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Advanced RefWorks Techniques

In addition to direct database exporting of citations, RefWorks offers a tool that will try to scan and parse the page you are on, whether that is a database or a web site, and import its citation information into RefWorks.

  • To install this tool, click on on the icon for Tools - currently a cog or wheel - and then click Tools in the drop-down menu. 


  • Then click on Install Save to RefWorks
  • Drag the bookmarklet to the bookmark bar in your browser
  • Now, whenever you want to try to save something to RefWorks from a web page, just click on this button in your bookmark bar and RefWorks will open a panel and try to pull the information needed for a citation

  • This tool works better on some web pagesthan others, but it's always worth a try because of how seamless it is when it works!

To edit a citation in RefWorks to correct or add information, simply:

1. Click on the citation you want to edit. A panel will appear on the right side of the screen.

2. Click the pencil button on the upper right. 

3. Edit the information! (You can even add the PDF full text here by dragging and dropping it right onto the panel).

RefWorks has citation styles that include annotations. To add an annotation to one of your citations, just:

1. click on it and then click the pencil icon  in the upper right corner of the info panel that appears.

2. You will see a field labeled Abstract. This particular citation is for a book found in WorldCat. WorldCat automatically filled the Abstract field with a table of contents for the book. Articles from databases often have the abstract from the database here.

Replace whatever is in this field with your own annotation and click Save at the top of the panel.

3. Now when you create a bibliography and choose a style that includes "Annotated with Abstracts," your bibliography will include your annotation.


Folders and projects are valuable options for good housekeeping in filing references according to topic or project.  They also enable sharing with others in a study or work group at the same institution.

Projects are the overarching framework for folders.  Keep to one project for folders relating to one piece of work, and never move across Projects when working on a piece of work in Word.


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).



  • See the supplier information on "Working with Projects"
  • See also the tab "Sharing RefWorks Citations" in this guide

A project is at the next level up from folders. 

  • It is an overarching framework, similar to a Library in Endnote, and may contain a number of folders 
  • The default setting is 'Untitled project' unless you name a project or projects
  • NB: when connecting RefWorks with work in Microsoft Word, this can only be with one Project at a time
    • Users should not try to work from different projects on the same assignment or document
  • Use Manage Projects to set up a new projects and keep folders within that project

RefWorks Projects with Share or Manage options

Sharing Projects or Folders

This can be a valuable feature when working collaboratively with others in the same institution. 

  • NB: all those concerned will need to have RefWorks accounts set up, via FindIt at the University of Birmingham.
  • Look for the share option in Manage Projects, or from the 3 dots by a named folder in the side-bar of RefWorks, and Share.

Supplier help pages:

Folder - share

Share Folder option against 3 dots by folder in RefWorks

  • In the resulting pop-up, enter the (University) emails of those with whom you are sharing the folder and continue: this is recommended rather than creating a URL
  • Use the 'invite more people to share' bar to enter the email addresses

RefWorks folder sharing options


Project - share

  • Use the drop-down arrow from your named project or the default 'Untitled Project' setting at the top of your RefWorks screen
  • Select the Share option
  • Enter the (University) email addresses of those with whom you are sharing the Project

RefWorks Share Project option

Sharing RefWorks Citations

To share a folder of citations with another RefWorks user, click Sharing in the left sidebar.

Click Share a Folder.

A box will pop up with a menu that will allow you to choose the folder to share and enter the email addresses of anyone you want to invite (they will need to have their own RefWorks account).

If you choose Only invited people may access, the folder will only be shared with people of your choice. If you choose Anyone within your organization may join this folder, then anyone at UoB will be able to see it in the Folders at University  of Birmingham collection in the Sharing sidebar.

Can read means that the person you share the folder with can only view the citations and read the PDFs. Can annotate means that they can also make comments and highlights on the PDFs. Can modify means that they can also edit citations and add or delete citations from the folder.

Database-specific Guides

See also the section "How to Use RefWorks".

The following allow for DIRECT EXPORT of records to RefWorks. NB: remember to select New RefWorks in any pop-ups where you are given a choice (unless you are still using the older Legacy RefWorks).

