Library Sharing, External links

PDFs External Links

Library sharing allows a user to share their full library with colleagues in real-time but a large number of PDFs or attachments with large file sizes can slow the process for all users or cause the entire syncing process to stall.

Using EndNote's Absolute linking will NOT sync to the 'shared' users.

If we want to share a library with absolute links to the attachments, we have to copy a link or URL to another field such as the Label or Notes field. This will not allow us to use EndNote to annotate or make notes on the PDFs.

Basically you need to start with this workflow. EndNote can convert Absolute links to Relative but not the other way around.

If you already have a large library with relative links it is possible to move the PDFs and make a link.

You can check your library to see if you have any file attachments that exceed a certain size:

Make a back-up: Remember only the library owner can make a back-up of a 'shared' library. Open Explorer (Finder on the Mac), navigate to the location where the library is saved. Open the LibraryName.Data folder > PDF Folder. Use the search functions to check on the file sizes inside the PDF folder.

Check PDF

In the above example, we are looking for any files inside the PDF folder that are greater then 5MB.

Here is a screenshot on a Mac using Finder, open up the .Data > PDF folder then > File > Find:

Mac Find

If there are some very large files, consider saving to a shared network or cloud drive and using a link to the file in the reference and remove the PDF from the reference in the library. You can make a note of the PDF, find in your library and then save the PDF to another location and remove from the library.

You can copy a URL link or a path to the file from a shared folder, then paste the link into a field in your reference. You may have to set up sharing if you are using an Online Cloud drive like Dropbox.

Share URL

The issue here is that we are unable to paste a link to the File Attachment field. We could use the URL field but this is generally used as an output in the bibliography. Better to paste the link in a Notes field.


If you want to use a custom field you will need to modify your reference type table and that of your users. Possible but adds another layer of complexity to the procedure.

If the user has the required permission to the path, they will be able to open the PDF by following the link.

The permission settings on your Cloud Drive will determine the editing capabilities for the PDFs for each user.

Remember: Using Find Full Text will automatically attach the PDFs to the library as relative links. If you want to keep all the attachments as abolute you will need to save to the 'shared' folder, (References menu > File Attachments > Save As..), and add URL / Link and remove from the reference.