How Do I Import From Another Reference Manager?

Easily import your library from another reference manager into Papers. To begin, launch the Papers desktop application for Mac or Windows and select "Add" and "Import Files"

From there, you'll see options to import directly from EndNote, Zotero, and Mendeley:

In this menu you will also see import options for other library file types such as .bib and .ris

Please follow the guide below to import from additional reference managers using the file format above:


Select the references you would like to export. Select "Export" from the "References" menu. Select BibTeX as Export Format and click on "Export References". Take the .bib export file and drag it into Papers import it by clicking the "Add+" button in the top bar of the library window and browse to select the BibTeX file. 


First, go to "Attachments" in the left menu of Bookends. Select any attachment in the list and right-click and select "Show attachment in Finder". This will open the folder where all of your PDFs are stored. Select all of the physical PDFs from that folder and drag those into the Papers app.  Next, go to "Hits" in the left menu and select the references.  Go to File > Export References (Hits) in the top menu bar and select export type as XML. In the Papers desktop app, click on "Add+" in the top bar of the library window and browse to select the XML file.


Go to Settings > Export to export your complete library to RIS or BibTeX. Drag the metadata file into your Papers library window or use the "Add+" button at top of the library to add select the file from your desktop. If you also store PDFs in Paperpile, you will want to download those PDFs locally or use the Google Drive desktop file manager to view them on your desktop. Select and drag the local PDFs into the app to match the PDFs with the metadata.


Open SciWheel in your browser. Select all the citations in your library by clicking on "All References" in the sidebar, checking the box under "All" to select citations, then selecting "All References" from the drop-down menu. Once selected, click the icon two buttons over that looks like a box with an arrow pointing inside of it. Then select "Export as..." from the drop-down menu. Next, name your file and select the RIS format from the dropdown menu. Select "Download File". The file will automatically go to your "Downloads" folder. You can drag the RIS file into the Papers library view to import or use the "Add+" button at the top to select the downloaded file from your "Downloads" folder.

Please note:

  • Your folder structure from your old reference manager will not carry over. That data is not included in export files. To keep your library structure, create a new list in Papers by clicking on the cog icon next to "My Papers" and selecting the "Create list" option. Then export the contents of specific folders from your original reference manager using the steps above.

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(updated March 22nd, 2024)

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