  • EBSCO databases such as CINAHL or Business Source Premier - save results to folder, then go to Folder View.  Use Export option: select RefWorks from the drop-down
  • JSTOR - use the "Export selected citations" tab (and "Export to RefWorks" in the drop-down)
  • Ovid databases such as Medline.  Use the Export tab (and select "RefWorks" and "Complete reference" in the drop-down lists) to transfer selected results 
  • Proquest databases such as ASSIA - use "Save" for selected results, then choose RefWorks from the drop-down 
  • Web of Science / Web of Knowledge (Science, Social Science, Arts and Humanities Index or other elements) -
    • "Save to RefWorks" for selected record(s) in on-screen list


  • "Add to Marked List"  for selected records, then go to the Marked List and "Save to RefWorks" from there

NB: other databases may also allow direct export.  If not, then you need to (typically) save an RIS file and then import this into RefWorks using the + function in RefWorks and locate and upload the file.  You will need to select the correct "Filter" for the file: check with databases and RefWorks Help pages for more information.

(iStockPhotos.  Purchased for use at University of Birmingham).

Database list.  If you are having problems exporting references to RefWorks, please contact for assistance.  The following provides links to instructions from the supplier for exporting to RefWorks. 

ACM Digital Library

ACM Online Guide to Computing Literature

ACS (American Chemical Society) Website

Agricola (USDA National Agricultural Library)

Annual Reviews


ASCE Research Library

Association for Asian Studies (AAS)

BioMed Central (British Medical Journal Online)

Cambridge CORE aka Cambridge Journals Online

Chadwyck Healey

China Academic Journals

China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI)

Cochrane Library (The)

Current Index to Statistics

eBook Central aka ebrary


EBSCOhost EJS (Electronic Journals Service)

EI Engineering Village 2



ERIC (Education Resources Information Center)

GALE InfoTrac Web

Google Scholar


Highwire Press


IEEE/ Xplore

IET Digital Library



LEA Online (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.)

Lexis/ Nexis

Library of Congress

MathSciNet (AMS)


NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

OCLC WorldCat (Beta)
Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)


Ovid AutoAlerts

Oxford Music Online

Project Muse
ProQuest Academic

ProQuest Dialog

ProQuest Digital Dissertations



Sage Journals Online


SciFinder Scholar

SciFinder Web

Scitation (American Institute of Physics)




SSRN (Social Science Research Network)

Web of Science (Thomson Reuters)

Wiley Online Library

ZMATH: Zentralblatt MATH

Add a Citation Style

New RefWorks has a substantial store of referencing styles, which include those for a number of academic journals.

These are directly available when using the newer Citation Manager in Word 2016.  They can also be added from within New  RefWorks to then appear in Write n Cite in Word (earlier versions or 2016).

NB: for more about creating or modifying reference styles, see the RefWorks user documentation.

Write n Cite

The citation style first should be located within New RefWorks itself, using the speech marks icon. Choose Citation Style Editor.


Browse, or enter a keyword for the journal or style, to find the required style.

Click on the required style / journal name to select.

This style, with full settings, will then show in the RefWorks screen.  Click on "Save a copy" at the top right.

To return to the main RefWorks page with your documents, select the top left documents icon: 

In Word, select Sync my database in the RefWorks Write n Cite tab.

The style will then be available in the drop-down menu for Style in the same top ribbon of options: simply select the new style required.

RefWorks Citation Manager (RCM)

Open up the Citation Manager Add-In and click on the three lines.

Choose "Change citation style":

Change citation style - citation manager

The core or popular styles should be immediately visible in a list.  

To find another style, type in a key word (or browse by typing in a starting letter or word).

Click to select the required style name (such as from a particular journal).

Then choose "Update" to apply the chosen style to your document.

The panel view will then return to the references available within your New RefWorks folders.  Any references now cited in the document, and the reference list at the end, will be in that style.


Duplicate references can be identified and filtered out in RefWorks.  This is done by ticking the 3 dots icon next to the relevant folder name, and selecting "Find duplicates".  There is an option then to choose all the references in the user's entire RefWorks account, and to choose either "Exact" or "Close" matches between references.

Unwanted references can then be either deleted altogether or moved to a separate folder.  The latter may be preferable, so as to avoid possibly losing some items altogether.                                                






















Saving Full Text

The latest version of RefWorks emphasizes saving and working with the full text of articles in addition to their citations. When you export from a database, RefWorks should automatically scan for PDF full text and include it if available. (Tip: we've found that grabbing the full text works most reliably when using the Save to RefWorks bookmarklet). 

Once the full text has been saved, all you have to is click on the citation in RefWorks, and the full text will be available in the information panel that opens on the right. Just click Read to read the full text, and even annotate it with your own highlighting and comments!

You can also add the full text to an existing citation by clicking the Edit button (looks like a pencil) in the top right corner of the information panel, and then just dragging the PDF file to the box that says Drop file here:

This box also show up when you add a brand new citation manually: if you drop the PDF there RefWorks will try to identify it using a behind-the-scenes database; if it gets a match it will fill in the citation information for you!

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