Updated: July 27, 2021

When did the new PubMed become the default?

The new PubMed was launched in September 2019 and became the default in May 2020.

Will more features be added in the future?

Yes. Just as the legacy site has received updates throughout its tenure, the new PubMed will continue to evolve over both the short and long term. NLM is committed to continued PubMed development, ensuring that PubMed remains a trusted and accessible source of biomedical literature today and in the future.

Is legacy PubMed still available?

The legacy PubMed site was retired as of November 2020 and is no longer available to use. Please use the new PubMed site, which replaced the legacy site in May 2020:


Will my saved searches and collections continue to work in the new PubMed?

Yes. Collections and saved searches are stored in your My NCBI account and will continue to be available in the new site -- even if they were originally created in legacy PubMed.  

Do links to the legacy site still work?

Links to the legacy site have been redirected to the new site. The redirects are persistent, so old links will not "break" -- they will continue to go to the new site now that it is the default.

Where can I get help with using the new site?

Do I have to log in to write to the help desk?

You should never have to log in to write to the help desk. Please click on the Help link at the bottom of any PubMed page.  When you type in the Subject field, you might see a list of suggested knowledge base articles. Please scroll past these suggestions to see the remainder of the help desk form.  Complete the form and click on Submit to send your message to the help desk.

Why is PubMed being updated?

The new PubMed is completely rebuilt on a new technology platform. This is important for the future sustainability and scalability of PubMed and other NCBI resources.

While many of the technology updates are "behind the scenes", one of the most visible improvements is the responsive design of the new site. Responsive design means that the site can be used on any device - mobile, desktop, or tablet - with the same features and functionality. Previously, only a very basic version of PubMed was available on mobile. 

For additional details about the technology and other updates, please see the NLM Technical Bulletin article: An Updated PubMed Is on Its Way

Why are the number of results different?

The new PubMed is completely rebuilt with updated technology. Since legacy and new PubMed are two separate systems, citation counts will not always match up. Indexing is done at different times for each system, so additions, deletions (e.g., removing duplicates), or updates to records do not take effect at the same time in both places. 

Additionally, there are some changes in search syntax and search translations for the new PubMed that may affect the number of search results. For example:

Automatic Term Mapping has been augmented to include additional British and American spellings, singular and plural word forms, and other synonyms to provide more consistent and comprehensive search retrieval. To see how PubMed translated your query, see the search details included in History and Search Details on the Advanced Search page. To limit your search to the original term only, enclose the term in double quotes to disable Automatic Term Mapping, e.g., “color”. 

Truncated terms are no longer limited to the first 600 variations of a term. This will increase retrieval in cases of a truncated term with more than 600 variations. A wildcard search is only available for 4 characters or more. Use a root word of at least 4 characters to search for all endings.

Truncation no longer causes a phrase search. For example, in legacy PubMed: breast feed* would cause a phrase search. To search for a phrase including a truncated term in the new PubMed, use the following formats:

  • Enclose the phrase in double quotes: "breast feed*"
  • Use a search tag: breast feed*[tiab]
  • Use a hyphen: breast-feed* 

The truncated term must be the last word in the phrase.

I don't see the label [Indexed for MEDLINE] anymore--how can I tell if a citation is Indexed for MEDLINE?

Citations that are Indexed for MEDLINE include MeSH terms on the abstract display.

To limit your search to MEDLINE citations only, add medline[sb] to your search. However this is not generally recommended because it will exclude relevant citations, such as:

  • new citations that haven't completed the MEDLINE indexing process yet 
  • NIH funded research articles available in PubMed Central
  • citations from journals participating in PubMed Central

Can I change the default sort order?

Citations are initially displayed 10 items per page and sorted by Best Match. Display preferences such as sort order and items per page can be adjusted using the “Display options” button.

These preferences are stored in your browser data and cookies, so your new selections will be active for subsequent searches until browser data and cookies are cleared (note: display format defaults to Summary for each new search).

Why can't I select MeSH from a pull-down menu near the search bar?

The new PubMed is built using new technology and runs on a different platform; because of this, it is not possible to implement the drop-down NCBI database menu for the search bar. 

Navigation to other databases such as MeSH may be something that gets updated in the future. In the meantime, if the MeSH Database is frequently used, please create a bookmark to for convenient access. 

Additionally, we suggest entering search terms without search tags for the most comprehensive retrieval. Using MeSH tags will limit results to citations that have completed MEDLINE indexing, potentially omitting the most recent content. Untagged terms will still be mapped to MeSH, and will also capture citations with those terms that are still awaiting indexing.

Do display preferences saved in My NCBI work in the new site?

Integration with My NCBI and the new PubMed is a work in progress. My NCBI highlighting preferences will display in the new PubMed when you are logged in to your My NCBI account.  

Other display preferences such as sort order and items per page can be adjusted using the “Display options” button. These preferences are stored in your browser data and cookies, so your new selections will be active for subsequent searches until browser data and cookies are cleared (note: display format defaults to Summary for each new search).

Why isn't RIS format an option on the Save menu?

Based on feedback from our users, we have restored the legacy MEDLINE format (now called PubMed format in the new site) for Save and Cite, and removed the RIS format download.

In the short time we offered the RIS format in the new PubMed, we heard from a number of users requesting extensive modifications, as it appears that RIS is used in different ways by various external resources. For example, RIS has several fields for journal title, and we received conflicting feedback about which fields to use and what data to provide in those fields. 

At this time, it is not feasible to maintain multiple formats for the same purpose of exporting to a citation manager. Based on the user feedback we have collected, we are restoring the legacy MEDLINE field tag format, renamed PubMed format, to meet users' needs for the complete PubMed record as well as a file that can be used with external citation management software. 

Can I download XML from the PubMed website?

We do not anticipate adding XML to the new PubMed web interface. PubMed data is available in XML format through our E-utilities APIs ( and our Data Distribution program (

An example EFetch URL that retrieves XML data for 2 PMIDs:,11700088&retmode=xml

A new RESTful API will be developed for PubMed; however, we do not yet have a timeline to share regarding the update. Please subscribe to the E-Utilities Announcement Mailing List:

Where can I learn about updates in PubMed?

Please subscribe to PubMed New and Noteworthy and watch the NLM Technical Bulletin for updates and announcements.

Previous articles in the Technical Bulletin about the new PubMed include: 

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