Skip to main content



How to use RefWorks - adding citations (1)

Adding citations manually to RefWorks

If you want to cite something you did not find in a database (like a book, or a PDF found elsewhere), you can manually enter the citation information into RefWorks. 

1. Click the + button at the top left of your RefWorks account screen

  • Note options:
    • Upload a Document (PDF)
    • Import references, usually as an .RIS file eg from PubMed or Cochrane Library, or from another referencing software tool such as Zotero
  • Choose: Create New Reference" (screenshot below)


RefWorks pop-up for Create new reference for manually adding an item

A panel will appear on the right side of the screen. 

2. Select the source type (book, journal article, etc) from the drop down menu. 

3. Enter the title into the Title field.

4a. As a shortcut, once you have entered the title, click the lightning-looking button on the right (see the screenshot below). This will look through the metadata database to try to find a match. If it finds one, just click it in the list that appears at bottom, and it will fill in all the rest of the citation information

Metadata screen in Medline for adding details for manual item record


4b. Or: just finish filling the fields out manually

5. Click Save at the top to save the citation

You can transfer any items you find on a search of  FindIt, whether individual items or sets (using the eshelf bookmarking facility).  

A.: SINGLE ITEMS from FindIt search

  • First do a search - eg for a journal article (article search). 
  • Open up the full record on-screen and select the RefWorks link as below.
    • NB: always double-check the reference once this is in RefWorks - you may need to edit the date line, for example, if details have not transferred correctly.

Screenshot of FindIt record with option to save to RefWorks


B.  FAVOURITES - 1 or more records

Locate records on FindIt: then click on the pin icons to save these to your Favourites.  Go to the link at the top to view all of these, and then tick boxes for the items you wish to send to RefWorks.

Screenshot of FindIt with pin icon to save item to favourites


Screenshot of My Favourites in FindIt, with tick boxes to save records to RefWorks



WEB OF SCIENCE: allows direct export of references to RefWorks

  1. Have your RefWorks account open in a browser tab or window
  2. In another browser tab, go to and locate and open the database Web of Science (core collection)
  3. Carry out a search
  4. Tick against the articles you wish to save, and use the drop-down to select RefWorks

Screenshot of Web of Science and tick boxes to save to RefWorks


4. Click Send to send the citation to RefWorks, where it appears in Last Imported and in All Documents. 

  • Choose the blue logo new version of RefWorks if you are given a choice between this and Legacy RefWorks (orange logos)
  • If nothing appears, then you may need to remove pop-up blockers in the browser you are using (check Help pages for each browser)
  • Once results are in RefWorks, you are prompted to put them in an existing folder
  • You can override this prompt and the results go into the Last Imported folder
  • It is recommended to still transfer the results either to an existing folder, or to set up a new folder for these results

Screenshot of RefWorks with imported records

Now RefWorks has all the information you need to cite that article!

  • NB: in Web of Science, you can also use the "Add to Marked List" function for saving articles before transfer - "Save to RefWorks" - from the Marked List (link top right of Web of Science screen).
  • NB: other databases may also allow direct export.  If not, then you need to (typically) save an RIS file of references, and then import this file into RefWorks using the + function  and locating and uploading the saved file.  You will need to select the correct "Filter" for the file: check with databases and RefWorks Help pages for more information.

Other Databases and RefWorks

The examples below allow for DIRECT EXPORT of records to RefWorks. 

NB: remember to select the blue logo'd newer version of RefWorks in any pop-ups where you are given a choice (unless you are still using the older Legacy RefWorks).

Pop-up blockers may prevent results being transferred: check browser help pages for how to unblock, or go to the "Help and other software" section in this guide.

Once your citations are successfully transferred (exported) to RefWorks, it is recommended to transfer them to an existing folder or to set one up for them.

Suppliers may change database features, so always check with Help pages for each database if in doubt.

