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EndNote: Use APA 6th correctly

Guide to using EndNote, software that helps organise your reference sources. Also allows you to create in text citations and a list of references as you type in Microsoft Word.

On Other Pages

Click on the headings below for tips and examples of how to create EndNote records that will produce accurate references in the APA 6th style.

How to Use this Guide

This guide contains very detailed instructions, with examples, for creating EndNote records that produce in text citations and reference list entries conforming as closely as possible to APA 6th style.

  • First: decide what kind of information resource you wish to reference (e.g. book, article, website, etc)
  • Use the links in the box to the left to access the relevant page of this guide
  • On the chosen page, read the general advice at the top of the page
  • Scroll down the 'Tips' table to find a description matching your item
  • When creating your EndNote record, make sure to use the reference type recommended in the table
  • Follow the advice about entering data in specific EndNote fields

DOIs and URLs - Essential Information

  • Where relevant, enter data in only one of these EndNote fields: URL or DOI or Name of Database
  • If an article has a DOI, you should include it in the reference - whether the article is an online or hardcopy (print) version. For tips on finding and using a DOI, click here
  • In your reference list, you should remove the underlining from all URLs because it can hide underscores. It may happen automatically when you create a plain text version of your final Word document (see the box below to find out how to create this). If it does not happen automatically, highlight the reference list and press Ctrl-U twice to remove the underlining
  • For other tips about URLs, click here

EndNote is Not Perfect!

Sometimes, when using EndNote, it proves impossible to produce a reference that conforms exactly to the APA 6th style. Luckily these instances are rare for most writers.

You cannot simply edit the reference list in your Word document when the entries have been created by EndNote because any editing you do will be overwritten by EndNote’s Cite While You Write function whenever a new in text citation is entered in the document.

Do not despair – there is a simple way around this problem. You can create a plain text version of your final Word document. Here is the procedure:

  • Open your document in Word and ensure you have saved your latest editorial changes
  • Choose Convert Citations and Bibliography from the EndNote tab/toolbar
  • Select the option Convert to Plain Text
  • Note: this cannot be undone so EndNote forces you to carry out this operation on a copy of your document. Save this copy with an appropriate filename that clearly distinguishes it you’re your original document
  • Your original document with all of the EndNote references intact will not be altered
  • In the converted document, all EndNote references in your document will be changed into plain text, meaning that from this point on the references can be edited easily by standard word processing methods. Make such changes to the references as are needed and save the document.

Instructions, with screenshots, for this process are provided in Section 11.9 on pages 32-33 of our Using EndNote X6 guides:

Windows version
Mac version