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EndNote: Putting References into Word

How to use EndNote software to save, manage, and print citation information within your papers.

Putting References into a Word Document

NOTE: Cite While You Write inserts in-text citations (e.g. Smith 1882) in the body of a document with the full citation af the end of the document. Please click on the Cite While You Write Tab above for instructions. This page gives instructions on how to create a full bibliography to start your document without in-text citations. 

There are basically two ways to create a stand-alone bibliography in a word document.

1. To create a bibliography within a word document. (My favorite method)

  • Highlight the references in your EndNote library that you want to put into your bibliography. You can hold down the control key while clicking to select more than one reference.
  • Open a blank Word Document
  • Click on the EndNote X4 tab (or whatever version you are using).
  • In the Middle of the top taskbar you will see a window to right of Style. This window shows the style your citations will be formatted in once imported into the word document.  If you want another style click on the arrow to the right of the window and choose the style you want your citations to appear in. There are ~5000 styles to choose from. You can choose general styles like
    •  APA,
    • Chicago,
    • Numbered,
    • Annotated,
    • Your own custom style (see other functions tab above).
        or specific publication styles like Cell).Or styles used by specific publications like
    • Science
    • Cell
  • Under the Insert Citation Icon on the left corner click on Insert Selected Citations
  • NOTE: You can click on the dropdown menu next to Styles and change the style of the citations in your new bibliography after importing.

2. To automatically generate a word document with a bibliography within EndNote:

  • Open an EndNote library containing the references for the bibliography
  • Highlight the references you want to create your bibliography
  • Click on File. From the drop down menu click on Export
  • File Name:              Give your file a name
  • Save as type:          Select Rich Text Format (rtf.)
  • Output style:            Select the style for the references in your bibliography, (e.g. APA 6th)

       NOTE: You cannot change the style after you export the references into word. Make sure the style you choose is the one you need.

  • Click on Save. You have now created an RTF document with your bibliography.


To change your RTF document into a word document

For Microsoft OS

  • Open the .rtf document containing your references
  • Click on File
  • Click on Save As
  • Click on where you want to save the document  e.g. on your desktop
  • at the bottom of the window next to Save As Type Select Word Document
  • Click Save


  • Open Word on your desktop
  • Click Cancel on the Word Document Gallery window to close it
  • In the Word Taskbar at the top of your screen click on File then Open
  • Click on the .rtf document you just created
  • Click on Open
  • Click on File
  • Click on Save As.  Give this document a name different than the .rtf file.
  • next to Where choose where you want to save the document. e.g on your desktop
  • In Format dropdown menu select Word doc and save it (e.g. on your desktop)

Subject Guide

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Tom A
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
One Bungtown Road
Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724