a reference including the main citation details and other information from the document.

Note that if there is no DOI or the document is not machine readable, the file will import without including any details. The title field of the reference will automatically be created in the format <filename.pdf> and no other fields will be completed. In this case, here are some options:

  • Manually fill in the necessary information in the reference fields from the PDF.
  • Or download the record from a database and then attach the file manually.


  1. Select File > Import > File (or Folder if you have a folder of PDFs)
  2. Click on Choose and locate the file (or folder) you want to import
  3. Select the Import Option: PDF
  4. Click Import



  • The reference record and PDF are now in your EndNote library.
  • The paper clip icon next to the reference in the main panel shows you there is a PDF attached to it.
  • The PDF appears in the tab with the summary, preview, and edit options




A PDF without a DOI

It is possible to create a reference from a PDF without a DOI although you will need to enter most data manually.

  • Import the PDF as shown above
  • The EndNote reference will use the filename as the title
  • Click on the reference and select Edit from the Summary Panel
  • Complete any missing information and check using the Preview subpanel below Summary

Other option:

*Download the record from a database and then attach the file manually.