Answered By: Martin Morris
Last Updated: Sep 20, 2016     Views: 205

Generally speaking, there is no easy way of transferring a bibliography in a Word document into EndNote. As one EndNote user puts it: "it's very difficult to import 'human-readable' typed references into EndNote because there are no tags to show which parts of the reference should go into the individual 'slots' of an endnote record."

There are a few ways that it can be done (at least partially), but in many cases it would be easier to just collect the references in EndNote through another method.

Here are some options (modified from

  • Manually enter all your data into EndNote, using copy-and-paste.
  • Locate the references in a database or library catalogue, and download them to EndNote using direct export or a filter. If the database or catalogue can be searched using an EndNote connection file, this will speed up the process.
  • Use the free citation management program Zotero to extract references via CrossRef.
    1. Install the free citation management program Zotero
    2. Register for a CrossRef account
    3. Paste your bibliography into the CrossRef query box
    4. Use Zotero to extract the references from the resulting page (see Zotero tutorials here)
    5. Export the references from Zotero to EndNote (instructions)
  • Create your own tagged file and filter to import the references from the Word document into EndNote. Instructions for this are here and here.
  • If most of your citations are included in the PubMed database (for medicine), you can use the HubMed Citation Finder to locate the citations. Instructions are posted here on an EndNote user forum.
  • Use the free web-based citation manager WizFolio. While it is NOT perfect, the program allows you to paste in a reference list (e.g., copied from a Word document or PDF), and it extracts the information into formats that are readable by citation management software. After you have extracted the references, you can export them all as a RIS file, which can then be imported into EndNote. This method will require that you check your references for errors in data entry, but it can save time in the long run.
  • Mac users can install Ref2RIS, which will convert a bibliography (in TXT, RTF, DOC, DOCX, ODT, HTML, or webarchive) into the RIS format that EndNote can read. Some editing will be required!