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EndNote: EndNote Backup

Guidance and support material for using EndNote referencing software.

Save and Backup Your EndNote Library

It is important to regularly backup your EndNote Library especially if you plan to make changes e.g. alter your preferences (sync, reference types etc.),  globally edit or annotate a particular field, upgrade your EndNote software etc.

Store a copy on the University network (your H: drive). EndNote advises NOT to back up to a cloud environment, such as Dropbox or Google Drive as your EndNote Library may become corrupt or damaged.

Each library is made up of a file with the extension .ENL (your main database) plus a corresponding .DATA folder (this includies your PDFs, other attachments, figures, groups etc). Both files must be backed up.

There are several backup methods. It can take some time to process a backup so be patient.

EndNote Compressed Library

The Compressed Library command saves your library and .data folder a compressed .enlx file. This is the recommended method of backing up as you only have one file to hand.e. It is also useful if you don't have a lot of storage space or if you wish to send a copy of your Library to a colleague.

  1. Open your EndNote Library.
  2. Click the File and select Compressed Library (.ENLX)
  3. Choose appropriate options including With File Attachments and click Next
  4. Navigate to the folder where you wish to store your compressed backup copy
  5. Rename the file if you wish and click Save.

Restoring a Compressed Library File

  1. Open EndNote.
  2. Click the File and select Open Library
  3. Navigate to the folder where you stored your compressed backup and click the .ENLX file.
    This process will extract your Library (.ENL) and .DATA folder. to the same folder that your backup .ENLX is located.
  4. In EndNote open the Library as usual.

IMPORTANT: your active EndNote Library must be stored on your computer or on the University Network (your H: drive). Always copy your .enlx file to an appropriate EndNote folder on your computer or H: drive before opening it. EndNote advise that if your active Library is in OneDrive or other online/cloud storage that it can become corrupt. It is OK to save your backups online though.

EndNote Save a Copy

The EndNote Save a Copy command creates a .ENL file as well as a .DATA folder for your backup library copy, including your PDFs etc.

Save a Copy does not compress your files. Make sure you have sufficient storage space if your Library contains large numbers of references and PDFs. Alternatively use the Compressed Library command.

  1. Open your EndNote Library and click the File menu
  2. Select Save a Copy
  3. Navigate to the folder where you wish to store your backup
  4. Rename the file if you wish and click Save

Help with EndNote

Check the guides on this EndNote help page. Check the tabs at the top for more information.

If you can't find what you need contact

Sync with EndNote Online

If you regularly sync your EndNote Desktop Library with your EndNote Online account this may provide a limited backup to your basic references.

Be aware that EndNote Online does not have the full functionality of EndNote Desktop and if this is your only backup you may lose your Group Structure, Customised fields and other features. It is best to take regular backups using the Save a Copy or Compressed Library functions.

For more information on synchronising your Library see the EndNote Mini Guide and EndNote Online guide at