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Help and alternatives

This section outlines where you can get help with RefWorks, some approaches to common problems and information on alternatives.  

Other software:

  • Endnote (Desktop) is recommended for doctoral research onwards, and is supported at the University of Birmingham
  • Endnote (Online) can be used by signing in to an account within the Web of Science database.  Endnote Online can be used without Endnote Desktop or to connect remotely with a Desktop account.  It also links directly with Word using the Cite while you Write plugin
  • LaTeX and BibTeX are for science work including the referencing of formulae: not supported at Birmingham, see the iCite Guide for links
  • Mendeley is an open-source product from Elsevier; help should be sought from the suppliers and online
  • Zotero is open source: details on the product website
  • Legacy RefWorks: you can continue using your Legacy RefWorks account - the older version of RefWorks - if you wish.  Legacy is accessible via a Google search for "Legacy RefWorks" or via a personal bookmark.  It is no longer listed on FindIt.

Help with using RefWorks

How to use RefWorks for your work:  for 1-1 guidance on using RefWorks in practice, contact the Academic Skills Centre for an appointment.

For technical problems, see Technical Support in the box below this one.

To check details of referencing styles, see the iCite Guide and select the required style.

Technical Support

‚ÄčIf you encounter technical problems with RefWorks, perhaps in setting up on your laptop, or with something not working as it should, then either contact RefWorks Support directly.

RefWorks support form access via Question Mark and Contact Support


Or: Contact the University IT Helpdesk.


Suggested Workarounds

‚ÄčCitations and Bibliographies: manual workaround

  • MACBook users and others experiencing problems with RefWorks in Word can use the manual workaround by creating a citation and bibliography or reference list from within RefWorks itself.  See "How to use RefWorks" in this guide, under the tabs "Quick Cite Tool" and "Creating a Bibliography"

RefWorks Citation Manager (add-in for Word 2016)

  • The Citation Manager add-in within Word 2016 (Store - add-ins) onwards may be subject to faults or not currently available
  • Users are recommended to use the Write n Cite plugin instead, available from the Cog icon / Tools drop-down in RefWorks: use the cog icon or Tools drop-down: then choose Tools, and the Microsoft Word section
  • MACBook users who have been able to install the Citation Manager, but finds that this is freezing, can consult the guide from Stirling University and the "Troubleshooting" column (lower left) in "RefWorks on a MAC"

Pop-up blockers ...

Pop-up blockers may prevent you exporting records successfully into RefWorks.

NB: It is recommended not to use Internet Explorer.

Mozilla Firefox

Google Chrome

Click on 3-bar icon at top right ,

In the top right of the screen, click on the icon with bars or dots
From pop-up, Select Options >  Content.

Select Settings > Show Advanced Settings

For Exceptions – untick Block popup windows.

Then  scroll down to Privacy – and click on content settings

Scroll down to pop-ups: tick to allow pop-ups and click Done



enter this URL in Chrome - chrome://settings/content/popups 


drag the button to the right to unblock

 Pop-ups in RW and Chrome



Exporting from RefWorks (to Endnote Online)

Exporting results from RefWorks (to Endnote Online)

Panopto video recording (including subtitles).  This is for using Endnote Online, but an exported file of RefWorks references can also be imported into other referencing software such as Zotero or Mendeley as required.

  • References stored in RefWorks can be either transferred in bulk - the entire library - or by individual named folder 

  • Transferring by folder allows the file structure set up in RefWorks to be then replicated in named Groups in Endnote Online: the numbers of results transferred will also be more manageable

Open RefWorks

  • Select Share at the top of the screen,then select Export references in the drop-down menu
  • Save the resulting file to desktop or wherever it can be easily retrieved

Open up Endnote Online

  • Go to Collect references – import references
  • Go to the folder which you wish to export to
  • If you wish to transfer all your RefWorks references at once, go to All References (top left) and proceed from there: however, note that this may generate a large file and take longer
  • This should default to all the references in that folder
  • If you only wish to export some of the references, go back to the folder and select those required
  • Select RIS format in the menu and Export
  • Locate and choose the RIS file just downloaded
  • Select RefMan RIS as Import Option
  • Choose group to transfer to in Endnote Online (if already set up) or choose New Group and name this appropriately
  • Select OK to transfer references from the RefWorks RIS  file into Endnote Online
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