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RefWorks: FAQ

RefWorks helps researchers gather, manage, store, and generate citations and bibliographies. Smith faculty, staff, & students have access on the web without charge.

FAQ Quick Links

Use these links to nativage through the FAQ on the right

Setup & Account

Importing & Exporting

Bibliographies & Write-n-Cite




Frequently Asked Questions

Email Reference ( if your question isn't answered here

Setup & Account

  • What is RefWorks? RefWorks is a web-based tool that assists in managing citations, creating bibliographies, and importing references from online databases.
  • How do I access RefWorks from on campus? Go to the libraries' homepage; select Research Tools, then Citation Guides. Here you will find links to RefWorks. If this is your first time using RefWorks, click on "Sign up for an Individual Account" and create a login and password. RefWorks will then email you the username and password that you created.  Otherwise, log into your current account.
  • How do I access RefWorks from off campus? Go to the libraries' homepage; select Research Tools, the Citation Guides. Click on the RefWorks link to log in. You will be asked to authenticate with your Novell username and password. After you authenticate, you will get the RefWorks login screen.
  • Can I add RefWorks to my bookmarks? To add RefWorks to your bookmarks, use this address:
  • Can I open two accounts in RefWorks at the same time? Yes. Open your browser a second time by selecting it from the Program menu or by clicking on the icon on your desktop or task bar. [Do not open another window by selecting File, New, Window --this will only re-open the first RefWorks account.]
  • Can a RefWorks account be shared by a group? Yes. An individual may create more than one account using the same email address, but with different usernames and passwords for each account. This can be useful when working on group projects. The username and password can be shared with other members of the group for one of the accounts. Each member can then log in to that RefWorks account to add, organize, or delete information. During the process, each group member can utilize the bibliographic resources from the group folder and then use RefWorks to format the bibliography according to the preferred style.
  • Is there a limit to the size of my database? No. Your database may contain an unlimited number of references.
  • Is there a limit to the data I can put in the notes and abstract fields? The notes, abstract, and user definable fields are limited to 1 gigabyte of information. Note that by adding large amounts of data to these fields, the program takes more time to display each reference.
  • Where are my RefWorks bibliographies stored? Your bibliographic information is stored on the RefWorks server.
  • How do I back up my citations? Select the Backup/Restore link under the References menu. Select Include References (for the database) and/or Include Output Styles (for outputs). Click on Perform Backup. Save the file when prompted. It should be saved as a .zip file. Please do not change the extension of the file as it is necessary to restore if you need to do so later. Although RefWorks backs up all databases on a regular basis, we recommend users do this as well. You may also export your references to a text file as a back up measure by choosing Export under the References menu.
  • What happens when I graduate or leave Smith and no longer have access to RefWorks and my data? Graduating seniors, alumnae and others, who are no longer enrolled at Smith should contact Library Help ( for information about access.
Note that if you go to another college or university, they may also have a RefWorks subscription or another citation management software program.
Instructions for exporting to another RefWorks subscription or another citation management software program are available from the RefWorks help menu.
  • Can alumnae create RefWorks accounts? Yes, alumnae users have access to RefWorks courtesy of the RefWorks Alumni Program. Please contact if you would like to set up an account.

