RefWorks User Guide

Fall 2020 Notice: Transferring Data From Legacy RefWorks Userid to New RefWorks Userid

RefWorks User Quick Start Guide     VERSION 6.0


  • Access and then enter your personal Login Name and Password. (First-time users need to sign up for an individual account following the screen prompts.)

  • NOTE: Remote users, accessing RefWorks 

    from off-site or from a non-registered IP address, must either enter the “Group Code” prior to the personal Login Name and Password or log-in via the organization’s proxy server.

    Technical Services:


Creating Your RefWorks Database

RefWorks provides a number of options for adding data to your database.

Importing Data Directly A1, A2

  1. Under the save or export function within the online service, select or click onto the save to RefWorks option. A1

  2. If you have your RefWorks account already open, the import will automatically begin. If not, then you will be prompted to the RefWorks login page; after you login, the import will automatically begin.

  3. Select View Last Imported Folder to review the imported records.

Helpful Hint: Every reference added to RefWorks (whether imported or entered manually) is given a print or electronic designation called Source Type. This assists in ensuring you have all the relevant data REQUIRED in your bibliography. A default Source Type may have been set by your local Administrator. Users can set their own source type in the Tools menu, Customize area. A2

Importing Data from Saved Text Files B

References can be imported into RefWorks from a text file (.txt) created by saving references from a wide variety of online services and other bibliographic management programs.

  1. Retrieve the results you want to export from the online service or bibliographic manager, and save them to a text file. If the database vendor lists several different formats for saving the references, see the RefWorks Help file for further details on the appropriate selection.

  2. Access your RefWorks account and click References from the drop-down menu; then select Import.

  3. On the subsequent menu, access the drop-down menu next to Import Filter/Data Source and click the source of the

  4. Click on the Database drop-down menu and select the source database.

  5. Click on the Import References Into Folder menu and designate the specific folder where you want to file the imported references. If you do not choose a folder, the references will automatically go into a folder titled Last Imported Folder.

  6. Enter file name into Import Data from the following Text File by browsing and selecting or manually typing in the file name.

  7. Click on Import at the bottom of the screen. When the import is complete, select View Last Imported Folder to review and modify the imported references.

Helpful Hint: An up-to-date listing of all online services and databases that are supported by RefWorks can be found in the Import area by clicking on the List of Filters and Databases link.

Converting References from Other Bibliographic Management Products
RefWorks is compatible with a number of other bibliographic management products. You can easily convert an existing bibliographic management database such as EndNote into RefWorks.
For details related to importing data from specific individual bibliographic management products, please refer to the online Help section of RefWorks.

Importing from RSS (Really Simple Syndication)

RefWorks has integrated an RSS Feed Reader so you can easily add your favorite RSS Feeds from publishers and websites, view the information and import data into your RefWorks database.

  1. Locate the RSS Feed you wish to include.

  2. Right mouse-click on the RSS Feed icon or link and select 

    Copy Shortcut.
  3. From within RefWorks, select RSS Feed from the Search 

  4. Paste the shortcut into the text bar and click the Add RSS Feed button.

  5. Launch the RSS Feed by clicking on the name link. Your feed results will be displayed in a separate window for selection and importing.

Creating Your RefWorks Database (Continued)
Manually Entering References Importing from Online Catalogs or Databases

You can use RefWorks as a search interface for a number of online resources. E-RefWorks provides access to a number

  1. Select References from the pull-down menu tool bar and then choose Add New Reference.

  2. Select a potential bibliographic output style (e.g., APA, Chicago, MLA) under View fields used by to enable the AccuCite feature. C

  3. Designate the type of reference you are entering (e.g. journal, book or dissertation) under Ref Type. Field names marked with a green checkmark () indicate recommended information needed to produce an accurate bibliography for the selected output style and reference type. These fields are not required to save the actual reference in RefWorks.

  4. Enter information in the boxes provided and click Save

      when finished.

Attaching Files to a Reference F

of publicly available services such as NLM’s PubMed as well as many universities’ Online Catalogs. Additionally, institutional subscribers may also provide access to subscription-based online services (e.g., Ovid or ProQuest) through RefWorks.

  1. From the Search pull-down menu, select Online Catalog or Database.

  2. Under Online Database to Search, select a database from the drop down menu.

  3. Select the Max. Number of References to Download from the drop-down menu.

  4. Enter terms in either the Quick Search for: or in the Advanced Search for: box.

  5. Click on Search to begin your search. A new window will open displaying your search results.

  6. Select the references you wish to import into your

    RefWorks account and click Import. F

You can attach files when adding a new reference manually or editing an existing reference. Attachments can be any type of computer file (PDF, TIF, JPG, GIF etc.) that you want to associate with the bibliographic information you store in your RefWorks database. For further instructions on attaching files to your references, please refer to the Help file.

