X5 libraries compatible with old versions?

I have one person on site who is using version 5 (I know, it’s old!) but I’m using X5 and have created a library that they need to use.  Is it possible to open the X5 library from the old version 5?

Thanks much,


“Version 5”?  Wow, that’s old - so old it’s unlikely the X5 library files are backward compatible. Per an article (#82290) from the EndNote Knowledge Base, libraries made by EndNote 8 or later are not backward compatible with older versions of EndNote. So EndNote X5 library files would not be compatible with EndNote 5.

Your colleague will need to upgrade to X5 (assuming his/her computer system and word processor are compatible with X5 specs). Also, you didn’t indicate what operating system each of you are running. If  working across platforms (Mac, PC) rhis may add a slight “twist” in the process.

An alternative workaround might be importing Endnote tab-delimited text files if EndNote 5 has this capability - I can’t recall if it does. Then the X5 references could be exported as a tab delimited file which in turn would be imported into EndNote 5. But if the X5 references had attachments like pdf files it’s unlikelythese files will be accommodated by EndNote 5.

You can also contact Tech Support for further assistance: http://www.endnote.com/support/entechform.asp

You could export to a .RIS file and import that into  Endnote5, but the record numbers would not be the same on the new library and thus if you are trying to work together on a paper, the endnote5 version would not be able to match them correctly either.  As CrazyGecko suggests, an upgrade path is really a much better option.  Endnote5 is not really supported for any more modern MSWord version either.  Endnote5 is about 10 years old… !

Hello Lynda,

What Leanne has stated is correct. If your colleague has EndNote version 5 and you have X5, you would need to export your library to a text file that could then be imported into the older version. Directions for this can be found under the section titled “Backward Compatibility with earlier EndNote versions” in this article:


As that article mentions, there are some compatibility issues. If you used a Reference Type not available in EndNote 5, that will appear as Generic and version 5 is not Unicode compatible. Any Non-ASCII characters will not import correctly.

Jason Berman
Technical Sup Rep RS

Thomson Reuters

Phone: +1 800-336-4474