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EndNote Desktop: Sync, Save & Share on a Mac

This guide will introduce you to features of the referencing software, EndNote, and the resources and support available.

Sync and access your EndNote Library anywhere

You can sync to other electronic  devices (including an iPad) and access your EndNote Library anywhere. EndNote 20 can be set up to automatically synchronize your EndNote Desktop and EndNote Web Library. You can also sync across two or more computers.

All references, attachments and groups (but not Group Sets, Smart Groups or Combination Groups) can be accessed using EndNote Online.

Note: Cloud storage such as Dropbox or Google Drive should not be used for the location of your main library. Use the cloud only to store compressed libraries as back-ups. 

To enable syncing for the first time:

Only one Library can be used, so you need to make it your main Library. Before syncing, you create a copy (or backup) of your library by saving a compressed Library. Choose File>Compress Library (.enlx)

Then click Sync Configuration a Mac  , followed by Sync Now on a Mac  and register for EndNote Web or enter details for an existing EndNote Web account at: -

EndNote Web login via Sync on a Mac


Note: If you already have references in EndNote Online you should delete them before syncing, otherwise they will duplicate in your Desktop Library. 

After you have synced for the first time, any changes you make to any references either on the Desktop or Web version will be made everywhere.

To sync to another computer:

Open a new empty Library on the 2nd computer, and give it a slightly different name to distinguish it from any copies of the existing (main) Library you may have worked on at that computer. Then Sync and enter your online account details.

Note: Do not use an existing Library on the 2nd computer. You need to use an empty Library that will be filled by the references from your Online library.

To reset a sync:

If you wish the break a the connection between a Desktop and Online library:

1. Go to EndNote 20>Preferences>Sync. Uncheck “Sync Automatically”. Restart EndNote Desktop. 

2. Empty trash on both your Desktop and Web Library 

3 Log into your EndNote Web account. Delete all references and all groups from EndNote Web, with the exception of any Shared Groups that you may have.

4.Go to EndNote 20>Preferences>Sync in EndNote Desktop.  

5.  Add this to the end of your E-Mail Address in the Sync preferences: #!resetLocalSync

For example, if your email address is, change this to "!resetLocalSync" 

Note: This is case sensitive -- #!resetLocalSync NOT #!resetlocalsync

6. Click Apply, followed by OK and exit the Preferences Window. 

7. Go to the Library menu and click on Sync

8. EndNote will then appear to authenticate and return the prompt: “A Sync library can be linked to only one account. Do not proceed unless you intend to break the link to the original account.”.

9. Click OK and EndNote will purge any knowledge of a previous sync. 

10. Restart EndNote.  Go to the Library menu and click on Sync. Enter new sync details if required.


EndNote saves your Library continually once you have initially created it. However, it is recommended that you create backup copies of your Library and store in other locations even if you are using the EndNote Web sync feature. There are two ways you can create backup copies on a Mac.

You can save your whole Library (the .enl Library and its associated .DATA folder as a Compressed Library. 

  1. Whilst the EndNote Library is open, select File>Compress Library (.enlx)...
  2. Choose Create or Create & Email and select whether or not to include File Attachments.
  3. Choose either All References in Library, or Selected Reference(s) or All References in Group/Group Set and click OK.

Compress Library options on a Mac


 4. Choose the folder or drive where you want to save the Library. It will be a file with the extension .ENLX (not .ENL).

 5. Use EndNote to open the .ENLX file and it will restore (unzip) the library and extract the .ENL file and the .DATA folder to the same folder where the .ENLX file is located.

Note: Remember to recompress your Library when you have finished editing.

Alternatively, when you go to File>Save a Copy, you can select to save the file as a Package, which will also include the .DATA folder.

Image of Save a Copy dialog box with option to Save as Package selected on a Mac.

Note: If you ever need to move or copy your EndNote Library to another location, always include the .DATA folder. If you do not, this may cause your Library not to open or corrupt.

Library Sharing

You have the option with EndNote 20 to share your entire Library with up to 400 other EndNote users or an individual group with up to 100 other EndNote users, no matter where they are located.

In order to use the sharing function, you are required to have an EndNote Web account. If you haven't already done so, you need to setup an EndNote Web account and fully sync your library before you can share. You can share your entire EndNote Library, including references, PDFs and annotations.  See above for more information on syncing.

If a sync has already been performed then you need to:-

Open your EndNote Library and select File>Share (for your Library) or right-click the group you want to share and select Share Group (for groups).

  1. Enter the email addresses of the people you want to share with.​ Seperate email addresses with a coma.
  2. Click Invite.
  3. The recipients' status is pending until they have accepted the invite.
  4. Recipient(s) receive an email 'Invitation to share an EndNote library'. They have the choice whether to accept or decline the invite.
  5. The recipient opens the shared library via File>Open Shared library.

Image Preparing to Share on a Mac

Image Pending share on a Mac


Image of sharing invitation via email