  1. Select a reference in your database; click on Edit.

  2. Click on Browse. Select a file to attach. Select Open. D

  3. Click on Add attachment.

Technical Services:

Helpful Hint: There is no limit to the number of files you can attach to a reference. The maximum size of any individual attachment is 20 MB.

Managing and Sharing Your References

RefWorks provides you with a number of tools to organize, edit, and view references in your database.I

Creating Folders Globally Editing References G

  1. From the pull-down menu Folders, select Create New Folder.

  2. Enter a name in New Folder Name; click OK. G

There is no limit on the number of folders you can create within your RefWorks account.

Helpful Hint: The Last Imported Folder contains only references from your most recent data import that have not been filed in other folders. References from imports prior to your last import not assigned to specific folders remain available in your primary database but unfiled.

Putting References into Folders H

  1. From the Search pull-down menu, do a search or look up to retrieve references already in your RefWorks database to put in a folder.

  2. Mark desired references from the search results page, then click the button titled Selected. The selected references feature works on a page-by-page basis; this means that you must add the manually selected references to the desired folder before moving to the next page. Alternatively, you can mark All in List or all on a Page.

  3. Select folder from the Put in Folder drop-down menu. H

  4. References will automatically be added to the indicated folder.

Helpful Hint: References can be assigned to more than one folder.

Sorting References

  1. From either the View or Folders pull-down menu, select a folder or group of references.

  2. Using the pull-down menu Sort by, located on the top right hand side of the page, choose to view references by various fields within your database.

  3. From the View pull-down menu, select All References or a folder of references. You can also globally edit references from search results in RefWorks.

  4. Select the references you wish to edit.

  5. Click on Global Edit. The Add option is displayed by default.

  6. Choose the specific field to edit from the drop-down list. I

  7. Type in the data you want to add to the field in the text field box.

  8. Select the appropriate option for handling the field - Append to Existing Data; Overwrite Existing Data (what you currently have in the field will be gone); Leave Existing Data Alone (if the field contains data the edit feature will skip over that particular reference).

  9. Click on Add.

Helpful Hint: RefWorks also offers the ability to Move, Delete, or Replace information in records. For more information on these additional Global Edit functions, please see the Help file.

Sharing Your References J

You can share a folder of references or your entire database. RefShare is not automatically available for all RefWorks users.

  1. From the Tools pull-down menu, select Share References. J

  2. Select the folder you wish to share and click Share Folder. To share all of your references in your account, click Share Entire Database.

  3. Select desired Shared Folder Options which allow you to define any use restrictions you wish to set for the RefShare Recipient(s).


    Click on E-mail URL. A new window will open with a generic e-mail template and a unique URL created for your RefShare folder. Insert the e-mail address of the individual(s) you would like to share your references with. Select Send E-mail.

    Note: As the owner of the folder or database, you determine the options your RefShare Recipients(s) will have in utilizing your shared references.

Creating Your Paper and Bibliography

Write-N-Cite is a utility allowing Microsoft Word (and other word processor programs) users to cite references in a paper with the click of a button.

Format a Bibliography From a List of References L

  1. From the menu, select the Bibliography button.

  2. Select an output format (i.e., APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.).

  3. Click on Format a Bibliography from a List of References.

  4. Select what file type to create.

  5. Select to format all of your references or only those from a specific folder.

  6. Click on Create Bibliography.

  7. A new window will open with your bibliography. L

  8. Save your bibliography to your computer or disk.

Editing or Creating Your Output Style M

RefWorks provides hundreds of output styles to choose from. If one of these styles does not conform to your desired results, the Output Style Editor allows you to create custom output styles by either creating a completely new style or modifying an existing output style to suit your needs.

  1. Click on Bibliography.

  2. Click on Edit or New. M

Access the Help menu for additional assistance in creating or editing new bibliographic output styles.

Write-N-Cite Paper N
Create a paper with in-text citations using the RefWorks Write- N-Cite feature.

NOTE: Write-N-Cite III (with off-line capabilities) is only available for Windows Users. Write-N-Cite v2.5 is available for Mac Users. In order to use these features, you must first download the Write-N-Cite utility from the Tools pull-down menu.

  1. Open a new blank document in Microsoft Word.

  2. Launch Write-N-Cite. N

  3. Put the cursor in your Microsoft Word document where the reference should be inserted; click Cite next to the reference in the RefWorks screen.

