Skip to Main Content

EndNote: Importing full-text PDFs

Importing full-text PDF files

Records can be added to your library by importing PDF files that have a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) in the file metadata, or in the first two pages of the PDF. EndNote scans the PDF file first two pages of the file, conducts a search for the DOI in the PubMed and CrossRef databases, adds the reference data to a new library record and attaches the PDF file to that record.

The PDF file must have a DOI and you need to have access to the Internet.

If EndNote is unable to locate a matching reference, the PDF file will be added to a new record, with the filename included in the Title field. The filename will be enclosed in angle brackets, e.g. <filename.pdf>. In which case you can manually edit the record, to include the correct details.

If you edit the record and add key data such as the Authors name, Title, Year and DOI, you may then be able to obtain a complete record, using Find reference updates option.

PDF handling

PDF files downloaded from online databases will often have odd file names, e.g. selected.pdf, 12345678.pdf. Setting the PDF Handing preferences to automatically rename the file to Author + Year, ensures that the file name is not too long, and that it’s easy to identify the document.

EndNote™ Preferences can be set from:

  • (Windows) Edit > Preferences
  • (Mac) EndNote  > Preferences

Endnote preferences for handling PDF files, including Auto renaming of file in the form 'Author + Year'

Importing files

EndNote will attempt to attach PDF files to matching records that are already in your library, rather than create duplicate records.


  1. Select File > Import
  2. File… OR Folder… to import PDF files previously files saved to a folder
  3. Select Choose to navigate to the file or folder you want to import
  4. Select the required file or folder
  5. Select option(s) to include files in subfolders if required, and create a new Group Set for this import if required
  6. Select Import

Import folder dialogue box

Check these screenshots


  1. Select File > Import
  2. Select Options

PDF folder as a group set

  1. Select PDF File or Folder OR PDF Folder as a Group Set as required


  1. Select Import

Charles Sturt University acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands on which its campuses are located, paying respect to Elders, both past and present, and extend that respect to all First Nations Peoples.Acknowledgement of Country

Charles Sturt University is an Australian University, TEQSA Provider Identification: PRV12018. CRICOS Provider: 00005F.