Output styles


According to the APA manual 6ed every reference should include either DOI or “Retrieved from …” The last one if DOI is not available for the reference. To include the DOI in EndNote is easy because it is an option for it. I found a discussion on how to include “Retrieved from …” in Endnote. The solution was to write in the URL field and change the Output style. So far so good, but then “Retrieved from …” is showing in all references also those with DOI. That’s the problem I have, “Retrieved from …” should only show up when DOI is not available. Can anybody help me with this?


EndNote X5 is currently the only version of the software that allows for this type of Field Substitution. As mentioned in this Press Release, EndNote X5 allows you to “Use new conditional formatting in journal styles that substitutes data for empty fields automatically.”


I would make sure you have the latest version of the APA 6th style available here:


With other versions of EndNote, you could create a custom Reference Type for those records with the DOI field to differentiate them from those without. Once that is done, you would change the Reference Type of the records with/or without the DOI field to that custom Reference Type. Then you can edit the Style to add the new template that does not include the URL field and just has the DOI field. Make sure the other template includes just the URL field and not the DOI. Details on editing the Reference Types and adding new Reference Types to the Output Style can be found in the EndNote Help file. Here are the general steps.

  1. Click the Edit (or EndNote menu on the Mac) and select Preferences.

  2. Click the Reference Types option.

  3. Click Modify Reference Types.

  4. Select one of the Unused Reference types or modify one you do not use.

  5. Add the field labels for this Reference Type.

  6. Click OK.

Open the references that correspond to your new Reference Type. For example, if this Reference Type is intended to include the DOI information, open those records that have DOI information and change the Reference Type to your custom Reference Type. When that is done, you can edit the Style.

  1. Open the Output Style in the editor as you have done previously.

  2. Click on Templates under Bibliography.

  3. Click the Reference Type drop down to select your new custom Reference Type.

  4. Copy the appropriate fields from the existing template to the new template.

Make sure you have used the special field “Link Adjacent Text” between the “Retrieved From” text and the URL field in the Style. Save the style when you are done editing.

Jason Berman
Technical Sup Rep RS

Thomson Reuters

Phone: +1 800-336-4474

The phrase “Retrieved from” should be linked to the URL field. Then the phrase will be suppressed unless the URL field has information.  Modify the APA template to include the following after the DOI field (see attached image):

|Retrieved from*URL|.


The | symbol represents a “Forced Separation”; the `symbol represents the tilde sign; and the * asterick represents the Link Adjacent Text sign.


Keep in mind that the most up to date version of the APA 6th Output Style does have the “Link Adjacent Text” formatting character between the “retrieved from” text and the URL field.

Jason Berman
Technical Sup Rep RS

Thomson Reuters

Phone: +1 800-336-4474


 Hello. I am using Endnote X4.0.2 for Mac, but the styles should be the same. I had the same problem with APA 6th Edition and the DOI, and here is how I resolved it with the style for a journal article. The only thing is you just have to ensure the URL field is blank if you have a DOI, otherwise it will include both.

‘doi:’ DOI forced separation character  link adjacent character ‘Retrieved from’ link adjacent character URL.

Obviously the spacing and such is not correct in the example above. I’ve attached a style file (APA 6th Dave.ens) you can put in your Styles folder and open up, then just copy and paste the journal article template into your APA 6th style template. It’s the only way I can think of to copy all the special characters. You can just ignore all the other stuff - I’ve modified a lot of it for some of the other things we do differently, so I wouldn’t just use the entire style! The journal article template seems to work correctly with a DOI and the URL field blank, or with the DOI field blank and a URL entry, either way.

I hope this is helpful!

APA 6th Dave.ens (65.9 KB)

There is an alternative with EndNote X5 for leaving the URL field blank as Dave suggested for articles with a DOI. This article provides information on how you can substitute field information with EndNote X5:


Jason Berman
Technical Sup Rep RS

Thomson Reuters

Phone: +1 800-336-4474

This post has resolved MOST of my issues with DOI. The one unresolved question I have is essentially and IF/THEN statement.

The current solutions will display the UR if the DOI field is empty, but what is the solution to suppress one or the other if both fields are filled in? I maintain a large (5,000+ refs) library and those who use it submit articles to a variety of journals so there’s a possibility both fields COULD be required. Making  the modifications suggested I get both the DOI and URL displayed in the bibliography.

My goal: Display URL when URL is entered in the reference; Suppress DOI if URL is available.
APA 6th Copy.ens (66.5 KB)

If there is a DOI, it IS a persistent URL, in which case including the URL only, in your template with no “if then” options gives you the URL as long as  it is present in that field as well? 

Thanks. What you say is true. The issue I was trying to circumnavigate was that citations downloaded from different databases sometimes have this info in the DOI field and sometimes as a URL. I was trying to expend the least amount of effort (changing the style) to compensate for those shortcomings rather than check and perhaps have to manually change affected citations.