Exporting from EndNote to NVivo

In EndNote, all you need to do is open your library and select the papers you wish to export. You can use Ctrl/Command and A to select all, or you can hold Ctrl/command and select individual papers. Papers you have selected will be highlighted in blue. Once you’ve done this, go to File > Export…



Save this as an XML file (Save as type) and keep the output style as Annotated.


You can now head to NVivo to import.


Importing into NVivo

I’ve started a new NVivo 11 Project so I have a blank file ready to go. To bring in all the papers from Endnote, all you need to do is head to Data > From Other Sources > From EndNote…

This will open a dialogue you can use to browse to the file exported from EndNote. Once found, select the XML file and click open:


This will open the import dialogue in NVivo. This has a series of useful tools that will check for existing papers in your project and allow you to specify where you want to store the imported papers. Anything with a PDF (journal articles for example) attached will be imported as an Internal. Anything without a PDF attached (most books for example) will be imported as an External. As this is the first import and the project is literature only, you don’t need to change anything here so click Import.


You’ll see the status of your import reported at the bottom left of the screen. Be patient while it loads:


This should give you an NVivo file with all of the relevant papers for your project.


The official QSR guidelines for this can be found on their online help guide, including instructions for Mendeley, RefWorks and Zotero. Additional guidelines for making this work with EndNote and NVivo on different machines can be  found in the Importing EndNote references in NVivo help guide.

2 thoughts to “Exporting from EndNote to NVivo”

  1. Hi Lee,

    I am new to using NVivo, but have been using Zotero for a while. Could you explain what the benefit of managing collections of papers with NVivo is over Zotero/Endnote/etc.? It appears to me to be a duplication, but then as I said, I am an NVivo virgin…

    1. Hi

      Excellent question! I am just using EndNote here as it is the tool I already use for referencing. For importing bibliographic material into NVivo you can use EndNote, Refworks, Mendley or Zotero. The only problem with RefWorks is that it does not support attaching files as part of the process as they are all stored in the cloud.

      The reason I recommend EndNote is the ‘Find full text feature’. It allows me to export the metadata of 300 articles and it will find the PDFs, download and attach them to my library. When combined with NVivo, this allows me to get 300 classified articles into an NVivo file with 10 minutes work (and an hour of waiting for it to download) – all without any need for me to manually download a single reference. I’m not familiar enough with Zotero to say if it offers similar functionality.

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