Converting an EndNote Database to BibTeX

During a recent LaTeX introductory workshop, many participants said that they’re very much looking forward to using LaTeX for their future writings, but mentioned that there didn’nt seem to be an obvious way of porting their existing EndNote bibliography libarary into BibTeX format.

EndNote does have an “Export BibTeX” filter, but it doesn’t seem to generate satisfactory BibTeX files. After some googling, I found Bevan Weir’s customised export filter, which does a much better job than EndNote’s default. I modified his filter file a little bit more, and was able to convert an EndNote bibliography library to BibTeX with the following steps.

I tested this with EndNote X5 on the Mac, with JabRef 2.7, but they should also work with Windows versions. %ENDNOTE% refers to the path where EndNote is installed on your system.

  1. Put BibTeX_Export_LLT.ens (download) in %ENDNOTE%/Styles/ .
  2. Start EndNotes, and load your library.
  3. Make sure the new style is listed:
    Edit > Output Styles > Open Style Manager
    Make sure BibTeX_Export_LLT is checked.
  4. File > Export
    Make sure Save File as Type is set to Text Only, and Output Style is set to BibTeX_Export_LLT.
  5. Save your file and check that it has a .bib extension.
  6. Open the exported .bib in JabRef. There will be a whole bunch of errors about corrupted or empty BibTeX keys; don’t worry. Just click OK.
  7. Ctrl+A to select all the BibTeX entreis, Tools > Autogenerate BibTeX keys.
  8. Check through the BibTeX entries, especially those highlighted red, to check and correct any crucial information loss.

And hopefully the converted bibliography file is now usable enough.

7 thoughts on “Converting an EndNote Database to BibTeX

  1. Hi, I'm not really understand the step 1, I download the style and then run. Unfortunately when i move to step 3, I only found BibTex Export style instead of BibTex_Export_LLT.
    How to solve it? BTW I'm using windows platform

  2. Hi SyAMY, if your EndNote is installed in C:Program FilesEndNote (for example), you will need to put the downloaded BibTeX_Export_LLT.ens file in C:Program FilesEndNoteStyles.

  3. Ok thanks… I pass till step 4, then on step 5 I don't have .bib file, endnote convert to .txt only. I tried to open the txt file with jabref but error occurred.

  4. You can check using Notepad whether the contents of your .txt file are already BibTeX entries. If it is, then just rename your .txt file to .bib, and then open in jabref.

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