Bring back X9 user interface

I find the user interface of Endnote X9 far better than the new v20. The visuals of the menues and windows are more clear and straightforward in X9 in my opinion. I also dislike the fact that context menu (right click) is disabled in certain windows, e.g. in the search area above the main window. I would like to have the option to switch back to the X9 user interface.

I would also ask Clarivate to bring back the “reference summary” function. I gave me the option to see which group a reference is in.


I 100% agree. I like the option of viewing a group under which a reference is placed in X9. They removed the option when we right-click on a reference. The new interface including menus and options on version 20 are worse than X9. Another example is the location of the layout window. They fixed the location on the right. Who wants to read a PDF file in such a small space by compromising the rest of the reference info? If you don’t know what to improve, don’t do any and cut the price down or keep it low. End users will be happy then.

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As a touch-typer who would rather not use the mouse the new User interface is really frustrating. For instance the reference type drop down list won’t let you use the keyboard: this has never been great as it only recognised first letter. And then you cannot use the tab to get into the next field. These are basic things that all data entry does and you ought to expect from EN.


Very much agree. It is like this interface is designed for smart phones.

I’ve been using Endnote for about 10 years. This latest change from Endnote 9 to 20 has fixed some issues, but it is a much clunkier interface and has lost one key function that I think was probably very commonly used. Can you please put it back?

Very often, in earlier versions I would use the “summary” view in the right hand panel to check how the reference will look in my bibliography. It is a very quick, efficient way to catch some common entry errors. I would also use that view to copy and paste references to include in communications, a syllabus, presentations, etc. Now, to get that, I have to create a word document and do a citation, and copy from the endnotes of that document.

As it is currently configured, the Summary panel is pretty useless.

I also very much miss the quick simplicity of Alt+F2 to cite while I write. It no longer works.

Finally, the whomping big symbols for things that used to sit discretely at the top of the screen now unnecessarily takes up lots of space on my library panel that lists documents. It is like Endnote has been redesigned for use on smart phones. Your designers may be trained and accustomed to creating designs for smart phones, but if you’re doing serious writing, it is unlikely you’re going to do that on a smart phone.

These features were some of the benefits of Endnote over Zotero, but without them I might as well use Zotero.

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This is still available at the bottom of the summary view panel:


Try Alt+2, it works here.

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Cool, thanks for pointing that out. I hadn’t seen that.

Agreed. I strongly preferred the ability to chose from multiple configurations for the search, summary, and PDF view in X9. Since I actively use many of the fields in the Endnote grid view simultaneously, it was useful for me to have summary and PDF appear below the grid, rather than to the right of it. With the v20 configuration, I can’t even fit what I need to see on my laptop, and it takes up the entire width of my desktop screen to see what I need. This is a serious diminishment of functionality in terms of layout.

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A user for 14 years (going back to X2), I too have reverted to EndNote X9 because EndNote 20 is unusable for me.

Academics value flexibility and customisability in the software they use and in both regards EndNote 20 is a serious downgrade.

Beyond questionable cosmetics, it is not clear what the idea is behind the most recent design changes. The key functionality of a reference manager should be the convenience with which you can manage your database and export your references. This means that you should be able to customise the layout of your database, but now you can’t even hide the Groups anymore in the Mac version. Large icons serve no purpose whatsoever, and even in previous versions the lack of customisation options for the UI was an irritant. With the loss screen real estate and the fixed viewing options in EndNote 20 this has only become worse.

I have introduced literally hundreds of students in the humanities to EndNote at various universities, but I am now strongly considering shifting myself and my students to Zotero.

Pease take this feedback seriously, because I don’t know of any EndNote user - and I know a great many - who is happy with the recent changes.

I would welcome a chance to provide ad hoc feedback on user experience and future features.

The basic functionality behind EndNote is fantastic, but small UI-based tweaks could raise the software to a whole other level and leave competitors, who are currently fast gaining ground, far behind.


It seems like nobody at Clarivate is responding to all the negative feedback about Endnote 20.

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This is an old thread, but no less relevant. I go back to Endnote 6 or 7 and have been a grateful user throughout that time, upgrading every couple of versions or so. I have just upgraded to EN20 and deeply regret it. This is a work tool but it is slower to use - can’t find a way to customise the screen easily. It is ghastly trying to figure out things that were really easy to do. Really hate it. I am considering going back to Endnote X9 and asking for my money back (probably no chance of that but hey…), and sticking with it until something is done that is about functionality not dubious aesthetics. No more upgrades. We should be told about changes like this this when it is advertised. We seem to have lost a lot of customisation.


I just upgraded to Endnote 20. Most stupid thing I did for a long time. I wished I had read this forum before. It is a disaster to work with this new user interface. Many threads in this forum mention different issues. Most of those also are a big problem for me. As far as I know, the company does not seems to read this or chooses to not reply. Are they listening to the discomfort of the users? Or am I wrong and will they bring the old functionalities back? I need to now before I look into an alternative.

