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Posts: 1
Registered: ‎03-05-2013
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Scripting EndNote

I need to export references into BibTex, but EndNote does not create citation keys and BibTex will add random letters to a key so that keys are unique. That random nature leads me to believe that a future move of references from EndNote to BibTex will leave orphaned citations in older documents.  While it is possible to use EndNote's Record Number as a citation key by modifying the Export template, that does not lead to human readable citation keys.


I attempted to use AppleScript, based on Endnotes documented examples. I just wanted to read the unformatted record, parse out the author name, year, and record number, create a string like Armstrong_1969_1, and place it in the label field. The Name_Year_RecNum combination will always be the same as long I always start from the same EndNote database.  I attempted various incantations but kept running into error (-1728) indicating that AppleScript could not get the variable from EndNote and into a local variable. EndNote support didn't have an answer but forwarded my inquiry to the development team.


After some Googling I found Appscript  on Sourceforge as a Python package and installed it. Appscript is no longer supported but was worth a try. I also found ASTranslate on Sourceforge that took my AppleScript code and returned code that Appscript needed. This was EXTREMELY helpful.


Here is a Python script that does what I described above. I hope others find it useful. And if someone wants to show me the magic for using AppleScript with EndNote, I can move this back to AppleScript.


Use at your own risk. I had to add spaces to make the code a little more readable in this blog. Be careful, Python is VERY sensitive to indentation.


# Python script to read the 'unformatted record' in EndNote and create
# a citation key for EndNotes Label field.
# The citation keys are unique since EndNotes record field is used.
# The ciation keys are ready for import by BibTex
# Bill Seufzer, Ph.D. NASA Langley Research Center

# bill dot seufzer at nasa dot gov
# March 2013


from appscript import *
import unicodedata

en = app('Endnote X6')

# retrieve the list of 'shown' references
# if a group is selected, that is the shown list of records
theListOfRefs = en.retrieve(u'shown', records_in=en.documents[1])

for aRef in theListOfRefs:
   # get the unformatted record
   unf_rec = en.unformatted_record(aRef)
   # unf_rec will look like {Armstrong, 1969 #1}
   # find the positions of the comma, #, and the }
   #remove any spaces from the authors name and replace with '_'
   # BibTex does not like spaces in the citation key
   spaces=author.count(' ')
   if spaces > 0:
      author=author.replace(' ','_')
   if len(author) == 0:
   if len(year) == 0:

   # assemble the citation key
   cite_key = author + '_' + year + '_' + rec_num
   # this flattens the citation key into ascii
   cite_key = unicodedata.normalize('NFKD',cite_key).encode('ascii','ignore')
   # put the cite key into EndNote Label field
  en.set_field('Label',to=cite_key, of_record=aRef)

New User
Posts: 3
Registered: 3 weeks ago
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Re: Scripting EndNote

I combed the internet for a long time trying to get answers about how to use Apple Scripts with Endnote.  I finally figured out how to get some group information out Endnote with Apple Scripts. I figured I would tack it on here for anyone who comes across this.


I walk through the script at: