Error messages

A Google search can be effective in locating instructions to rectify issues you encounter with EndNote. When searching, make sure you include information specific to your computer including the operating system (Windows or Mac), the desktop operating system (Mac Catalina, Windows 10 etc.), the version of Word you are using, as well as any error messages you are receiving.

Software updates

If you experience errors with EndNote or the Cite While You Write (CWYW) toolbar in Word, check whether there are any pending software updates in EndNote. You can do this by selecting the Help menu (Windows) or EndNote menu (Mac) and clicking the Check for updates… option. Install any outstanding updates, then close and reopen EndNote and Word. Restarting your computer also allows system wide updates to be applied and may fix errors with both EndNote and Word.

EndNote support website

The EndNote Knowledge Base is a comprehensive FAQs database with instructions on solving common issues experienced with EndNote.

Common issues with EndNote

  • Google Chrome - There have been intermittent issues with access to the EndNote download in Student OASIS/Staff Portal when using the Google Chrome browser. If you encounter any problems in Chrome, try downloading with another browser (e.g. Edge, Firefox, Safari).

  • Product key - If you receive a message that you need to enter a product key, or that you have started a 30 day trial, something has gone wrong in the download process. You will need to uninstall EndNote from your computer, and re-download it. It may be a good idea to do this in a different browser so you don’t get a cached version with the same problem.

  • Security settings - The settings on your computer may prevent you from installing EndNote. If this happens, it’s a good idea to troubleshoot the problem by Googling any specific error message you receive, along with the specifications of your computer (such as the operating system). You can then follow the instructions to resolve the issue. See related FAQs below: EndNote cannot be opened on a Mac or Security settings in Windows preventing download.

  • Access outside of Australia - The EndNote program download is only available to students and staff based within Australia. If you are studying at one of our international campuses please contact your campus library for available options. If you are within Australia but it is not allowing you to download, make sure you disable any VPNs or programs that mask your location during installation. If you are studying through Curtin Australia but are located overseas you will not be able to download the software.

The first time you open the EndNote program, a toolbar will appear across the top of your screen. The full program will not open until you have created an EndNote library.

Security settings

The security settings on most macOS may prevent you from opening and running your EndNote download. The default settings for these computers do not allow any files to be opened unless they have been downloaded from the App Store.

Allowing Apps from outside Apple Store

  1. Click the Apple menu and choose System Preferences
  2. Select Security & Privacy
  3. Select the ‘App Store and and identified developers’ option
  4. The Mac should then show an Open button when you try to download software from the internet.

EndNote can’t be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software

  1. Click the Apple menu and choose System Preferences
  2. Select Security & Privacy
  3. Click Open Anyway.

EndNote cannot be downloaded because it is from an unidentified developer

To install EndNote:

  1. Open Finder
  2. Locate the EndNote installer (it’s most likely going to be in your Downloads folder)
  3. Right click on the EndNote installer (if you have not set up right click on your computer, hold down the CTRL key and click)
  4. Select Open (it is possible that the installer will now open in a new dialogue box, if this happens, right click and select Open again)
  5. You will now get a message that says “EndNote.pkg” is an app downloaded from the internet. Are you sure you want to open it?
  6. Select Open
  7. Your system will then record EndNote as an exception to the security settings and allow you to open it normally, once it has been installed.

The security settings on a Windows PC may prevent unknown apps from being downloaded on to your computer. To allow the download, you may need to temporarily change your settings:

  1. Search for Windows Security in the Start menu (Windows 10) or select Settings, then Privacy & Security and Windows Security (Windows 11)
  2. Select App & Browser Control and click on the Reputation-based protection settings link.
  3. Under Potentially unwanted app blocking untick Block downloads (Windows 10) or turn off SmartScreen and Potentially unwanted app blocking (Windows 11)
  4. Download EndNote then immediately restore the security settings.

Sometimes when exporting .ris files from the databases, the files may open in another program (such as Notepad or Word) instead of EndNote. If this happens you need to associate the file extension to the EndNote program.

  1. Locate the .ris file on your computer (e.g. in your Downloads folder)
  2. Right click on the file and select Open with… (Windows 10) or Open with… and Choose another app (Windows 11)
  3. Click on More Apps and select EndNote from the list
  4. Tick Always use this app to open .ris files and click OK. RIS files should then open with EndNote.

When exporting references from some sources (such as the Library catalogue), you may be asked to select a filter. Import filters are used to translate data from the source database into the EndNote-readable format. Many filter options are already included with the program and can be selected from the list that appears (look for the database name). Further import filters can be downloaded from the EndNote website.

If you are unsure which filter to select, a quick Google search will often help you find the correct one.

If you are prompted for an import filter when exporting from the Curtin Library catalogue select the RefMan RIS filter.

If a corporate or organisational author is not displaying correctly (Health, D. o. instead of Department of Health) you need to place a comma at the end of the name in the EndNote record, e.g. Department of Health,

If there is no comma, EndNote assumes it is a personal author and displays in the inverted form.

There is a known issue where an ‘EndNote error’ message will appear when you attempt to insert a EndNote reference into your Microsoft Word document. To fix this:

  1. In EndNote select Edit and Preferences (Windows) or EndNote menu and Preferences (Mac)
  2. Select the Folder Locations option
  3. Click on the EndNote Defaults button and select Yes
  4. Click Apply and OK

It should then allow you to insert references in Word (it may be worthwhile restarting Word and EndNote). If this doesn’t work, the EndNote support website has further solutions that may help.

You may find that the Cite While You Write (CWYW) toolbar is missing from Microsoft Word. This can happen when you first install EndNote or when you perform software updates in either program. Sometimes, the installation of other programs, such as Mendeley or Zotero, may also cause your toolbar to disappear.

The EndNote support website includes comprehensive, searchable FAQs on how to install or restore CWYW tools for both Windows and Macs.

If your in-text citations are appearing in curly brackets e.g. {Smith, 2017 #10} and your reference list has disappeared from your Word document, this means the instant formatting has been switched off. You can switch it on again by selecting Update Citations and Bibliography in the CWYW toolbar in Word.

If you have a long document with large numbers of references, it is recommended you switch off instant formatting while working on it. Formatted citations take a longer time to process as EndNote will update all citations in the document each time a reference is added. Unformatted citations also provide you with more flexibility to use the cut and paste options in Word without the document becoming corrupted.

Sometimes EndNote will include author initials as well as family names for in-text citations. Watch our Author initials appearing in in-text citations video to find out how to fix this issue.

It is important that you do not save your working EndNote desktop library to cloud-syncing folders such as iCloud, OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive etc. as this can corrupt your library over time. See the EndNote support FAQ for more information.

Before you leave Curtin University, you can choose to either:

  • Purchase your own copy of EndNote, or
  • Sign up for an EndNote online account to retain access to your EndNote library. (Follow these instructions on how to set up an online EndNote account.)

All Curtin students and staff members have access to a ‘premium’ level EndNote online account for 2 years from the date of creating their account through EndNote desktop. If the University upgrades its version of EndNote then EndNote online accounts are reactivated at the next sync (giving you ‘premium’ level access for 2 years from the upgrade date).

It is important that you authenticate your EndNote online account just before you leave by connecting to EndNote online from an authenticated IP address, i.e. on campus or via VPN (for staff).

Once logged in to EndNote online, check the status of your account through Options > Subscription. You will see two expiration dates, one from the date you created your account and one from the last time you logged in from an authenticated IP address. The latter of the two applies.

Note: Change your Curtin email address which you use to login to EndNote online through Options > Email Address before you graduate as it will no longer be valid after graduation. When your ‘premium’ level access expires your EndNote online account will revert to an EndNote Basic account which will have reduced storage capacity and limited access to styles. See this EndNote 20 Feature Comparison Chart for more details.