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I have just upgraded from X9 to 20. While it works correctly, I very much regret (and am mystified by) the loss of keyboard shortcuts, necessitating a lot of mouse-pointer use, which slows me down. I type fast and have used EndNote for about 22 years, and have over 70,000 entries, and I want fast results.
I congratulate the creators on the first seamless conversion of my customizations that I have ever experienced when updating/ upgrading EN (most of my renamed fields and personal Styles have been correctly converted, which is great). Some keyboard shortcuts still work, such as ALT-7 and ALT-3 from within Word, or ALT-2 from within EndNote.
I particularly appreciate the new architecture, in which all the metadata (if that’s the right term) is contained in one large file. I make a manual backup of my database daily, and now it takes a fraction of the time with only 2 large files to copy instead of over 100 (most of them were tiny).
But CTRL-F no longer reliably takes me to the search pane (sometimes it does, sometimes not); RTN no longer opens an entry for editing (I have to double-click with the mouse); CTRL-M no longer restores the view of all entries (I have to use the mouse to ‘Clear search’); CTRL-W from within an entry I’m editing no longer just closes the entry but the entire database; F6 no longer circles between panes; I can’t close the Groups pane (I don’t use groups); and when searching, I can’t use the initial letter of a term (such as C for Contains) but have to use the mouse and the dropdown menus.
I can’t imagine these functions would be complicated to restore.

I will echo other users. Please bring back the X9 user interface. It is much more intuitive than the 20 interface if for no other reason that it has the ribbon with common tools/tasks clearly shown.


I’ve had no reply or feedback from the makers of the software. Surely they could explain whether they could restore some basic keystrokes, such as: (1) opening a selected entry using simply ENTER rather than having to move the mouse pointer and clicking. (2) Viewing all entries with CTRL-M - and by the way, what I wrote earlier isn’t always the case: I don’t usually see an option to ‘clear search’ and the only work-around I’ve found is to exit the program and restart it (!). (3) What I said about CTRL-F above, which still sometimes does take me to the search box and sometimes doesn’t. (4) When creating an entry and setting the Reference Type, the drop-down list doesn’t respond to the first letter of the type (e.g. J used to jump to ‘Journal Article’) and I have to either use the down arrow to run down the list or use the mouse. If the type I want is towards the end of alphabet and I am using the mouse, I also have to use the wheel to move to a later part of the list.
ALL THIS makes extra work and slows down my use of the program.

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Like the others, I hate the new interface. Much of the time I work with EndNote in the left third of the screen, and MS Word open on the right 2/3. That allows me to see my notes in an EndNote record while writing, and when I’m done with a given record, to close it and open a different one (or run a new search). In all the versions of EndNote I’ve used clear back to the 1990s, when you have a record open, you see that, and when you close it, you see the records in your library and the search fields. That suited me fine.

Now, however, the records list is in the centre of the EndNote window, and the contents of the record are in a pane on the right (the ‘preview pane’, I gather). That means that if I have another programme like Word open on the right side of the screen, to see the record I’m working with I have to drag the EndNote window to the left so that only the preview pane is visible, and then when I want to close the record and run a new search, I have to drag the window back to the right so that I can see the list of records.

This may only waste 15 seconds each time I do it, but performed dozens of times per day, over months and years it’s going to add up to a significant waste of time. It was a significant factor in a decision I’ve just made to stick with an old laptop running X9 rather than replace it with a new one. By the time I have to replace it, I hope EndNote will have reversed this abominable decision, or given us the option of restoring the layout that worked so well. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!


Love the comments here and agree. I wish to list those items I and others asked for a year ago that still need attention!

  1. You cannot open windows, and especially you can’t open multiple windows simultaneously…necessary for editing between them. One user said it well: “2. Make it possible to have multiple references open at the same time. The loss of this option in EndNote20 has been almost devastating because I now spend way too much time and energy opening and closing references where I have notes that I need to access.”
  2. The feature of “Search Results” has disappeared on EndNote 20.
  3. One needs the option to build a search to select records based on empty field(s).
  4. Hide/Show selected references is also gone (thanks, leanne)
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I’ve just switched to X20 and agree with a lot that has been said here. Huge icons on the interface (designed for touch?) take up a third of the screen space and shrink the working space. I also don’t know why the interface has to be dark.

But apart from that, please allow the shortcut Ctrl+Alt+P to open PDFs in my default external viewer rather than in Endnote preview! This was standard in my previous version of Endnote. I use the keyboard as much as possible for speed and ease and rely on quick shortcuts like that to navigate.

In general, no problem updating in general but I don’t see why there aren’t options available.

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I pre-ordered the upgrade to EndNote 20, having been a user since version 3. While the later updates to X9 improved the program in terms of performance, the initial loss of PDF viewing capabilities gave me cause to ask for a refund, which Clarivate refused to honor despite having made claims to the contrary. As of today, I have yet to install or register EndNote 20. You will not get their attention here. You will get their attention by providing constructive feedback and objectively critical comments to their social media posts, such as on YouTube. A large volume of users providing similar feedback should get their attention to right the ship. Librarians are already taking notice and if Clarivate does not wake up, EndNote will become history.

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I didn’t list it, but agree with the interface. I prefer 9, but “worry” (no reason?) that with 9 I am forced to run Word under Rosetta. Does that slow Word down? Any knowledge on that? Otherwise, I’ll just return to 9 even when using Word…until more is done to improve 20.

OK, posted on several Youtube entries…like:

Are there others you know of to nudge them to improve it???