References out of order

Hi - I’m using Endnote X2. After formatting my citations (Vacouver style), I found that my refs are out of order (1, followed by 2 followed by 23). I’m not sure why - any advice?

My document does use text boxes with references in them (which I’ll change to frames as suggested in another discussion), but the first ref in a text box is number 4, so I don’t think that’s causing the problem.


Hello, smithxsmith:

That does sound peculiar. As a test, try formatting in another style, such as the generic Numbered style. Does the numbering change or stay the same?

Hi Gillian - thanks for the suggestion but I have tried that without any luck. 

I originally started the Endnote library in a trial version of X5, and then switched to X2 (as this is what my company has a subscription to). Could this have caused a problem?

I have also moved the library between a Mac and a PC - could that have affected the numbering?



Having read some more about Endnote, I now realise that I’ve been moving text around in the Word document (a lot), and the references were formatted rather than ‘unformatted’, i.e. I didn’t click on ‘unformat citations’ before cutting and pasting and my references were in normal brackets rather than temporary citations in curly brackets. Could this be the problem?

If so, is there a way to sort my references out without going in and re-referencing again (the document is over 120 pages with 100 plus references).



Hi, Andrea:

It wasn’t really meant to be a suggestion of a solution as much as a troubleshooting step to help me determine what the source of the problem might be. I was trying to determine whether it was related to the style or somewhere else.

Moving the text around without unformatting could cause this. Try cleaning the field codes of the document as we describe here:

If during the reformat process you get a window that reads “Select Matching Reference,” refer to this FAQ for instructions:

I hope this helps!

Are the refs 3-22 missing or elsewhere?  Did you try a different “numbered” format (try the default “numbered”).  does it still happen? 

Hi - I’ve cleaned up the field codes and formatted using ‘numbered’ with no luck. References 3-22 are in the document, they just appear later in the document.

Another point (and I’m not sure whether this is relevant or not), this document has been opened and used by different people on different computers (but they are networked so the word document and Endnote library are on the server).

Any other suggestions gratefully received,



I’ve done a quick check of the document, and the references are all over the place for the first 31 pages, after which it seems to sort itself out and references from 32 onwards appear to be in order, apart from references 7, 8, 9, 17 and 18, which turn up on pages 38, 63, 64 and 67.

We have an executive summary up front, which has essentially been created by copying and pasting a key points box from the start of each chapter. Could this be part of the problem? Although not all as the references still seem to be haphazard for the first 31 pages or so.



Without looking at the document and library itself it’s very hard to be certain. I would recommend opening a support ticket either by calling or emailing:

The phone number is in my signature and the hours are Monday through Friday from 6a-5p Pacific US time.