References from reference management tools

If you conduct a literature review using a reference management tool such as EndNote, Zotero, RefWorks or Mendeley, you can import the references into NVivo. Export to RIS or XML file format to import into NVivo.

If you start by collecting your bibliographical data in NVivo, when you are ready to write up your findings, you can export this data to a reference management tool. NVivo can export to RIS or TXT file format.

Import references

  1. On the Data tab, in the Import group, click Bibliographic Data, and then choose an option.
  2. Locate and select the file you want to import, and then click Open.
  3. Review the default import options and make any required changes.
  4. Click OK.


  • The file description can only store 512 characters. If the abstract is important to you, you should select to create memos from abstract, keywords and notes, so that the full abstract is imported into a memo. Storing the abstract in a memo is also a good idea, if you want to code and query the text of the abstract.
  • If you want to import file attachments and figures from EndNote, make sure the EndNote reference library is available on your computer (or on a network drive), so that NVivo can extract the files and figures.
  • Files attached using the RefWorks 'attachment feature' (available with institutional licenses only) cannot be exported from RefWorks via the RIS file, so they cannot be imported into NVivo.
  • References without file attachments, URLs or figures are imported into NVivo as external files. References with associated files can be imported as internal files.