  4. Save your Microsoft Word document when finished.

Write-N-Cite Bibliography O

  1. Launch Write-N-Cite.

  2. Click on Bibliography.

  3. Select the output style. O

  4. Click on Create Bibliography.

  5. The document will refresh to be formatted correctly and contain the bibliography.

  6. Save your Microsoft Word document.

OFF-LINE CAPABILITIES: Write-N-Cite III now allows you to work on a paper and format a bibliography both online AND off-line. To utilize the off-line capabilities within Write-N-Cite III, users must first download their RefWorks database while online. For more information on the off-line capabilities, please refer to the Help file.

Creating Your Paper and Bibliography (Continued)

One Line/Cite View Paper

  1. From any reference view (all References, a folder or search results), click on the One Line/Cite View link.

  2. Click on the Cite link next to the appropriate reference. A Citation Viewer window will appear containing the citation in an abbreviated format.

  3. To cite a second reference in the same location just click on the Cite link by any other reference. If you are using a Macintosh, you will need to click twice - the first click will 

    activate the RefWorks program and the second will perform the Cite function. P
  4. Once you have all of the references you need for a particular in-text citation, click on the Select Citation button.

  5. Perform a copy command or simply drag and drop the citation into your word processor document.

  6. Go to your word processor, click on the document where you want the citation inserted and Paste the citation.

  7. Be sure to clear the Citation Viewer window before creating your next citation.

  8. Click on the View link to see the entire reference and to access the Edit command if you want to make changes.

One Line/Cite View Bibliography

  1. Save the document you have just created before formatting the paper and the bibliography.

  2. Click on the Bibliography button from the Citation Viewer window or from within the RefWorks program.

  3. Select the Output Style you need and use the Format Paper and Bibliography option to browse for the document.

    FOOTNOTES: For all options, use the word processor’s footnote formatting feature, inserting references using the “Write-N-Cite Paper” or “One Line/Cite View Paper” steps described above.

  4. Click on Create Bibliography.

Finding References in Your RefWorks Database
There are three ways to search your RefWorks database: Quick Search, Advanced Search and Look Up Indexes.

Quick Search

Use the Quick Search feature as a search of all fields. To produce maximum results, all search terms entered are connected by the Boolean connector OR. In addition, searches retrieve embedded terms - a search for “art” retrieves references with “heart,” “part,” etc. The results of a Quick Search are always ranked by relevancy.

  1. Enter search terms in the Search RefWorks box.

  2. Click on GO.

  3. Results are displayed with the search terms highlighted.

Advanced Search K

Advanced Search makes it easy to perform field-specific searches (e.g., Author, Title, Keyword), construct Boolean queries (i.e., AND, OR, NOT), and limit the search to a specific folder(s). The results of an Advanced Search are displayed alphabetically by author, with the search terms highlighted.

  1. Click on the Search drop-down menu and select Advanced. K

  2. Enter search terms and corresponding fields into the

    Advanced Search menu.

  3. Connect the terms by using the Boolean operators.

  4. Select All References or specific folders to search.

Click on Search.

Technical Services:

Need More Help?

Online Tutorial
A tutorial providing explanations of various RefWorks functions is available online, along with an Advanced User and RefShare Tutorials. Use the Help pull-down menu to access the tutorials.

Use the Help pull-down menu to access detailed instructions, frequently asked questions, administrator tools and much more.

Send questions or problems to:


RefWorks offers complimentary training webinars in various languages. Fundamentals and Advanced Feature sessions are available. A complete listing of sessions can be found on the RefWorks homepage. New dates and time are added monthly.


Contact RefWorks Technical Services at +1.775.327.4105.

Direct Export to RefWorks is available from the following online services:
• 1Cate
• ACS Publications
• BioMed Central
• BioOne
• Blackwell Synergy
• Chadwyck-Healey
• Compludoc
• CQ Press
• CSA Illumina
• Dialnet
• EBSCOhost
• Engineering Village 2
• FIS Bildung
• Google Scholar
• HighWire
• HubMed
• Informit
• Japana Centra Revuo Medicina
• LexisNexis Academic
• MetaLib
• Microsoft Live Search Academic
• Ovid
• Project Muse
• ProQuest
• RLG’s Eureka
• ScienceDirect
• Scopus
• Serials Solutions
• SilverPlatter
• TDNet
• TicToc
• Thomson Gale via OpenURL Link
• Ulrich’s Resource Link
• University of California Press
• Wanfang Data Corp.
• WebFeat
• WilsonWeb via WilsonLink

Last Updated: 09/23/2020 14:16