Can I share my EndNote library across a Mac and a Windows PC?

I have been using a mac for my writing - it has OSX 10.6.8 and Word 2008.  I’m using it with EndNote version X4.0.2.  All is going well so I don’t want to mess anything up.

My university has issued me with a Windows PC running Windows 7 Enterprie with Word 2010. 

Ideally I’d like to be able to store my thesis on a server and use either one of these machines to write (mac at home, PC at uni).  But that would mean storing the EndNote library on the server too so that I can use CWYW on either machine.  Is this possible? 

My EndNote library has been created on the mac and is currently stored on the mac.  Am I going to run into technical problems if I try to use it and update it using a Windows version of EndNote?  If the answer to that is “no problem” then once I’ve updated it using a Windows version of EndNote does it somehow convert into a file that can no longer be updated using a mac?

Thanks for any insights.  This is way too technical for me - but it would be very nice if that .enl file could be accessed from both machines.


On the endnote side, you need to remember that if you move your library from the Mac to the PC, you need to move both the .ENL file AND the whole of the .DATA folder and keep the relationship between the two, the same.  That is the .DATA folder the .enl file are in the same folder.  Of the two, the .DATA file is most important, so back it up to a safe place. Moving the library from one place to another, you might want to use the file>compress library which creates a .enlx file which can be unpacked on the server.   Using the server version via the internet from home, might be a bit slow though.  I tend to copy the library to my local machine at home, and only add new refs to a mini-library and copy that to the network version later.  Remember that a formated document, you have the embedded “travelling library” anyway. When you open a library with lots of PDFs between the two operating systems, they might re-index the PDFs, which could cause a lag at the beginning.  I haven’t tested this though. 

You can use the library on a network drive, but not on cloud devices (like dropbox). 

Switching between the two different versions of Word on the different platform might cause a bit of a lag, and you might want to test this – I might suggest that you work with CWYW off (in curly bracketed state), as I am not exactly sure that the two different Word versions might not handle the endnote fields slightly differently.  – again - backup things before opening them on the other platform. 

Several labs at our institute do work with both operating systems, but rarely does one person go back and forth and back again, so I don’t have a lot of experience. 

Perhaps others will make additional suggestions.  But in my experience it will be word idiosyncrasies not Endnote, that you will need to worry about. 

EndNote libraries are designed to be cross-platform compatible so moving the library with the .data folder (or compressed) should not present an issue. 

You may want to consider EndNoteSync in version X6. This allows you to sync your library to an EndNote Web account and multiple client machines (Mac or Windows). This is only available with X6.

  • Tilla, the EndNote team


I haven’t used EndNote personally, but I have to help someone move their EndNote library and associated PDF collection from X5 on a Mac to X7 on a PC. What are the steps I need to follow for this. I am familiar with Windows and MacOS X but not EndNote itself.