Reference management software

A reference management software is a useful tool for academic writing – for students as well as researchers. Regardless of whether you are writing a short piece of work or an academic article, you will need to refer to other research in accordance with a specific citation style; something that is complicated and time-consuming if done manually.

A private secretary? Well, that would be one way to describe a reference management software.

Basically it involves systematically gathering, organising, reading and citing other research of various types while you are studying or conducting research. By creating a system for this, you will above all save time and avoid doing the same job twice. Hopefully, systematic collection of literature makes the research process more structured and transparent. Ultimately, this system can also prevent inadvertent plagiarism.

A reference management software helps you to:

  • collect references to articles, books, reports, etc.,
  • save and organise references in a library,
  • import references into your text in Word, and
  • create correct citations and reference lists consistent with various citation styles.



Endnote is a stand-alone piece of software that can be downloaded to your computer, currently in version X9. The paid-for version of this software is mainly used by doctoral students and researchers who have greater functionality, performance and flexibility requirements, as opposed to the simpler online version. Endnote also has an iPad app.

Employees of KI who want to install Endnote need to contact the license representative at their department, who will download the software from the Uppsala University software server and take care of administrative matters. There is no general Endnote license for KI, as there is at other universities. To a certain extent, this reflects an ambition to be software neutral, and that it is up to the individual researcher and/or department to decide which software they want to use.

Most things you need to know about Endnote can be found in our Endnote X9 guide.

In addition, there is plenty of information on the Endnote website, where you can also download style templates for thousands of different journals.

If you would like to buy Endnote for your personal use, you are directed to the company Alfasoft.

Endnote Online

Please note! Some users are experiencing problems while trying to access Endnote Online, instead go via the database Web of Science. In Web of Science, click on “Tools” in the right hand section of the menu above the search box (see image) and then click on the topmost alternative “EndNote”. Now, hopefully, you will be able to log in to EndNote Online!

Endnote Online is, as its name suggests, a cloud-based version of Endnote, which can currently be used free of charge. However, as a student or researcher at KI you are given access to additional functions. Use this log in button:

Create an account / Log in to Endnote Online

Because the software is cloud-based, you access it via a web browser, which can be an advantage compared to the Endnote program as this is tied to a specific computer. However, in both cases you do need to download an add-on for Word, which is used to import references into your text.

All you need to know in order to get started with Endnote Online is included in our Endnote Online Guide

KI reference styles

In EndNote Online you have access to modified APA and Vancouver styles.

  • APA 6th KI eng
  • Vancouver KI

In the KI APA style it is possible to include retrieval date for online resources. This is not possible in the standard APA style in Endnote Online. In the KI Vancouver style, we have excluded some redundant information, such as ”Epub”. We have also added a hanging indent in the reference list. You have access to the KI reference styles only if you created your account use the link above.

If you have the Endnote desktop version installed on your computer you can download the output style Vancouver KI (.ens-file).


Zotero is a free reference management software. You download it as a plugin to your web browser and to your word processing software. Zotero is compatible with Word, LibreOffice and Google Docs. 

You can easily save your references to Zotero with a small icon in the address bar of your browser. Just click on the icon and Zotero will save your references from books, articles, web pages and other kinds of sources. Your Zotero library is stored locally on your computer but by syncing it you will access it from many computers. 

Which software should I choose?

There is an abundance of reference management software to choose between. The table below contains a comparison of Endnote, Endnote Online, Zotero and Papers. They have different advantages and are used by both students and researchers.

Endnote Endnote Online Zotero Papers
Primary target group Researcher Student Student Researcher
Free Not free Free Free Not free
Compatible with Word Word Word, Open Office, Google Docs Word
Apps Yes No No Yes
Include fulltext PDF Yes, also automatically Yes Yes Yes
Annotation in PDF's Yes No No Yes
Collaboration To a certain pont Yes, share groups of references Yes, share groups of references ?
Journal titles Automatic abbreviation No Automatic No
Edit / create styles Yes Not as an end user, but the library can edit styles through an admin account Yes Create, but not edit styles

If you want to know more there is more detailed information on each program's website. In addition you can in most cases download a free trial version.

The library at Imperial College, London, provides a more comprehensive comparison


Students can get help with Endnote Online at the library.

Closed for the summer. Opens again on 16 August.
08-524 84 000

Researchers at KI can get help with Endnote from the Library Publication Support.

Mon–Fri 9:00–16:00
08-524 84 000


Many undergraduate programs offers an integrated course in Endnote Online. This will be shown in your regular schedule.

Introductory courses in Endnote, which is open to all interested, regardless of connection to KI, are also offered on a regular basis in Swedish or English. We also offer basically the same introductory course in different doctoral programs. Look in our calendar to see when these courses are being held.

We also organise courses to specific groups, for example departments at KI or government agencys.

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