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EndNote: Back Up & Restore

Backing Up & Restoring Your Files

It’s a good idea to periodically back up your EndNote Library.

When to Use: The following instructions allow you to save a copy of your references on your hard drive so you can restore them if you need to.  Be sure to save your reference library on a regular basis and in different places so you will have the most recent version if you need to restore it.  You may want to periodically burn a copy to a cd, save a copy in your email, etc.

Exporting records from EndNote Desktop to your computer:
The library file is where all of your references are stored. Note that exporting data from your library is not a complete backup. An export file is just a text document, whereas an EndNote library is a database. Make sure you back up both the file with the extension .ENL as well as the corresponding .DATA folder. The .DATA folder is considered part of the library; it includes figures, groups, and other files necessary for the library.

To easily save a copy of all of the required library files and folders, and save disk space, you can create a compressed .ENLX file. The .ENLX file includes the Appendix A: Making Backup Copies of Your EndNote Files, your .ENLlibrary file, and its associated .DATA folder and all of its contents.

To save to a compressed library file:
1. Open the library in EndNote.
2. From the File menu, select Compressed Library and then Create.
3. Use the file dialogue box to save to an EndNote Compressed Library. Consider renaming your .ENLX file. Any of the following
characters in the original library filename will be replaced with an underscore in the compressed library filename.

  • \ back slash
  • / forward slash
  • : colon
  • * asterisk
  • ? question mark
  • " quotation mark
  • < less than
  • > greater than
  • | vertical bar

4. Use the Save in option to select  the folder on your computer where it should be saved
5. Click Save.

To restore a compressed library file:
1. Use EndNote (version X or later) to open the .ENLX file, which will extract the .ENL file and the .DATA folder to the same folder where the .ENLX file is located.
2. Use EndNote to open the .ENL file as you normally would to use the library.

Note: When you import your backup copy into EndNote Web, it will put all of your records in the Unfiled folder, regardless of the folders they may have been in when you exported them.  EndNote Web doesn’t always get the information in the right fields.  Look carefully at the Notes field -- you might have to copy & paste information such as publication month into the proper field.

Alternative Ways to Back Up:
When to Use: This alternative way will only create a bibliography of all your references.  You will not be able to import these files back into your library.  This method will only save your references.  It is the same as the Exporting Your References section above.

1. Under File menu, select Export…
2. Consider renaming your file.
3. Use the Save in option to select the folder on your computer where it should be saved.
4. For Save as Type, select the appropriate format.
5. For Output Style, select the style you want your bibliography to export in.
6. From the Save as Type list at the bottom of the dialogue box, select the type of file to be exported: Text File, Rich Text Format, HTML, or XML.

  • Text File: The Text File export option is suitable for draft purposes or exporting references to be imported into another database.
  • Rich Text Format (RTF): The RTF export is an ideal way to create a free-standing bibliography that can be edited or printed using a word processor. This format can be opened by all popular word processors and preserves font and text style information.
  • HTML: Documents exported in HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) provide an easy way to post reference lists on the World Wide Web. In your Web browser, set encoding to “Unicode-UTF 8” to appropriately display extended Unicode characters in the exported document.
  • XML: The XML option exports in a proprietary EndNote XML format.

7. Click Save.

Subject Guide

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Chuck Huber
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