RIS Files On A Personal Computer

A Guide To Opening RIS Files On A Personal Computer

Opening a RIS file extension on your personal computer is a straightforward process if you have the right program. However, if your personal computer doesn’t have a program compatible with the RIS format, opening such a file becomes a nightmare. If you have trouble opening a file with the RIS extension on your computer, this article is an eye-opener as it guides you step-by-step and simplifies the entire process of accessing your file. 

What Is RIS File Extension?

A RIS file has cited publications and their references saved in a text format. The format used was developed by the Research Information System (RIS) in 2008 to standardize data transfer among numerous citation software apparatuses.

It is important to note that all RIS files are limited to 1MB, and they use human-readable syntax; hence you can open them using any available text editor.

A single RIS file might contain information about one publication or more. Referencing publications in RIS files use tags. Below are the tags:

1. TY- Type of Publication.

2. ER- Newline, transition to subsequent publication.

How Unique Is RIS File Format?

RIS extension Files have a unique format with a 6 character structure in each new line. The first 2 characters define the type of field. Two white space characters follow the first two characters, then a hyphen and a white space character.

Which Programs Are Compatible With RIS File Extension?

There are several software programs that can open RIS files. If you use windows, ensure you have EndNote and Reference manager programs. MAC OS users should have BibDesk, Wandora, and EndNote, while Linux uses Wandora to open RIS file extensions.

A Guide To Opening A File With RIS Extension Using EndNote Software

 EndNote Software

If you encounter a problem while opening a RIS file, numerous factors could be involved. However, such issues are easily solved without involving an IT technician. Here is a simplified guide to help you solve the problem.

1. Download And Install EndNote Software

In most cases, opening RIS file extensions become problematic due to the lack of an ideal program that handles the format. If you are using mac OS or Windows and experience this problem, downloading and installing the EndNote program is the perfect solution. Other programs used for mac OS and Linus are BibDesk and Wandora.

Download Endnote safely by visiting the developer’s authentic website (Thomson Reuters) and using the available links to download the program.

2. Update The EndNote Version

Have you installed EndNote, and you are unable to access RIS files? Breathe easy. Your software could be outdated. Check to ensure that it is up to date. Software developers tend to introduce new formats alongside their latest versions.

If your downloaded EndNote version is not up to date, it might not be compatible with the RIS file format. Thus the solution here is to update the EndNote to the latest version, and you are sorted.

3. Assign Endnote To The RIS Files

After downloading and updating the EndNote Program to the latest version, there is a possibility that RIS file extensions might not open successfully. If such is the case, ensure you assign the files to the program. 

Assigning the files to EndNote is hassle-free as the process is system-independent.

Here is how to assign EndNote to RIS files for Windows:

1. Start with right-clicking the RIS file and selecting the ‘open with’ option.

2. Navigate to ‘Choose another app’ or ‘more apps.’

3. Go to ‘choose another app on this PC’ and select the EndNote folder. For easy reuse, ensure you select the ‘Always use this app to open RIS files’ icon and click OK to confirm your selection

For MAC OS users, follow the following process to assign EndNote to RIS files:

1. Start with right-clicking the RIS file and choosing the Information icon.

2. Choose the ‘open with’ option.

3. Navigate to the EndNote icon, and click the ‘Change for all” option. – you will get a message on your window confirming that the change initiated will apply to all RIS extension files. To confirm your selection, click ‘Continue.’

4. Ensure EndNote Is Not Faulty

If you have used the first three steps and the issue is unsolved, the remaining option is checking to ensure that your RIS file extension is faultless.

Here is how to ensure that the RIS extension file is not faulty:

Check To Ensure The File Is Not Damaged Or Corrupted

If your RIS file is inaccessible after trying all remedies, check to confirm that it is not damaged or corrupted. When downloading the file from the internet, errors might occur, leading to an incomplete file. Such a file cannot open. The only solution is to download the file again.

Alternatively, if you obtained the file from third parties, there is a possibility that the file might be incomplete due to an error that occurred during the copying process. Request to be supplied with another undamaged file.

Check For Virus Or Malware

If the RIS file extension is infected, the malware blocks it from opening. In such a scenario, you can choose to scan the file by antivirus software, or better still, scan the entire system to ensure its safety.

Do You Have Privileged Access?

Some RIS files are accessible to privileged users only. If such is the case, you require access rights to open the file. You can remedy this situation by switching to a privileged account and opening the RIS file again.

Ensure The System Has Enough Resources

If your PC doesn’t have enough resources, it will be challenging to run the EndNote program. To remedy such a situation, close all applications and open the file again.

Update Operating System And Drivers

Ensure that your system drivers are up-to-date. Outdated drivers hinder peripheral devices that handle Research Information System file extensions. An updated system and drivers ensure that your PC is secure and may help you solve opening RIS extension files.

Fix RIS File Errors

Sometimes the Research Information System can be inaccessible due to deleted registry from your computer. This issue is common in old computers that have seen usage over time. If such computers don’t receive appropriate maintenance, they become problematic.

You may consider downloading and installing the RIS repair tool. The repair tool is designed to identify and fix numerous Windows issues. It also enhances system performance by optimizing memory and fine-tuning your PC for optimal reliance.

How To Import RIS Files And Assign Them To EndNote

If you desire to open your RIS files effortlessly, you should import and associate them with EndNote. In some instances, you may import RIS files into EndNote, but they remain unrecognized by the program. In such cases, the files are saved on the hard drive.

For the smooth opening of RIS files, ensure they are associated with EndNote. Here is how you will import and associate RIS Files to various devices:

Windows 7/8

1. Navigate to the control panel ( alternatively, you can hit the Windows key, then type ‘control’ to be linked to the control panel).

2. Select default programs.

3. Choose ‘Associate a file protocol with a program.

4. Check the list to identify the extension you desire to change and double-click on the Endnote icon. If endnote doesn’t feature in the list of programs, choose the ‘other’ option, and scroll to the executable section for EndNote.

Microsoft Windows XP/2000

Importing and associating RIS file extensions with windows XP/2000 is straightforward. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Start with opening my computer or explorer.

2. Proceed by clicking the tools menu as well as folder options.

3. Choose file type.

You can add a new file type by:

1. Clicking the new button.

2. Type the name of the file extension and click Ok.

Mac OS

The process of importing and associating RIS file extensions on a mac OS is hassle-free. It only takes five simple steps, and your issue is fixed. Here are the steps:

1. Start with pressing control and clicking on the downloaded RIS file. Click on the ‘Get info’ option that pops up on the menu.

2. Go to the ‘Open with’ section and select the EndNote app from the folder

3. Go to the ‘Options’ button displayed on the left side corner and select ‘Always open with’ for the selected application, and add it by clicking ‘Add.’

4. Click the ‘change all’ button.

5. You will receive a warning asking, ‘are you sure you want to change all similar documents to open with the application EndNote? – When you get this warning, click the ‘continue’ button.

If you follow the above steps religiously, all files with the RIS extension will be associated with the EndNote program; hence opening them becomes more straightforward.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can RIS Files Be Converted To PDF? 

Yes. You can convert RIS files to a PDF format. The advantage of converting RIS files to PDF format is that you maintain universality, high-quality resolution, and compactness.


RIS files feature a sophisticated technology developed by the Research Information System with the primary goal of implementing citation features and references quickly and hassle-free. Opening files in the RIS extension format is straightforward if you have the right software program on your PC. Some of the programs that open the files include Endnote (for Windows and mac OS), BibDesk (for mac OS), and Wandora (for mac OS and Linux).