RefWorks at the NCSU Libraries

RefWorks is a browser-based citation management program, which can be used to organize, share, and compile citations. RefWorks can also be used to annotate and share journal articles, and has two "Write-and-Cite" plugins for Google Docs and Microsoft Word, both of which can be used to pull citations directly from RefWorks into a paper or other project.

RefWorks is free for NCSU users, and NC State graduates will retain access to RefWorks as long as NCSU maintains a subscription.

New users will need to create an account: click on the ProQuest RefWorks icon below, and then click on "Create Account" near the bottom of the screen. Be sure to use your NCSU address to sign up.

RefWorks Logo

Librarians at NC State have created a quick start guide to RefWorks below, and ProQuest has also provided a guide to using new RefWorks.

Legacy RefWorks


The old RefWorks system, referred to as RefWorks Legacy, still functions but it is strongly recommended that users switch to the current version of RefWorks, accessed at the links above. Legacy RefWorks is still supported by ProQuest, but this support may cease at any time without warning.

Guide to using legacy RefWorks

Questions? Meet with a librarian or Ask Us.

Training Workshops

In-person training workshops for RefWorks are offered through Libraries' Research Strategy workshops. If you don't see one scheduled, please contact Shaun Bennett to explore in-person training options.


Guide to RefWorks

First, you'll need to create a RefWorks account. Click on the RefWorks icon above or go to to set up an account. Make sure you use your address, and the Libraries strongly suggests using a different password from your Unity account when signing up for the RefWorks account.

RefWorks login screen

After you've signed up, RefWorks will send you an email to verify your account, and you'll be able to log into RefWorks. Once you've logged in, you'll see a screen which looks like the image below. To begin, the Libraries recommends installing at least one of the Write-and-Cite plugins. To get to those plugins, click the Tools button (usually a small gear) on the top right, and click on Tools again.

RefWorks tools menu

Once you're on the Tools page, you'll want to scroll down and install at least one of the Write-and-Cite tools, either for Google Docs or for Microsoft Word.

RefWorks tools page

Capturing References and Creating a Bibliography

Capturing references and creating bibliographies are two of the main functions of RefWorks. Once you find an article you'd like to save, you have two options to save it to RefWorks. If you just want the citation, you can look for "save" or "export" or cite" on the article's page or menu. Most library databases will link to RefWorks through those functions. Once you click on "Save to RefWorks" or a similar button, it will save the citation in your RefWorks account. However, if you want to save the full-text PDF, you'll need to first download the PDF to your computer, then upload it to RefWorks using the Add, then Upload Document buttons, as shown below

RefWorks add menu

Any items added to RefWorks, either through citation import or through PDF import, will be added to the "Last Imported" tab on the left side of the screen. You can organize these items into different folders by clicking on the My Folders tab on the left, then Add a Folder. Then, you can drag and drop your citations into those folders. There's no limit on the number of folders you can put citations into.

You can also share folders with others, which you can do by clicking on the Sharing tab on the left side. From there, hit Share a Folder, select the folder, and then choose how you'd like to share it. You may share via email (with settings determining how much access people will have), or by sharing a link.

Using Write-and-Cite

To actually use all these citations, you'll want to use the two Write-and-Cite plugins you downloaded earlier. We'll go over the Google Docs plugin first. Once you've installed the Google Docs add-on, it will show up under the Add-ons tab, then ProQuest RefWorks.

Google Docs Write-and-cite plugin menu

You'll be prompted to log in, and then all your citations will show up on the right side of the screen. From there, if you click on "All References", you'll be able to select which folder to view. You'll also want to click on the small gear icon, to make sure you're using the right citation style for your discipline. If you're not sure which citation style you should be using, consult with your professor.

Google write-and-cite plugin, showing reference menu

From this menu, you can hover over a reference you would like to use, then click on "Edit and Cite". From this box (see below) you can fine-tune the citation to show specific page numbers, or remove author or year. Much of this will be dependent upon which citation style you are using.

Google write-and-cite plugin, showing edit citation menu

The Write-and-Cite plugin will now automatically create a reference list for each citation you've added to your paper!

The Microsoft Word plugin for Write-and-Cite works in the same fashion, but with slightly different menus. It appears as a ribbon on the Word menu:

Write-and-cite add-on for Microsoft Word, ribbon

To insert citations, click on the Insert Citations button, then Insert New. From there, you'll be given the following interface, which will allow you to choose from your folders, pick a citation, modify that citation, then finally insert it into the document.

Write-and-cite add-on, showing citation menu

The Microsoft Word Write-and-Cite plugin does not automatically create a reference list. To do so, you'll want to click on Bibliography Options on the ribbon, then Insert Bibliography.

