Why should I use EndNote in Word?

Hilary Cadman Update Leave a Comment

For academic and technical editors, EndNote is like pineapple on pizza – you either love it or hate it. I used to fall into the hating category; if a project arrived with references in EndNote or some other reference management program, I promptly contacted the author asking for a plain text version that I could edit. Now, I’m delighted when an author has used EndNote in Word. Here are three reasons why I love EndNote.

Renumbering is easy with EndNote

When a document uses Vancouver style references (i.e. numbered), ensuring the numbers appear sequentially in the text can be difficult and time consuming. This is particularly the case if references need to be added or sections of a document need to be moved during editing. But if the references are in EndNote, they renumber automatically when references are added or deleted, or text is moved.

References are more accurate with EndNote

References inserted manually into a document may be inaccurate; for example, the author may type ‘2019’ for the date when it should be ‘2018’, or may misspell an author’s name. As references are copied from one reference list to another, the errors can multiply (a 2010 study found over 600 different mis-citations for a popular article about biochemistry!). With EndNote, journal articles and books are downloaded directly into the program from source, so the information is more likely to be correct. Also, if all the references are in EndNote, the references listed in the bibliography automatically match the in-text citations.

Changing reference style is simple with EndNote

When a paper is submitted to a journal, the author will format the references to match that journal’s style. If the paper is rejected and the author needs to submit it to another journal that uses a different referencing style, the references will need to be reformatted. Doing this manually is fiddly and time consuming, but updating references in Word with EndNote is a matter of just selecting the appropriate referencing style and pressing a button to apply it to the article.

Is EndNote worth it?

For academic and technical editors, there are many benefits to becoming competent with using EndNote in Word. For example, an editor who understands EndNote:

  • can do a better job of assisting authors who are using EndNote (e.g. by identifying the source of errors in the reference list, so the author can make the changes needed)
  • has a wider range of job opportunities (now that some job listings require the editor to be able to work with EndNote)
  • can save time and improve the quality of the final product, by offering to create an EndNote database if the reference list supplied is inaccurate.


If you’re keen to learn more about tools to help you save time and improve the quality of your editing, you might like to take a look at my courses in PerfectIt, EndNote and a variety of editing tools. You can also book a coaching call with me to hone your skills in MS Word or EndNote.

Hilary CadmanWhy should I use EndNote in Word?

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