Import bibliographies

You can import bibliographic references and related source files from Citavi, Mendeley, EndNote, Zotero, and RefWorks:

  • referenced source files present in (or linked to from) the originating reference management tools are imported as data files

  • references without linked source files have externals automatically created for them Externals

  • the bibliographic reference data is imported as file classification attribute values for the data files or externals Classifications

  • reference abstracts, keywords and notes can be imported into linked memos (in addition to becoming attribute values, in the case of abstracts and keywords).

Bibliography reference files in RIS or XML format can be imported.

If files referenced in an imported bibliography are already in your NVivo project, the relevant references are not imported.

Import references

  1. On the Import tab, in the Bibliography menu, select the reference management tool you want to import references from.
  2. Locate the file to import, and open into the Import Bibliographic Data Assistant.
  3. Set the import options:
    1. Name files by Select how imported data files and automatically created externals are named—by title or author and year.
    2. Assign files to Select to assign all imported bibliographical data to the Reference classification (recommended), or to different classifications according to the data type, e.g. journal article, book.
    3. (Step 2) Select folders to place imported data files and automatically created externals.
    4. Select whether to import referenced source files.
    5. Select whether to create memos from reference abstracts, keywords and notes.
  4. Click OK.


  • File descriptions are only 512 characters. To ensure complete reference abstracts are imported, select to create memos during import. This also allows you to code and query 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.