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General referencing guidance for University of Exeter students

Referencing Software

There are various software packages that you can use to help compile and manage your references into your own personal database or library. They include templates for many different referencing styles such as MLA and also the preferred styles for many of the leading academic journals. They allow you to import your references directly into your own database from many online sources such as bibliographic databases, electronic journals and library catalogues. They also allow you to work in conjunction with a word processing package to insert in-text citations, your footnotes and bibliography into a document and then automatically format to your preferred style. 

The main packages highlighted here are: Endnote, Endnote Web, Mendeley and Zotero.  Some packages are free, some you need to pay for. It is worth spending some time to find which one best meets your needs as the styles included won’t be exactly the same as the Exeter styles of referencing, and may therefore need to be amended.  

If your discipline requires you to use BibTeX, please use the format generated by that; no further amendments are required. 

Microsoft Word also offers a basic referencing function: if you decide to use this, you will need to check that the references it produces match the formats required by the University of Exeter styles. 

EndNote is a software package that enables you to compile and manage your references, and to use them to automatically create in-text citations and bibliographies as you work on your Word documents.

There are a number of different versions of Endnote

  • Endnote desktop and online - the fully featured version
  • Endnote Online Premium - a premium online version available to all academic users with access to the Web of Science
  • Endnote Basic - a free basic account accessible to all.

You can find out more abut these different versions and compare functionality from the Endnote Online Training & Support site. 

‚ÄčEndNote desktop includes thousands of referencing styles, including all the major referencing systems such as Harvard and MLA, and the preferred styles for the leading academic journals. It is therefore very easy to create citations and bibliographies in the correct style for your purposes. EndNote desktop is installed on the public cluster PCs across our campuses. It is covered by the University’s EndNote Site Licence, which allows installation of the software on any University-owned PC at no further charge per copy. Students and staff can download a 'loan' of EndNote on their personal computers. To find out more and download visit the software service catalogue.

Easy to follow instructions are available to help you set up an Endnote Desktop, Premium or Basic online account.

Training and Help

Comprehensive online help and training is available from Endnote, including videos, getting started guides, comprehensive user guides and more.

You can also use the online training calendar to book on to forthcoming courses or contact which are offered online by Endnote training experts. For technical support, please contact Exeter IT.

Introductory training on using Endnote is also available through LinkedIn Learning. You will need to login using your Exeter email address to set up access.


Finding Full Text 

EndNote can attempt to locate full text files from these sources on the Web (works best on campus).  If found, EndNote downloads and attaches the files to the references.

This will save you some time but be aware that it will find some but not all full text that you are entitled to. You should use LibrarySearch to check whether you have access to a particular book or journal titles, if Endnote is unable to retrieve full text for you.

You should check the Full Text settings and add the information below.

Select Edit > Preferences > Find Full Text and then add the following information as shown in the Preferences box below.  The full OpenURL path is listed here for copying and pasting in:

OpenURL path


If you are on campus, you can then select references and choose the Find Full Text option.  Either select records and then right click and choose Find Full Text, or highlight records and choose References > Find Full Text > Find Full Text

Off campus

For this function to work effectively off campus, you need to use VPN.  If you are a registered user of the University IT facilities, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection will allow you to access the University network from home or from any other location with an internet connection. 

Follow the online guidance in order to set up VPN access.

You must ensure you connect via VPN before asking Endnote to Find Full text.


Mendeley - is both a free reference manager and an academic social network designed to help researchers find and work with collaborators. Although you do have to download the program, it is free and web-based. This means you are not restricted to working on any single computer and have access to your data from anywhere in the world as it is stored remotely. Although you can link to any of the usual sources for your bibliographic data, the program extracts metadata from any documents you download and allows you to search the full text of PDFs you have collected. Mendeley sits as an icon on your desktop. There is a Mendeley Quick Start Guide available.

Mendeley and Word 365

You may find that you are unable to install the Mendeley plug-in in Word. This third party add-on is currently blocked by IT for security reasons.

The alternative is to use the Mendeley Web version and the built-in citation tool within Word - please see the instructions below for further details.


Using Mendeley Web with Word's built-in citation tool


1. Export your references from your Mendeley Web Library:

  • Open your Mendeley Web Library.

  • Select the references you want to export.

  • From the options at the bottom of the screen, select Export and then Microsoft Word (*.xml).


2. Import your references into the Microsoft Word Citation Manager:

  • Go to “References” and in the 'Citations and Bibliography' section, click on Manage Sources.

  • Click on Browse, navigate to the file you just downloaded and click on OK.

  • Your references will appear in the left hand pane. Select the reference(s) you wish to use and click on Copy, so they appear in the right hand pane. 

  • Click on Close.


3. Insert references into your document:

  • In the 'Citations and Bibliography' section, click on Insert Citation.

  • Select your reference from the list.

Zotero is a free, open-source research tool that helps you collect, organize, and analyze research and share it in a variety of ways. Zotero includes the best parts of older reference manager software — the ability to store author, title, and publication fields and to export that information as formatted references — and the best aspects of modern software and web applications, such as the ability to organize, tag, and search in advanced ways. Zotero interacts seamlessly with online resources: when it senses you are viewing a book, article, or other object on the web, it can automatically extract and save complete bibliographic references. Zotero effortlessly transmits information to and from other web services and applications, and it runs both as a web service and offline on your personal devices.

Comprehensive online support is available - via Zotero Support.


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