One of the questions I’m asked most frequently is whether it’s possible for EndNote users to switch easily to Zotero. Yes, it is! The official documentation is a bit overwhelming, so here’s a short guide to explain what you need to do in three easy steps. There’s also a screencast at the end.
1) Specify a new output format in EndNote
This exports your library in a format that can be understood by Zotero.
In EndNote, click Edit on the top menu, then Output Styles, then Open Style Manager.
Keep scrolling down the list of styles until you find one called Refman (RIS) Export (alternatively, pressing the letter r on your keyboard should take you there more quickly).
Check the box next to Refman (RIS) Export, then click the smaller x in the top right-hand corner to close the style manager (don’t click the bigger X, else it’ll close EndNote.
2) Export your EndNote library
Click File then Export and you’ll be prompted to save the file. Make sure it’s somewhere you can easily locate it for the next step. Your desktop is fine. The file type should be Text File (*.txt) and the output style Refman (RIS) Export (the one we just added in the style manager).
By default, it’s set to export only the references you’ve selected in EndNote. As you probably want everything, you should uncheck this box.
Click Save and the file is created for you.
You can now close EndNote.
3) Import into Zotero
In Zotero, click File then Import. Find the file you created in the previous step (it’s called My EndNote Library) then click Open.
Zotero will start importing your EndNote library.
You should now see that Zotero has created a new collection called My EndNote Library, which now contains all your imported items.
Unfortunately, Zotero won’t retain your EndNote groups or file attachments, but this method does save you a lot of inputting. If you’re feeling both brave and geeky, there are some detailed instructions on how to tweak Zotero so that it’ll import your files from EndNote, too.
For a demonstration of exporting from EndNote and importing into Zotero, please watch the screencast below.