Happy about using w/ Endnote, now that I know how

I’ve been using the Windows beta for a couple weeks, and have finally figured out a workflow that works VERY well (for me anyway) with Endnote. I’m 14 months away from submitting a dissertation, so I was at a point where if I couldn’t make the citations and referencing working comfortably, Scrivener wasn’t for me, at least not right now, even though I liked its drafting capability.

It took me a day of concentrated trial-and-error to figure this out – and recommendations are gratefully accepted if you know of a better way! But, in case it helps someone else who is hoping to use this for an academic thesis or dissertation with MS Word and Endnote, here’s what I’m doing:

  1. Open Scrivener project. Open Endnote database.

  2. To insert a citation in my Scrivener text, toggle to Endnote database.

  3. Select the correct reference from LIST of references in your Endnote database. Copy (Right click and select Copy; or Control C)

  4. Go back Scrivener. Place cursor at correct place. Paste. (Right click and Paste; or Control V).

In Scrivener text, citation is now a “raw” Endnote citation with curly brackets, e.g.:

{McKenzie, 1999 #507}

If I am going to use an inline citation style like MLA, then I leave the reference in this “raw” format.

If I am going to use a footnote style, I select the “raw” citation and format it as a footnote in Scrivener (Menu>Format>Inline Footnote; or Control+Shift+F).

  1. If I need “prefix” information for the reference, I add it to the beginning of the reference, placing a backward slash before the author name, e.g.,

{See, for example, \McKenzie, 1999 #507}

  1. If I need a page number or other “suffix” information, I just add it after the Endnote database number, so:

{See, for example, \McKenzie, 1999 #507, p. 127.}

  1. Once I am ready to move to Word for formatting, compile text in rtf format.

  2. Open rtf document.

  3. Open new document in Word, using my dissertation template.

  4. Copy and select rtf text into the new Word document.

  5. Go to Endnote tab in Word and select “Update Citations and Bibliography.” The references are now in correct style.

  6. Use Word Styles to apply various styles to the text. (I have found that I need to Update the citations before I mess with styles – it may be something I’ve done in designing my styles, but figuring out the right order here was key to this working for me.)

  7. For final draft, I use Endnote Tab to convert document to Plain Text, which eliminates all the citation codes, and leaves any inline citations, footnotes, and bibliography as text rather than data. At this stage, I tweak the references manually – particularly since any suffix information (including the page number) is not correctly formatted. (For example, in Chicago style, Endnote places a period at the end of the footnote – and before the page number info I manually added.) But, I have ALWAYS had to do this with Endnote and Word, so this is no different, and is part of my final proofreading/factchecking for references anyway.

While it took some time to figure out, it was time well spent, since it has actually streamlined my drafting AND formatting process. Since I am using footnotes, I find this process to be MUCH FASTER and even more accurate than drafting in Word. It is much quicker (for me at least) to cut and paste the reference into Scrivener, then it was to go through the old three-part process of 1) Using Word’s Reference tab to insert a footnote, and then 2) using the Endnote tab to insert a citation into the footnote, and then 3) using the Edit Citation tool on the Endnote Tabe to insert page, prefix, or suffix information.

In other words, it took a while, but once I had this procedure figured out, Scrivener has allowed me to document my references quickly while I am writing and drafting, rather than mess around with the mechanics at that point.

Also, it is MUCH easier to switch between inline citation and footnotes. For example, I converted a selection of my dissertation draft for a journal article that required inline citations. It was very easy: just de-selected Format/Footnotes in Scrivener to convert each reference from a footnote to raw text, and then compiled a new RTF document. Much easier than it was to switch from Endnote citations within Word generated footnotes in Word.

I share the procedure, in case it helps someone else who is hoping to use Scrivener, Word, and Endnote for an academic paper. I am so very happy today! I feel like I just added a month of time to my dissertation deadlines. I think Scrivener will save me at least that much time over the next 14 months! Many thanks!

BTW, figuring this out also has helped me bring text BACK into Scrivener for new drafts.

The trick is to take your Word document with Endnote citations, go to the Endnote Tab in Word, and select “Convert to Unformatted Citations.” This turns your Word text back into the curly brackets data (and retains any prefix and suffix info):

{McKenzie, 1999 #507}

Then save the document as an rtf and import into Scrivener. If the citation was in a footnote, Scrivener automatically has formatted it in your text in the footnote format. Otherwise, it’s just a “raw” citation. Simples.

So, I can now move back and forth easily between Scrivener and Word. I really am very happy!

Okay, one last tweak, and then I’ll go away for a while ! But a couple of quick tests of converting back and forth shows this is the correct dataform for having page numbers convert back and forth between Scrivener and Endnote:

{McKenzie, 1999 #507@13}

Nice work! It must feel great to have developed that workflow.
Other aspects of Endnote that I find handy:
Storing abstracts, comments, and URLs for quick search & retrieval.
Searching of various library catalogs for new publications.
Which keep appearing during the 14 months to dissertation, alas.
Hang in there…

Bejasus, many thanks for this. I’m about to launch into writing my PhD thesis and so I’m considering Scrivener Windows for this. Are you still happy with your workaround now, a few months down the line?

This is precisely the kind of thing that you should share in the Tips & Tricks & FAQ section so people can more easily find your notes. I believe it might even work on Macs with the same set of tools. :smiley:

@bejasus, I’m also interested in your answer to this

(Moderator note: I’ve moved this topic to tips & tricks).

Thanks for posting these steps!

You’re a star! Thanks a lot :slight_smile:

Just to clarify, this option assumes that you are only using 1 Endnote library, as Endnote is finding your reference via the reference number e.g (#105)…

I had various Endnote libraries depending on some big overall literature themes and I’ve had to join them up so as not to confuse Scrivener and Endnote when I want to convert the references

I tried it and it worked beautifully! Very useful and thanks so much for your tips! One of the things I was pleased about is that you can make the changes on Word when updating refs on EndNote. I’d forgotten the backward slash on one of the references when adding 'see for example, \Author’s name…so the in-text ref. kept its curly brackets. I inserted the backward slash, hit Update refs on EndNote and voila! It worked!

I need further help:

  1. I’d like to string a few references together like this (Jones, 2004; 2007; 2009) or (Martin, 2013; Maton, 2004). How do I get these references inside the same brackets?

  2. I couldn’t find a dissertation template on Windows 2010. Does a later MS suite have a dissertation template on Word?

  3. How do I keep my Cartesian planes and figures? My tables can be transferred into Scrivener but any other figure is completely lost. How might I go back and forth between Word and Scrivener and keep the images on my figures? I noticed that my arrows and shapes all disappear.

I’d appreciate any help anyone has to offer.

  1. Select several citations in Endnote. Then Copy. Now paste into your text. Endnote will put all the copied citations into a single bracketted raw citation for you (and you will also then be able to see just how it like to see them so you could also do the same manually in a pinch).

  2. I am sure that MS dissertation template came from the OP’s university. Dissertation format is very finnicky and will likely differ from institution to institution. Check with the dissertation mavens at your own school to see if they offer a custom MS template.


I have been an Endnote user since version 1 and did not know about the @ trick. Nice.