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Using Format Paper to format a Rich Text Format (RTF) Document

To format your paper’s citations and bibliography without the Cite While You Write plug-in, use Format Paper. Format Paper works by scanning an RTF document for temporary citations. A new version of your paper is saved with formatted citations and a bibliography.

Before you begin, check that your Format Paper preferences are configured correctly. These preferences, which are available on the Format Paper page, must correlate with your RTF document to properly scan and format your paper.

Writing and Preparing Your Paper

When citing a source in your paper, type the reference information as described below. By default, curly brackets ("{ }") are used but you can customize this delimiter setting as well as others in your Format Paper preferences.

Library Reference Containing: Temporary Citation Layout
Single reference from author {Author's Last Name, Year}
Multiple references from author with same year {Author's Last Name, Title}*
Multiple references within the same citation {First Author's Last Name, Year; Second Author's Last Name, Year}
Anonymous reference with unique year {, Year}
Anonymous reference with nonunique year {,Year, Title}*

* Title field can be replaced with any other field unique to the reference cited.

When you are ready to format your citations and bibliography, save a copy of the file in RTF format. Then return to the EndNote online site to use the Format Paper tool.

Using Format Paper

  1. From the Format tab, click the Format Paper link.
  2. In the File field, click the Browse button to select the RTF document.
  3. Select a bibliographic style from the Bibliographic Style... drop-down list. See Bibliographic Styles Favorites to save favorites.
  4. If desired, check ‘Ignore unmatched citations’ to override notification of unmatched and ambiguous citations. When this is checked, unmatched and ambiguous citations are ignored in the formatted file. When this is not checked, unmatched and ambiguous citations must be corrected in order to format the document.
  5. Click the Format button.
  6. After the formatting is complete, confirm the location and file name to save the newly formatted document.
Note: If your newly formatted file does not contain spacing between the last line of the original document and the bibliography, the desired spacing must be added manually either before or after using Bibliography. This occurs for certain types of word processors.

Unmatched Citations

To correct unmatched citations:

  1. Open the original RTF document.
  2. Locate the unmatched citation(s).
  3. Correct the author’s last name or year of each unmatched citation to match the correct reference in My References.

Ambiguous Citations

To correct ambiguous citations:

  1. Open the original RTF document.
  2. Locate the ambiguous citation(s).
  3. Add information from any other field after the year, such as title (e.g., {Smith, 2003, Learning to Use EndNote}), for each ambiguous citation.

Format Paper Preferences

If you use the Format Paper tool to format RTF documents, you can customize how EndNote online identifies and formats citations and the bibliography.

To view and modify the Format Paper preferences:

  1. From the Format Paper page, click the Show format paper preferences link.
  • Temporary Citation Delimiters - These characters indicate that the enclosed information is a citation that should be formatted. The default temporary citation delimiters are {}.
  • Citation Prefix Marker - This character in a temporary citation indicates that the text preceding the character is prefix text. Using the default "\" character for example, {See \Smith, 1999} will format as (See Smith 1999) when using an author date output style.
  • Indicate Notes with: - The default, "Note:" text within a temporary citation indicates that the citation should be formatted as a note. For example, {Note: The evidence described...} will be formatted as a numbered citation within the text of the document and the note text will appear in the formatted bibliography. This only applies to numbered styles.
  • Merge Duplicates in bibliography - If selected, duplicate citations in a paper will appear as a single entry in the bibliography.
  • Omit Author and/or Year in formatted citation if removed from temporary citation.
  1. Click the Apply button.


A summary of unmatched and/or ambiguous citations will appear if found. Correct all unmatched and ambiguous citations in your original RTF document, then use RTF Formatting.


Documentation Version 3.8.1
This help page last modified 02/12/2014