Should you use Endnote, Sciwheel, or Zotero?

Last reviewed July 2021

EndNote, Sciwheel, and Zotero are comparable on some but not all major features. Choose based on those most important to you, but keep in mind that these citation managers are all interoperable, so you can always switch to a new one. Note that HSLS does not support Mendeley; if you are interested in that citation manager, please see ULS's Mendeley guide.

Comparison of EndNote, Sciwheel, and Zotero
EndNote Sciwheel Zotero
Website EndNote.com sciwheel.com zotero.org
Where to get it Pitt's Software Download Service HSLS A-Z Databases zotero.org
Library help guides

EndNote (HSLS)

EndNote @ Pitt (ULS)

Sciwheel (UNC) What is Zotero? (NYU Libraries)
Access to your references                             References available on computers that have access to your library and the EndNote desktop program installed. EndNote Online provides web access to your references, but can only be synched with one library at a time. Web-based, so you can access your references as long as you have internet. Available wherever you have web access and on computers with the desktop application installed, which can be synched Zotero web library.
Cost Free for Pitt faculty, students. $50 for staff. Free for Pitt/UPMC Free up to 300MB storage

Search databases directly from the reference manager?

(Note: You can also search databases directly, then send your results to your reference manager.)

Yes. Search PubMed and some HSLS subscription resources (i.e. Web of Science) directly from within EndNote. Using the Word plug-in search PubMed from inside Word. Can also look up articles via DOI, PMID, ISBN, or URL. No, but can look up a known item by ISBN, DOI, PMID, or ArXiv ID.  
Download references easily from PubMed search? Yes. Download using PubMed's Send to Citation Manager option. Yes, use the browser plug-in to select articles. Yes. Download .nbib file type and import into Zotero OR use Zotero Connector (browser plug-in).
PMCIDs included in citation records? Yes. Yes. Yes.
Ability to find and remove duplicate citations? Yes, using user criteria to define duplicates. Removal can be done automatically or manually. Yes, can find and merge duplicates. Yes, can find and merge duplicates.
Works with Word to insert formatted citations into your document? Yes, using Cite While You Write (CWYW) in Word. CWYW is automatically installed when you get EndNote. Yes, using the Word plug-in. Yes, using the Word plug-in.
Works with Google Docs? Yes, as long as you also have Word. Drag and drop citations from EndNote desktop into your Google Doc. Then download as RTF, open in Word, and click update citations in the CWYW tab. Yes, a plug-in allows you to insert citations and search PubMed. Yes, Zotero Connector now includes Google Docs support for Chrome and Firefox.
Edit existing citation styles or create your own Yes. Can also download additional styles from EndNote. Yes, using Citation Style Language (CSL). Yes, using CSL. Zotero provides documentation on how to use CSL.
PDF storage capacity Not limited by program itself, though your computer or server may have limited storage capacity. Unlimited. Up to 300MB for free; paid account allow greater storage. Option to store PDFs in the cloud and link to them in order to maximize space.
Automatic renaming of stored PDFs Yes. You can tell EndNote to automatically rename downloaded PDFs using your choice of elements (such as author, year, title). No. PDFs are web-based, though you can download them from F1000 if you want. Yes, but only with the ZotFile plug-in.
Annotate PDFs? Yes. Yes (and webpages as well). No.
Find full-text Yes. No. No.
Can you share references with others? Yes. You can sync and share one library with other EndNote users, share groups using EndNote online, or create a compressed library to share. Yes. Make a Shared Project and invite others. You can upload shared manuscripts and create shared notes as well. Yes, using Group Libraries.
Includes research discovery tools No.   Yes, suggests articles on your dashboard. Also suggests citations in the Word plug-in. No.
Includes social networking features No.  No. Yes. When you create an online account, you are given a profile. You can search for other people. Zotero.org also has very active forums for users.
Features for accessibility ADA compliant; see the report from EndNote for details. Should work with browser accessibility add-ons. Works with screenreaders; allows users to enlarge text and use keyboard navigation. Additional free plug-ins are available to further enhance accessibility.
Supported by HSLS? Yes Yes Yes