Searching PubMed

Manage Your PubMed Search Results

You have several options in PubMed for managing your search results. You can save articles temporarily or permanently within PubMed, export articles out of PubMed, and even save your search strategies. 

The options for saving your results are below the search box and above your search results. 

Options for managing search results in PubMed

Select Articles

When reviewing search results, you can choose to select individual articles by clicking on the checkboxes next to each article title or you can select all articles in your search results by not selecting any individual articles. 

Select individual articles in PubMed search results

If you select individual articles using the checkboxes, only those articles will be saved for later using the method you'll choose in the next step. If you do not select any individual articles, PubMed will let you save all the articles from your search results, so you'll save dozens or hundreds of results at once.  

Save

The Save button is an option to save citations to a file and allow you to export the article citation record(s) to a file that can be imported into your citation/reference management software program (e.g. EndNote) or opened as a CSV file in Excel. However, it only sends the article citation(s) or abstract(s) to a file, it does not send links to the full-text of the article(s).

The Save citations to file option in PubMed

The Save option has two default settings. Be sure to review these settings to make sure you receive the content you want.

  • Selection: You can choose to save All Results On This Page (the 20-100 articles currently visible), All Results from all pages, or Selection (the individual articles you've selected). 
  • Format: You can choose the format of the exported file. Summary format only includes citation information in a plain text file. Abstract format includes more information in the text file. PubMed format is the format you want to choose if you're planning to import the file into EndNote or another citation manager. CSV will create a spreadsheet of the articles' citation information in Excel. 

Once you have created the file, your internet browser will download it and you can then open it. Note, if you've chosen the PubMed format you will need to import the file into a citation manager in order to review the citations. Also, these exported files will not have links back to the articles in PubMed, in most cases. You will need to use the Single Citation Matcher or look up the articles in the PubMed search if you want to see them in PubMed again. 

Email

The Email option will send the article record(s) to the email address of your choice. However, it only sends the article citation(s) or abstract(s), it does not send links to the full-text of the article(s).

The PubMed Email button

The Email option has several default settings. Be sure to review the default settings to make sure you receive the content you want.

  • Selection: You can choose to send All results on this page, All results from all pages, or Selection (the individual articles you've selected). 
  • Format: You can choose the format you wish the email to be in. Summary format only includes citation information. Abstract format includes more information, including the abstract or article summary in the email.

Once you open the Emailed Article Record(s) in PubMed: 

  • Non-text Summary or Abstract emailed article records will have a link to the content in PubMed. First open a library link to PubMed in your email program's default browser (for example, Internet Explorer or Firefox). Then click on the link to the article record in your email. You should see the Find @ UNC button on the article record in PubMed.
  • You can also use the PMID# in an emailed article record to search for it in PubMed.

The "Send to" Options

Clicking on Send to gives you four additional options for saving your search results. The first three options all save article citations within PubMed (Clipboard, My Bibliography, Collections) and the fourth (Citation Manager) is another option for exporting results to citation/reference management software.

Clipboard

The Clipboard provides temporary storage for selected items. It allows you to save citations from various searches so that you can look over them at once and decide which to read or you can move them all to more permanent storage in one step.

To add items to the Clipboard, click on Send to and then on Clipboard. A green message will show up indicating how many items were added to your clipboard. Any articles placed on the clipboard will then have a notice below them on the search results page saying "Item in Clipboard," so you can see if you've already added an article. 

Items added to Clipboard notice in PubMed

The link to access your Clipboard and all articles placed there is below the search box and above the Send to box. 

At the end of your search session, click on the Clipboard link to go to the Clipboard page, review your selected articles, and use the Send to options on the Clipboard page to move your selections to a permanent place.

My Bibliography

The My Bibliography feature in PubMed allows you to save a list of the citations of your authored papers. It is not meant as a literature review tool for citing other's publications. My Bibliography can be used to keep a record of your publications or to help manage compliance to federally funded research requirements. 

To add items to My Bibliography, click on Send to and then on My Bibliography. If you are not signed in, you will be prompted to sign in to your My NCBI account in PubMed. For information about My NCBI or to learn how to create a My NCBI account go to the My NCBI page in this guide. 

Once you are signed in to your My NCBI account, you will be prompted on your search results page to add your selected citation(s) to My Bibliography. Clicking add saves the citation(s). 

Selecting an article to add to My Bibliography in PubMed 

Collections

Collections are a permanent version of the PubMed Clipboard. Saving citations to collections permanently saves a selection of articles within your My NCBI account.

To save articles to a collection, click on Send to and then on Collections. If you are not signed in, you will be prompted to sign in to your My NCBI account in PubMed. For information about My NCBI or to learn how to create a My NCBI account go to the My NCBI page in this guide. 

Once you are signed in to your My NCBI account, you will be prompted on your search results page to add your selected citation(s) to either a brand new Collection or to a Collection you previously created.

Adding citations to a new Collection in PubMed

The Add to Collections options let you select what articles to add to the Collection and let you choose which existing Collection, if any, to add them to. Or, you can create and name a new Collection. Once you'e saved the citations to your Collection by clicking Add, you can continue searching or view/edit your new collection by clicking on Edit your collection in the temporary green box. 

View or edit your new Collection in PubMed

To retrieve your collection when you start your next PubMed session, click on the My NCBI Sign In link at the very top of the right hand side of the screen. After you sign in, click on your user name next to the My NCBI Sign Out to access your collection.

"Send to" Citation Manager

The "Send to" Citation Manager option formats a file to download for import into a citation manager such as EndNote. To save articles to a citation manager file, click on Send to and then on Citation Manager.

The HSL citation manager guides provide more instructions on adding citations from databases to the software programs.