Vancouver style

What is the Vancouver style?

The Vancouver style of referencing (also known as the Uniform Requirements style) is the style most commonly used in medicine and the biomedical sciences.  If you are using EndNote, Vancouver is one of the styles that comes with the program. This page contains basic information only. Additional information is available from Uniform Requirements page on the site of the US National Library of Medicine.

In text referencing

References in your text should be identified by numbers in brackets. The number originally assigned to a reference should be re-used if that reference is cited again later in the text. If you are citing multiple references at a given point in your text, these should be separated by a hyphen in the case of inclusive numbers (eg. 5-7), or commas in the case of non-inclusive numbers (eg. 8,10,12).

Take care to place citation numbers at the point of most relevance within the sentence. As a general rule, reference numbers should be placed outside of full-stops and commas, and inside of colons and semicolons.

Reference lists

This should only contain references to those works which you have cited in your text. It should appear at the end of your text. It should be arranged numerically by citation number.


This should contain references to those works which you consulted for the purposes of writing your essay or report, but which you did not cite directly in your text. These should be listed alphabetically by author's surname, or title, if no author is given. In the case of works with multiple authors, list the first six authors followed by et al.

Titles of journals should be abbreviated. These are available online from the PubMed site. Enter the full journal title into the NLM Catalog search box. If you are using EndNote, you can import the full list by following the instructions below.

Referencing journal articles

Vega KJ, Pina I, Krevsky B. Heart transplantation is associated with an increased risk for pancreatobiliary disease. Ann Intern Med 1996 Jun 1;124 (11):980-3.

Referencing books

Books with personal authors

Ringsven MK, Bond D. Gerontology and leadership skills for nurses. 2nd ed. Albany (NY):Delmar Publishers; 1996.

Edited books

Norman IJ, Redfern SJ, editors. Mental health care for elderly people. New York: Churchill Livingstone; 1996.

Works with corporate authors/publishers

Institute of Medicine (US). Looking at the future of the Medicaid program. Washington: The Institute; 1992.

Book chapters

Phillips SJ, Whisnant JP. Hypertension and stroke. In: Laragh JH, Brenner BM, editors. Hypertension: pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management. 2nd ed. New York: Raven Press; 1995. p. 465-78.


Stedman's medical dictionary. 26th ed. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins; 1995. Apraxia; p. 119-20.

Referencing electronic sources

Journal articles in electronic format

Morse SS. Factors in the emergence of infectious diseases. Emerg Infect Dis [serial online] 1995 Jan-Mar [cited 1996 Jun 5];1(1):[24 screens]. Available from: URL:

Books in electronic format

CDI, clinical dermatology illustrated [monograph on CD-ROM]. Reeves JRT, Maibach H. CMEA Multimedia Group, producers. 2nd ed. Version 2.0. San Diego: CMEA; 1995.

Computer files

Hemodynamics III: the ups and downs of hemodynamics [computer program]. Version 2.2. Orlando (FL): Computerized Educational Systems; 1993.

Homepages/Web sites [homepage on the Internet]. New York: Association of Cancer Online Resources, Inc.; c2000-01 [updated 2002 May 16; cited 2002 Jul 9]. Available from:

Part of an Internet database

MeSH Browser [database on the Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2002 - [cited 2003 Jun 10]. Meta-analysis; unique ID: D015201; [about 3 p.]. Available from: Files updated weekly.

MIMS Online [database on the Internet]. MIMS Australia; 2003 - [cited 2004 July 26]. Serepax; 3(b) Antianxiety agents; [about 6 p.]. Available from:

Importing journal abbreviation lists

The Vancouver style of referencing requires that journal titles be abbreviated according to the style used in Index Medicus. These abbreviations are contained in the Medical Journals term list supplied with your EndNote software, and located in C:\ Program Files\ EndNoteX5\Term Lists.

This section will show you how to:

  • import the Medical Journals term list into your EndNote library, and
  • modify the Vancouver output style to use the abbreviated journal title when formatting your bibliography.

Important Note

If you will be importing the list into an EndNote library which already contains references, you will need to first delete the existing terms in the journals term list of your library. To do this:

  • Open your EndNote library.
  • Click on Tools on the menu bar.
  • Choose Open Term Lists and then choose Journals.
  • Click anywhere in the window where the journal titles are displayed.
  • Press Ctrl+A to select all terms.
  • Click on the Delete Term button to delete all terms.
  • Close the Term Lists dialogue box.

Importing the Medical Journals term list

To import the Medical Journals term list supplied with your EndNote software:

  • Open your EndNote library.
  • From the Tools menu, choose Define Term Lists…
  • Click on Journals terms list, then click on Import List…


  • Find and select Medical.txt in the Term Lists folder (in a Windows machine this folder will be located at C:\ Program Files\ EndNote X5\Terms Lists).

medical text

  • Click on Open. The following information will be displayed:

insert terms dialog

  • Click on OK.
  • Close the Term Lists window.

Modifying the Vancouver output style

How to modify the Vancouver output style to use the abbreviated journal title when formatting your bibliography:

  • From the Edit menu, select Output Styles, and Edit "Vancouver" OR select Open Style Manager, find and highlight the Vancouver output style, and click

output styles

  • Highlight Journal Names in the column on the left.
  • Click in the Abbreviation 2 check box on the right.
  • Close the Vancouver window.