Externals are 'proxies' that represent files you cannot import into your project—for example, books and 8mm home movies. You can summarize or describe the files within the external. For example, you might summarize the chapters in a book or describe a scene in a movie. You can then code or annotate this content.

Externals are automatically created when you import bibliographical data from reference management tools.

Create an external

  1. On the Create tab, in the Files group, click External.
  2. Enter a name for the external.
  3. (Optional) Enter a description for the external.
  4. From the Type pop-up menu, select whether the external is:
    • A file stored on your computer—select the file path.
    • A web page—enter the URL.
    • Another type of item that is not accessible electronically, like a book or artifact—specify the physical location of the item in the Location description field.
  5. (Optional) you can choose some pre-formatting options (for example, automatically create chapter headings for a book). From the Contents list, select the type of material you are working with, then select the units for organizing the content, and then enter a start and end range for the units (for example, chapters 1 to 10).
  6. Click OK.

What can I do in an external?

Once you have created content in the external, you can:

  • Code to gather content by theme or topic
  • Annotate to record your thoughts and ideas about the content in your files
  • Create 'see also' links to draw comparisons or connections between files.
  • Link to memos to store insights, interpretations or observations about the content

Open the file linked to the external

  1. Select or open the external.
  2. On the Home tab, in the Item group, click the arrow under Open, and then click Open External File.

Store external files

If you have external files that are linked to files outside of your project (PowerPoint presentations, for example) it is a good idea to store these files in the same Windows folder—then when you copy your project it is easy to copy the folder along with it.