Importing & Exporting

  • How do I import citations from library databases or the Library Catalog into RefWorks? Some databases allow you to export your selected citations directly into your RefWorks account.
    See Databases
    See Library Catalog
    Otherwise, you can save your search results as a text file on any of your local drives.
  • What if the database I need to use is not included in the RefWorks filters? RefWorks contains filters for many databases and information vendors. However, if you do not find a filter for a particular database, you may request that RefWorks create one for your database. While logged into your RefWorks account, click on "Request Filter/Format" in the Import screen. Keep in mind that it may not always be possible to create a filter for a particular database. This decision is usually that of the database vendor and not RefWorks.
  • When I try to export citations from a database to RefWorks, nothing happens. What do I do? Make sure your popup window blocker is not set on your browser. If you continue to have problems with exporting citations to RefWorks, you may want to save your citations as text and use RefWorks to import.
  • Can I export my bibliographic information? You may export all or some of your bibliographic information into another bibliographic management program such as EndNote, a comma-delimited file, or as a text or Word file (e.g. a formatted bibliography or citation list). You may also export your citations in RefWorks format, in order to share them with another RefWorks user who can then import the citations into their RefWorks account.
  • My data doesn't always import correctly. What can I do? Make sure the data you are trying to import is in a tagged format. For example:
TI: Title
Reforming the circle: fragments of the social history of a vernacular African dance form.
AU: Author
James, Wendy
AF: AuthorAffiliation
Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford
SO: Source
Journal of African Cultural Studies; Jun2000, Vol. 13 Issue 1, p140, 13p
Go to the Import area of RefWorks and ensure that both the Import Filter/Data Source and Database have been selected correctly. If you don't see either All Databases or the specific database you are searching in the drop down list, we do not have a filter for that particular database. In this case the data may still import but it may not be imported into the correct fields and the source information will all go into the notes field. Selecting Multiple Databases will not work if the specific database you are importing is not in the list. If you selected the correct Data Source and Database but the data still comes in incorrectly, please contact the RefWorks support department at Attach a sample of the text file you are importing along with information on the source of the data.
  • How do I export my RefWorks citations to EndNote? From RefWorks, go to the References menu and select Export. Choose the Bibliographic Software option and save the file to your computer In EndNote, go to the File menu and select Import. Locate the file and for "import option" choose "Reference Manager RIS."
  • Is RefWorks compatible with Latex/BibTeX? Yes. RefWorks has a BibTex output format. After you've input your citations into RefWorks, select the Bibliography button and select BibTeX as the output format. Select Base Bibliography on Reference List and select RTF as the File Type to Create. Select Create Bibliography. You can then select all references or references from a particular folder. A separate RTF with your citations in BibTeX format will be created.
  • Can I import a bibliography from a Word document? You can convert a Word bibliography into a format that RefWorks can read. Instructions are available on UCSF's website. Don't forget to check the imported citations for errors.

Bibliographies & Write-n-Cite

  • What is Write-and-Cite? Write-N-Cite allows Microsoft Word users to run an abbreviated version of RefWorks in a paper or manuscript. It also automatically formats internal references and bibliographies. Only author, title, and year are displayed; a full-view option is also available. The utility installs a Write-N-Cite icon on your desktop as well as an Add-in to your Word toolbar and a menu option under Tools for launching Write-N-Cite. Click here for more information about Write-N-Cite, or to download the Write-N-Cite utility program to your computer.
If you are not able to use Write-N-Cite, you can still insert references and a bibliography into your paper: Once the paper is written and you're ready to insert a reference, login to RefWorks. Click on One line/Cite View at the top of your reference list. Click the Cite link next to the reference you want to insert. The Citation Viewer window will pop up. Click Select Citation. Go to the Edit Menu and choose Copy. Go to your paper. Click where you want to insert the reference. Go to the Edit Menu and choose Paste. Make sure to go back to the Citation Viewer and select Clear after the reference is inserted. When you have finished inserting all references, save and close your paper. To generate your bibliography, click the Bibliography button in RefWorks. Choose the citation format (e.g., MLA, APA) from the Output Format pull down menu. Select Base Bibliography on Manuscript. Use the Browse button to find and select your paper. RefWorks will automatically add your references and bibliography.
Note: To ensure that your original paper in MS Word is secure, always make a back-up copy when you use Write-n-Cite Version 4.
To download Write-N-Cite to your computer:
1. Log in to your account using your username and password.
2. Choose the "Write-N-Cite" option on the "Tools" Menu.
3. On the next screen choose the appropriate version of Write-N-Cite for your operating system.
4. Click "Open" and follow the installation instructions.

Windows Users

  1. From the Start menu, select Programs, then RefWorks.
  2. Select the WNC Proxy Configuration Utility.
  3. Enter the following URL:
  4. Help with WNC:

Macintosh Users

Contact the on-call Reference librarian - (413) 585-2910, - for the group code.
Help installing WNC: & troubleshooting

  • Why does my bibliography have incorrect data included in the output document? The output format takes the data from a particular field and inserts it into the bibliography. If the data in the field is incorrect it will appear to be wrong in the output format. For instance, you may see a book title that has [Monograph] after it. Journal titles may also show an extra tag regarding volume numbers. The problem may be with the way the data is imported rather than with the output format. Always check that the data in the database is correct before formatting a bibliography. If it is incorrect, you may edit the data yourself.
  • I want to write my paper off line. How do I print out a list of references with RefIDs? Create a folder and add all of the references you'll need for the paper. Next, Click on Export and select the folder to be printed. Select Citation List (which includes the refID, author, title, and year). Click Export to Text File. Once the file displays, use the browser's Print function to print the paper.


  • What is RefGrab-It? RefGrab-It is a program that captures basic bibliographic information about websites and allows their import into RefWorks. RefGrab-It must be installed on your computer before it can be used. Installation instructions are located here and help instructions are located here.

Teaching, Learning & Research Staff

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Teaching, Learning & Research Librarians