EBSCO databases (Eg Business Source Premier, CINAHL)

  • Save results to folder, then go to Folder View

  • Use the Export option, then select RefWorks from the drop-down menu, and Save

  • See Activity 4C in the Library Guide to Literature Searching (MDS subjects)

EI Engineering Village (Compendex, Inspec etc)

  • Select records and choose one of the download icons (down arrow and line or down arrow)
  • Select RefWorks under "Location" and "Download Records"


  • Use the "Export selected citations" tab
  • In the drop-down menu, "Export to RefWorks"

Ovid databases (Medline, Embase, PsycInfo)

  • Use the Export option for items selected
  • In the pop-up, choose "RefWorks" and "Complete Reference"
  • See Activity 4B in the Library Guide to Literature Searching (MDS subjects)

Proquest databases (eg ABI/ Inform, Arts and Humanities collection, ASSIA, etc)

  • Select items then click on the 3 dots above the list of results for "All save options"
  • Choose RefWorks in the Citation Export section
  • Select Continue at the bottom of the ensuing pop-up for Export/Save
  • YouTube video from Proquest 
  • NB: the My Research area of Proquest databases - where results and search histories can be stored - offers a linking of the Proquest account required with the user's RefWorks account.  However, this is only available for the older, Legacy RefWorks (orange logos): it should not be attempted if you are using the current version ('New' RefWorks).  In My Research, use either the Save button - and choose RefWorks from resulting options - or Cite: then choose RefWorks from the options at the end of the pop-up. This will then give 'New' RefWorks as the main option (blue logo)

Scopus (Elsevier)

  • Use Export for selected items
  • Choose RefWorks from the available options




Not all databases allow references to be exported directly to software such as RefWorks.

  • In these cases, you will need to create a file (usually .ris) and the import this file from within RefWorks, using any specific filters for the database and files concerned.
  • The Cochrane Library is one example, known for systematic reviews, trials and other items)
  • Screenshots below show a search in Cochrane and how to create a file of results to import into RefWorks
  • This requires "filters" to identify and transfer file records successfully
  • Check each database for instructions 


NB: for help with using Cochrane, register once for full access to the training materials for Cochrane Library

You will need to create a file (usually .ris) and then import this file from within RefWorks

  1. First, do your search on Cochrane Library, and select the results to Export
    • NB: choose "RIS (Reference Manager)" as the file format; RefWorks link at the top 
  2. Save the file (eg to your desktop)
  3. In RefWorks, use the '+' icon and "Import references" 
  4. Browse and locate the downloaded file, or you can use the "Click and drag" option
  5. Format pop-up box: select Wiley Online - and Import
  6. The references should then be imported into your Last Imported / All Documents list, from where you can move them to a named folder

1-2. Search and save the results file

Search manager screen in Cochrane Library


Search results in Cochrane, with items selected to export

  • Choose RefWorks to save the citation to, and the RIS (Reference Manager) format from the tabbed list

Export options for Cochrane results: choose RefWorks for Save citation to, and format RIS (Reference Manager)


3-4. Import the file into RefWorks


Select the Plus icon top left of RefWorks, then Import References from the menu

  • Locate the saved file

Locate file (eg on desktop) then open


  • Or click and drag the file across to RefWorks

5. File format pop-up

  • Choose Wiley online from the drop-down menu against RIS format (Cochrane Library is on the Wiley platform)

File format option screen, with drop-down menu for choosing Wiley Online for Cochrane Library file







Single citations: Google Scholar to RefWorks

Use the Settings option in the drop down menu in the top left of the screen to select your preferred citation format in the "Bibliography Manager" section. Google Scholar currently exports to RefWorks (also to EndNote, and BibTeX). 


Google Scholar Settings screen: results, Bibliography manager, RefWorks to active export


Multiple citations: Google Scholar to RefWorks

Organizing your Citations - Folders


References in RefWorks can be allocated to named folders. 

  • This makes for easier retrieval later, and clearly matches results to specific topics or assignments
  • Folders can help with more systematic literature searches, as articles filtered out at each stage of the review process can still be filed in folders labelled appropriately to that end

When results are exported from a database to RefWorks, you should have the option of saving to a named folder  or simply continuing

  • Click on Import to then bring in the references to your RefWorks account.

Import References instructions in RefWorks

RefWorks Import or Cancel tab for new references

If no folder is chosen at this stage, results go to a 'Last imported' page.

  • Choose 'OK' on the following screen to view the results in the "Last imported" screen
  • Select and transfer the result to an existing folder by ticking the box for that folder in the pop-up
  • Or create a new folder for these results 

RefWorks assign results to folder screen (named folder or create folder)

This will be the same when importing files of results, such as in .RIS format, from sources which do not offer direct export (such as Cochrane Library).

Accessibility statement