User Inferface

Please find below the product suggestions from a former RefMan user now using EndNote:

I am a longterm user of your REFERENCE MANAGER softwares starting from V.9 to meanwhile V.12

presently I am considering to change to ENDNOTE because you have decided to provide no more update for RefMan.

I would like to inform you that there are SOME DEFICIENCIES in ENDNOTE that occur immediately to the experienced RefMan user.

These Problems in Endnote

  • partly concern the Look & Feel

  • but eventually they MAKE THE USE LESS EFFECTIVE when it is intended to WORK WITH the References / IN the database.

=> it would be EASY TO FIX these minor but important problems for a software engeneer so that improvements could be offered as an UPDATE to X7.

Respective Ideas for SOLUTIONS are PROVIDED in blue type

  1.     1. Reference LIST Display    (shown here in RefMan.12)

in Endnote it is NOT possible to adjust the TYPE and ORDER of fields that are shown in the Reference List – this is inconvenient    because it often makes sense and IMPROVES TEH OVERVIEW  to have an own number and order of fields

  1. 2. REFERENCE Window  (shown here in RefMan.12)

In the Reference Window the „standard display“ is relatively   good because

-        The important informations about the reference (Ref-ID, author, title, links to attached files)

o   are shown at the top

o   are short and do not absorb much space on the screen (i.e. all authors are shown in ONE line)

o   an EDITABLE Notes field is/ can be located next above the ABSTRACT field

-        => therefore there is much space on the screen

o   for writing down OWN NOTES, e.g. own important details of the resp. reference – this is the important thing for every database user who has more than a just a few references:

  • to be able to WORK with the references      and
  • do see these own notes IMMEDIATELY when one scrolls through the different refs in the reference list window below

-        THE REFERENCE WINDOW is the MAIN WORKING WINDOW – the Reference List is basically only for scrolling though the Refs in search for the „Important“ ones ….

-        Therefore it would also be great if the order could be reversed IN ENDNOTE: 

o   Reference Window UP

o   and Reference LIST Window DOWN

REFERENCE Window     (shown here in ENDNOTE 

The respective Reference Window in ENDNOTE shows ALL THE DISADVANTAGES of the programme:

In ENDNOTE the Reference Window display is NOT good because it is NOT very helpful for work

-        The important informations of the reference (Ref-ID, author, title, links to attached files)

o   shown at the top BUT

o   they have a LONG and  unnecessarily SPACE consuming forma t: => they absorb much too much space on the screen (i.e. all authors are shown in a SEPARATE line each – that means important screen space is lost )

o   the IMPORTANT Fields including the ABSTRACT and  EDITABLE Notes field   are located far down  - in order to see, whether a Ref. indeed contains important information (written down in own notes or marked inside the abstract) one must ALWAYS scroll manually through EVERY single Ref field   [instaed of seeing this instantly while scrolling through the reference list of RefManager]

-        => therefore it is totally unnecessarily difficult in ENDNOTE and time consuming to really WORK with the References !!!

Possible easy SOLUTION: It should be possible to arrange

-        the ORDER and the DISPLAY type of the FIELDS in the Reference Window  

o   (all information in one single line

o   OR important Information collected into one line)

o   that might LOOK similar as when the „PREVIEW“ setting in the Reference window of Endnote is switched on


o   when „ Preview“ Mode“ is switched on, the information can NOT be edited – which does therefore not help the user too much


-        Probably by some kind of „DISPLAY WINDOW“ Dialog (similar to RefMan) could also help in Endnote

-        => one for the REFERENCE LIST Window

-        => AND one another for the REFERENCE WINDOW

-        By this way, users who need and know this can apply this setting whereas other user are not bothered by this option and are not disturbed in their (conventional ) use of Endnote

  1. 3. ATTACHED Files

-        The attached files are also quite FAR DOWN in the Reference window

-        in addition, ONLY the PDFs are shown in the separate (PDF) window, split from the reference window

-        => therefore it again needs a manual scroll through every Reference in order to see which files are attached apart from a PDF

SOLUTION: => this could probalbly easy be fixed

o   by integrating ALL attached files in the PDF window which might then be called „ATTACHED FILES“ Window

o   OR  …  the field/ line with the attached files could move up in the reference window


Actually, this is not what I expect from a literature software after so many revisions … when another one from the same company already has it for decades !

-        and I assume that this will be a hot issue for many RefMan users that would like to be convinced to Endnote now … but don´t do because of such important but easy to fix problems with Endnote.

  1. 4. ALLOCATION of PDFs to REFS in the Database 

With more than 40´000  Refs in the Database I also have many respective PDFs

… but not all of them are already linked to respective Refs in the database.

QUESTION: Is it POSSIBLE to let Endnote AUTOMATICALLY import PDFs (from a certain folder) into the correct Reference of the new ENDNOTE database ???

I would be very grateful if you could give my some advice for my questions

and even more so, if it would be possible to implement the INDICATED IMPROVEMENTS into the NEXT UPDATE onENdnote  X7

It’s always hard to change your workflow when moving to new software. I think Endnote has ways of doing some of the things you want:

  1. Try going to Edit -> Preferences -> Display Fields. You can choose your fields and their order for the reference list.

  2. There is a notes field in Endnote but I agree it isn’t always easy to get to. You can add the notes field to the display fields shown (in the preferences section described above). This way you can see your notes. There is also a ratings field that helps you to rate a referenc from 1 to 5 stars. This helps me find references in a big library because you can sort by ratings.

I’m not a big fan of the layout in the reference details view either. It helps to use the gear button at the top right of the reference view and unselect “show empty fields”. This condenses things a bit but you have to toggle it again to edit the fields you can’t see.

  1. You can see all attached files as tabs in the reference panel so you don’t really need to scroll down to the attachments field. You can add attachments from here using the paperclip icon or remove attachments by right clicking on the tab. Try going to the layout button (lower right) and choosing one of the split views - you can view file attachments separately from the reference/preview tabs.

  2. There is not way currently to automatically batch assign pdfs to existing references. Your options are:

Import the whole folder of PDFs (File menu, import, choose folder). this will make new references for each PDF. This is only useful if the PDF has metadata associated with it. If it does, Endnote will automatically add the metadata to the apporpriate fields for the reference. If it doesn’t, you will get a blank reference with a PDF attached.

If you want to associate PDFs with existing references you are going to have to do them one by one. The easiest way to do this is to drag the PDF directly onto the appropriate reference.

re PDF’s in Endnote

I agree there are several things that could be made to improve this feature

  1. As you suggest the PDF could be made more easily accessible

  2. the PDF field in the biblio list could be higher

  3. the actual attachment process could be simpler

But probably one of the biggest improvements would be storing the PDF with its actual file name and allowing it to be managed is the biggest PDF weakness currently