Saving an Endnote Library

Many MSK staff favor Endnote as their citation management software. Saving an Endnote Library is one of the issues that requires special attention from the Endnote user.

In the desktop version of EndNote, a Library is saved with the extension .enl after its name, and its associated Data folder, with the extension .Data after its name. (NOTE: On Mac computers there is also an option to save your Library as a .enpl file, which combines both the library and the data file into one.)

The Library contains the records and the Data folder is intended for PDFs of the full text associated with the Endnote Library records, as well as anything inserted into the Image field of a reference. Even if no PDFs or images are available, the Data folder will still be there; however a Data folder should never be deleted. Data folders should never be moved or copied without first compressing them into a .enlx file. From there, the compressed zip file can be moved, copied, and shared.

Endnote library (.enl), associated data folder (.Data) and the compressed zip file of both (.enlx)

It is important to know that saving an Endnote Library to any network drive does not work well. There is a very high chance of getting a pop-up Damaged Library message at some point if the Library is saved to any drive other than your local drive, i.e. to your computer. On a PC you may consider This PC>Documents for saving an Endnote Library. If you want to save a Library to a network drive for better security you can save a backup copy either as a Compressed Library as explained above or by using the Endnote File>Save a Copy feature. You can save the backup copy to your personal drive or, as a Read Only copy, to a shared drive for your collaborators’ use (but not for their adding/removing the content). As an alternative, instead of using a shared drive for sharing your Endnote Library with others, you can use the Endnote Online companion to your desktop Endnote for collaboration.


  • Don’t save an Endnote Library to a network drive.
  • Never delete the .Data folders associated with Endnote Libraries.
  • Don’t try moving the Library separately from its Data Folder, use the Compressed Library feature instead.