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What is it?

RefWorks is a web-based application that will help you:

  • Gather references automatically from article databases while you research
  • Format  manuscripts and citations instantly in a variety of styles (MLA, APA, Turabian, etc.)
  • Create and organize a personal research database online
  • Access your information online from any computer, anywhere, anytime
  • Transfer references among applications

The UW-Madison Libraries discontinued the campus RefWorks subscription as of June 30, 2013. To use RefWorks, users must purchase an individual subscription. Please note that individual subscriptions do not include RefShare, full text linking via Find It or the ability to include file attachments.

For a list of other citation managers supported by staff of the UW-Madison Libraries, please see our comparison chart. Library staff are happy to assist you in determining the best citation manager for your information needs. Please contact your liaison librarian or a member of the Citation Managers Working Group.

Help from RefWorks

For information on getting started with the current version of RefWorks and troubleshooting common issues, please see:

Please also note that individual subscriptions to RefWorks do not include RefShare, full text linking via Find It or the ability to include file attachments.


This page includes instructions for transferring citations from RefWorks to other citation management tools.

First, you will need to follow instructions to Export Citations from your RefWorks account. Then see the instructions to Import Citations for the citation manager to which you are switching.

If you do not know the citation manager to which you will migrate, use the export instructions below to save your citations to your computer.

Please note that any attachments you may have in your RefWorks account will not transfer. You will need to recreate the folder organization of your RefWorks account in the citation manager you choose. You may want to consider exporting citations folder by folder.

Export Citations From RefWorks

  1. Login to your RefWorks account.
  2. Click References and Export at the top of the screen.
  3. Choose All References or a folder from the drop-down menu.
  4. Select Bibliographic Software (EndNote,Reference Manager, or ProCite).
  5. Click Export.
  6. Click File and Save As.
  7. Type your disk drive, the filename in the File Name box.
  8. Select Text from the Save As Type drop-down menu.
  9. Click Save.

Import Citations to Another Citation Manager

In EndNote

  1. Open your EndNote Library and click File and Import.
  2. Click Choose File at Import Data File: and select your text file.
  3. Select Refman RIS from the Import Option: drop-down menu.
  4. Click Import.

In EndNote Basic

  1. Open your EndNote Basic Library.
  2. Click the Collect tab.
  3. Click Import References
  4. Click Choose File and select the text file.
  5. Select Refman RIS from the Import Option: drop-down menu.
  6. Choose a group (if desired).
  7. Click Import.

In Mendeley Desktop

  1. Click Add Documents.
  2. Browse for file and click Open.

In Zotero

  1. Click gear icon.
  2. Click Import.
  3. Select the file.
  4. Click Open.
    References are automatically imported into your Zotero library.

In a new RefWorks account

  1. Select Backup/Restore from the Tools menu.
  2. Click Browse to open the desired backup file.
  3. Select desired Restore options. By default Include References, Include RSS Feeds, and Include Styles are selected. Deselect if desired.
  4. Select Restore.
  5. Click Perform Restore.

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