EndNote shenanigans; solution as bad as the problem

Had to update a reference list in Word using EndNote. Was much more work than it should have been.

First, turned off Track Changes (you never know what it’s going to mess with).

In Endnote Tab in Word, to update bibliography, first needed to convert all citations to unformatted, by Ctrl-A then select EndNote Tab, Convert Citations and Bibliography and then Convert to Unformatted.

Then tried to Update Citations and Bibliography – errors. ‘Update failed’.

Then accepted all changes that included citations (you never know).

Tried to recreate bibliography.

Update failed.

Then made sure all citations were not already superscript (who knows with EndNote?).

Still fell over when ‘updating in-text citations’.

OK, redid Convert to Unformatted: ‘Command failed’.

But they all seemed to be converted.

OK, pasted in original reference list from source document and tried to rerun Update.

‘Command failed’.

Apparently, there can be funny fields hidden in a Word document that can cause this error. So… went to http://endnote.com/kb/81143 which basically says
(1) Back-up your file (2) Convert to unformatted citations (3) Ctrl-A Ctrl-6 (Ctrl-6 unlinks fields, so this so-called solution can damage your document!!!)

Make sure all citations were converted to unformatted before running this! Otherwise, the field-stripping (Ctrl-6) will turn the formatted EndNote cross references into plain text!

Now, did work in that it fixed the EndNote problem – so problem fixed but … since it unlinks fields, it turned the ToC into a box of plain text and turned a whole lot of URLs distributed throughout the document into plain text. So it is a broken solution that only works at the expense of more manual work to then fix the collateral damage.

But it will have to do.

So, steps to update the references when using EndNote:

  1. Unformat citations
  2. Strip out the codes that case errors
  3. Format the references
  4. Fix all the damage done by step 2.
  5. Wish you were still working in a field that used BibTeX.




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About Darren

I'm a scientist by training, based in Australia.

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