Gripes and Improvement Suggestions

In my opinion, EndNote X6 is a major step backward in ease of use.  I have the following gripes and suggestions.  A lot of them could be summarized as:  Have an option to make X6 work exactly the way X5 did.

  1. EndNote Web used to be a useful connection.  I could put up my references, and have access to them anywhere.  Now, with “sync,” I cannot.  Not only is sync all-or-nothing – I can’t put up just some of my references – I am force to put onlie all my attachments.  Yet I am limited to 5GB of space.  My attachments take up 8GB, so only some of my references can be online – and EndNote decides which ones!  Suggestion:  let me choose which attachments, if any, can be put on the website.  (Note also that, since EndNote Web no longer can hold my references, EndNote for iPad is totally, doubly worthless.)
  2. EndNote X5 had a lot of customization available.  I was able to, for example, not show the ratings, but show a button that would trigger the Import Reference dialog.  Both choices have been eliminated.  The views avaiable are not customizable (except choose view 1, 2, or 3), and none of them fits the way I work.  Why can’t we have enough customization to make the main window usable?
  3. Whenever I start EndNote there is a large, four-line search dialog wasting the top part of my window.  There is no way to prevent that dialog from appearing (with the possible, untried exception of using one of the view modes that is even less useful to me than the one I use).  I suggest that each part of the window be optional so that we can set up EndNote to work the way we like.  It is supposed to enhance our productivity, isn’t it?
  4. Some of the fixed responses don’t work they way I expect.  For a while, every time I double-clicked on a reference that had an attachment, the attachment opened instead of letting me edit the reference.  I got around this by choosing a view mode that includes a preview of the attachment, then making that window small to avoid too much wastage of space.  But now if I want to open an attachment, I have to scroll through the reference until I get to the attachment field.  I suggest that, if you double-click on the name of a reference, the reference opens for editing, but if you double-click on the paper clip indicating an attachment, the attachment opens.
  5. Speaking of opening attachments, how about a setting that lets you decide whether you want the attachments to open in their native program or in the EndNote preview window?
  6. What’s with this new, distracting bolding of the references until they’re “read”? Please give us the option to turn that off.  It’s another timewaster.

Those are my big six.  I’d really rather stay with version X5, but I’ve been told there are issues with that version on MacOS 10.8 using Word 2011.  For the first time in a decade, I’m looking at other reference maintenance programs.  I had bragged about EndNote so much (version X5) that my brother-in-law tried it (version X6).  He told me it was far too difficult to use, and instead uses Zotero, which I avoid because it requires Firefox as your browser.  Nonetheless, he was right when he told me that EndNote version X6 feels like early beta software.  My biggest recommendation is that EndNote find a way to feel like release software instead.

Of the gripes listed above, the one I agree with is the handling of attached files. I don’t know about other users, but my attached files are PDFs of the references. I have decided to store these on my Evernote account for several reasons, and to just link to them by inserting the Evernote URL in the Endnote URL field. The advantages of Evernote here are 1) the software scans PDFs for words (premium user account), so that it’s easy to search my references for a particular word or phrase. That’s a very powerful search function that doesn’t exist in Endnote. 2) My Endnote account isn’t stuffed with PDFs (to the gripe above about needing more storage space for Endnote Web. 3) I can add tags to PDFs e.g., a course number if I use a PDF in a course I teach. 4) Evernote has some PDF markup functionality, althogh nothing compares to Adobe Acrobat Pro XI when it comes to marking up PDFs. 5) I can share PDFs from Evernote with work groups. 6) I refer to these PDFs in my work far more frequently than just for bibliographic purposes. Storing them in a more accessible library than Endnote makes sense.

My experience with Endnote has been extremely positive since the 6.0.2 update (Macintosh with 10.8.2 OS X). I think that with sync, Endnote X6 has greatly simplified what used to be a cumbersome and bug-prone process of using a common library on multiple computers. The sync feature is a huge advance over all the previous versions, IMO.

The desktop version of Endnote will seach PDFs.  It is one of the options since at least X4. 

Do remember there are copyright issues with sharing PDFs. 

But thanks for pointing out evernote functionalities.  I am using a Livescribe Sky pen which synchs my files and recording to Evernote/premium account.  I still have to figure out what it is and how it works effectively!

Endnote will search *all* PDFs in the user’s library for a word or phrase?? I didn’t realize that, and I’d like to know how to do that. Evernote will serach all notes (which can be PDFs) or even handwritten notes from LiveScribe.

I agree that the LiveScribe pen is amazing. But Evernote is also a remarkably useful product, too, even without the pen.

All PDFs that have text in them (obviously not PDF that have been scanned).  That is why it takes so long to “index” the PDFs when you copy large groups of references or open a library the first time in a new version of endnote.  The options are at the top of the search drop down.  Choice of: 

Any Field; Any field +PDF with notes; PDF;  PDF notes.