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RefWorks guide: What is RefWorks

Guide contents

What is RefWorks

  • general information about RefWorks and its two versions; an alternative - Zotero; contact personnel at the library

Creating a RefWorks account

  • how to get started

Exporting references to RefWorks

  • database specific instructions on how to export references


  • arranging references to folders in RefWorks


  • creating a bibliography using RefWorks

Editing references

  • you can, and sometimes have to, edit references manually

Sharing your references

  • you can share your references with another RefWorks user by using shared folders

Word processor add-ons

  • information about add-ons to Microsoft Word and Google Docs

Contact us

Help and guide admins:

What is RefWorks

RefWorks is an online reference management software, which you can use to create your own personal database for references and files.

You can share your references with other users in Refworks.

You can add citations directly to your text document using add-ons. It’s also easy to create a bibliography of your references by using Refworks.

Alumni can use RefWorks after graduation.

The two versions of RefWorks

In 2016 a new version of RefWorks was introduced, and the legacy version will be gradually phased out.

You’ll have to create a user account in the new version, and you’ll find the instructions to do so in the tab “Creating a RefWorks account” of this guide (recommended alternative).

You can also choose to start using the new version by logging into the old version of RefWorks first. Once you’re logged in, you’ll see the link "Move to the newest version of RefWorks from ProQuest” on the top left corner.

Exporting the references saved in the old version to the new one is easy. See below for instructions.

Exporting references form the old version of RefWorks to the new one

  1. Login to RefWorks. Select “Import references” after clicking on the + sign on the top row.
    Import references option in RefWorks menu.

  2. First, go to “RefWorks” and select “Import from another reference manager” and then “Authorize”.
    "Import from another reference manager" options.

    The option to authorize reference import.

  3. You’ll be asked to login to the old Refworks, after which your references and folders will be imported to the new version.
    Login window to legacy RefWorks.

  4. Your references have now been imported from the old version of Refworks to the new one. The exported references are now saved in the Last imported folder, but the programme also exports all the folders that you have created in the old Refworks to the new Refworks, along with their references.

Other reference management softwares

There are quite a few reference management softwares available, from free to commercial, and proprietary to open source. One of the more popular ones is Zotero, an open source software with similar functionalities to RefWorks. It's available as a browser add-on and as a stand-alone desktop version.

Zotero logo

A comparison of reference management software (Wikipedia).

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