EndNote: Backing Up

Using EndNote to manage your references and format your bibliography

How to back up your library

The best way to back up is to go to File> Compressed Library (.enlx). This command will compress the .enl file and the .Data folder into one .enlx file and you'll be able to save this file to wherever you keep your backups (we recommend an external hardrive for this rather than cloud storage such as Dropbox). 

If you ever need to open the compressed library, just open it as you would any other EndNote library and the EndNote program will extract the library file (.enl) and .Data folder from the compressed file for you. Only do this if you have lost your previous library, otherwise you will end up with duplicate libraries.

  • Tip: You should set reminders for yourself to back up your EndNote library on a regular basis. We recommend once or twice a week.Tip: we recommend you keep ONE library and store all your references in that library. By using the groups feature in Endnote you'll still be able to organise references within the library by paper or topic etc.
  • Tip: we recommend saving your library to your 'My Documents' folder so you can find it easily later on.
  • If you go to the folder where you just saved your library (ideally 'My Documents') you'll notice that two items were created; a file with an EndNote icon and a folder with the same name as the file. If your computer is set to show extensions, the file will have a .enl extension and the folder will have a .Data extension. 
    • Important: It is important to remember that your library is made up of both items, so do not delete the folder as it will eventually store things such as your file attachments, your term lists and your references. Also do not drag the file into the folder, you want to keep this items separate but in the same folder.



Synchronising is the preferred way to backup library and is highly recommended. This should be done as well as backing up your library so you effectively have two back ups if anything ever goes wrong. 

How to sync your library

Go to EditPreferencesSync> Click 'Enable Sync'. 

 Click on Sign Up and follow the steps to create an EndNote account (or link to an existing Endnote Web account)

Only one library can be used – so make it your main library. If you already have references in an EndNote Online account they will also go into your library (make sure you want this!)