Instructions: Details on Importing from a Text File/Exporting from a Data Service

Check the RefWorks web site for instructions on sites not listed below.

Preferred Method: Direct Exporting

  1. From a database or journal site, search, and mark references you want to save. Many platforms give you a way to check the ones you want and add them to a temporary folder or cart.
  2. Look for a link to RefWorks, or to export, or save. Is there a Direct Export option?
  3. Direct exporting puts the citations directly into RefWorks. You may need to log into your RefWorks account first in order to get this to work.
  4. Tip! Move your references to any appropriate RefWorks folders immediately after direct export. This will help keep them organized.

Backup Method: Manual Exporting (when direct exporting is not supported or not working)

  1. From a database or journal site, search, and mark references you want to save. Many platforms give you a way to check the ones you want and add them to a temporary folder or cart.
  2. Look for a link to save or export. Exporting creates a text file to save temporarily on your computer.
  3. Go to RefWorks—Import. Choose the Import Filter/Data Source and Database your citations are coming from, and a Folder (optional but recommended).
  4. If you’re unsure about exporting correctly, or what Import Filter or Database to choose, check the table below (or this RefWorks help page for sources not found below) for directions specific to the source you’re using

Still not working? Look for options to export your references as RIS or BibTeX files. These are generic formats that RefWorks can interpret. Go to RefWorks—Import. Choose RIS or BibTeX as the Import Filter/Data Source and Database.

Data Service/ Vendor

Importing/Downloading Instructions
[Ex. Academic Search Premier, Agricola, ERIC]
Direct Export: add items to Folder -- From within Folder View, select items and click on Export (white paper icon) -- then select radio button for Direct Export to RefWorks, click on Save.
EI Engineering Village 2 [Ex. Compendex, Inspec] In the Results Manager box just above search results, select which items you want to save (or check individual boxes next to titles), choose Format (Abstract or Detailed Record recommended), and click on Download. Use the RefWorks Direct Export option.
Google Scholar Supports direct exporting once you set Scholar Preferences: select RefWorks as the default in the Bibliography Manager area. Then look for 'Import into RefWorks' links in search results.
IEEE/IEE Xplore Select the records you want, then click on view selected items, on the next page change format to citation and abstract and select RefWorks for direct export.
[Ex. Web of Science, BIOSIS Previews, Derwent, Zoological Record]
See Thomson entry in this table.
JSTOR Save citations of interest. Click View Saved Citations and choose Directly Export citations into RefWorks as the export option.
NexisUni Supports direct exporting (you'll need to allow pop-ups). In search results, check boxes next to records you want to save, and click the Export (book) icon. Note: exporting may only capture some of the bibliographic information visible in the record. View or Edit imported citations to confirm that all information you wish to save is captured, or Edit, and copy and paste additional fields.

Add all citations of interest to the Clipboard. When ready to export, go to the Clipboard. Select the Citations (BibTeX) format and click SaveClip. Highlight the generated text and copy (Edit--Copy) in the browser. In RefWorks, select BibTex as the data source, then MathSciNet as the database. Select the Import Data from the following Text option and paste the text from the MathSciNet page (Edit--Paste) into that box.


ProQuest In your search results, mark references of interest. Click View Selected Items to see all marked references. Click Export, and choose RefWorks.
PubMed In your search results, mark the references of interest. (Leave all unmarked if you want to save all citations.) From Send to, select Citation Manager and Create the File, OR select File, then select MEDLINE from the Format menu and save the file. In RefWorks, select NLM PubMed as the data source and PubMed as the database.

Mark the references of interest. Choose Export and Save with Tagged format (*.txt) as the file type. In RefWorks, select CAS Scifinder as the data source and CAPlus as the database.

Summon On-campus: mouse-over references and click the folder icon to add to your Saved Items. Click the Saved Items folder at the bottom of the screen. Click RefWorks to initiate a direct export. Off-campus: direct method may not work properly. Instead, when viewing temporarily saved items, click EndNote button, which generates a text file with a .ris extension. Save this file on desktop. In RefWorks, click References-Import. Choose RIS Format as both Import Filter and Database options and browse to find the .ris file you saved. Click import. After successful import, you can delete .ris file from desktop.
[Ex. Web of Science, BIOSIS Previews, Derwent, Zoological Record]
Check the references you want and Add to Marked List. View the Marked List. Check any extra fields you want saved (such as abstracts), choose the Save to RefWorks button (leave the options as Field Tagged). If direct exporting does not work for any reason: from your Marked List, use the Save to File option, leaving the drop-down as "Other Reference Software." Save the file that is generated, and import in RefWorks using Thomson Reuters as the import filter/data source and whichever database you were using.
Web of Science See Thomson entry in this table.
Web sites Use RefGrab-It.