Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

EndNote Desktop: Sync, Save & Share on a Windows computer or laptop

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  , followed by Sync Now  and register for EndNote Web or enter details for an existing EndNote Web account at: -

Image of EndNote Web login dialog box on Windows










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 Edit >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 Edit>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.

You can save your whole Library (the .enl Library and its associated .DATA folder) via Compress Library. Compressing your Library ensures that it is saved as a complete package.

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.

  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 and click Next.

Image of Compressed Library dialog box in Windows











   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. .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 any editing.

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:-

  1. Open your EndNote Library and select File>Share (for your Library) or  Groups<Share Group (for groups).
  2. Enter the email addresses of the people you want to share with.​ Separate email addresses with a comma.
  3. Select whether you want to give your invitee(s) Read and Write or Read Only access to your Library.
  4. Click Invite.
  5. Your recipient(s) will then receive an email invitation. They have the choice whether to accept or decline the invite.
  6. The recipient then opens the shared library via File>Open Shared Library.

Image of dialog box to share Library with others on Windows





















Image of Pending Share invite on Windows

Image of sharing invitation via email