Frequently Asked Questions

RefWorks FAQ

RefWorks FAQ

RefWorks FAQ

NOTE: UVA's access to RefWorks will cease on August 31, 2019. Your RefWorks account will not function after this date. If you want access to your references, you must migrate them to another citation manager. See this guide for options.

Need assistance? Use the Ask Us link at left and we're happy to help.

What is RefWorks?

RefWorks is a Web-based citation management program. It consists of two components: RefWorks, which is web-based and is used for collecting and managing references, and an add-in for Microsoft Word: either Write-N-Cite or Citation Manager (for Word 2016) to format your paper. The University of Virginia has had a subscription to RefWorks, so it was available free of charge to any UVa affiliate.

Currently, there are two versions of RefWorks, "legacy" and "new". UVA has not officially transitioned to new RefWorks, though if you are new to RefWorks, you may begin using this version.

Is RefWorks compatible with my computer and/or version of Word?

RefWorks is web-based and compatible with nearly all browsers. HOWEVER, the Write-N-Cite and RefWorks Citation Manager plug-ins have specific requirements. See this Write-N-Cite Support for compatibility with your operating system and version of Word and links to downloads. For Mac 2016 users, you must use RefWorks Citation Manager (Windows Word 2016 users may use either Write-N-Cite or RefWorks Citation Manager. 

How do I install the RefWorks plug-ins to Word (either Write-N-Cite or RefWorks Citation Manager)?

Download links for Write-N-Cite can be found in RefWorks, under Tools, then Write-N-Cite. Or, visit this Write-N-Cite Support page.

Download and installation instructions for RefWorks Citation Manager for Word 2016 can be found here. Or see this video "Installing RefWorks Citation Manager for Word 2016". There is also a video on using Citation Manager.

Note that any citations and/or bibliography that have been inserted by Write-N-Cite are not compatible with the RefWorks Citation Manager add-on. Conversely, any citations and/or bibliography that have been inserted by the RefWorks Citation Manager are not compatible with Write-N-Cite. Citations will need to be re-inserted and the document updated with Write-N-Cite or the RefWorks Citation Manager.

How do I access RefWorks and create a database?

RefWorks account creation is no longer available as of Feb 25, 2019.

How do I use RefWorks from home?

As with any other restricted UVa resource, accessing RefWorks requires Netbadge login.

How do I add references to journal articles to RefWorks?

You may type your reference manually, import data from saved files, or directly export references into your RefWorks database from commercial databases such as PubMed, OVID or Web of Science. Read more.

For instructions on adding references from PubMed to Legacy RefWorks, see these instructions.

For instructions on adding references from PubMed to New Refworks, see these instructions.

How do I add references from Web sites to RefWorks?

For legacy RefWorks, see these instructions on "RefGrabIt", a plugin for capturing Web page information. note that RefGrabIt does not work with Safari or chrome.

For New RefWorks, see these instructions on the "Save to RefWorks" button.

How do I back up my database?

RefWorks databases are stored on the RefWorks server. You may backup your database by choosing the "Backup/Restore" option under "Tools." You will then have a chance to save anywhere you choose. It is always a good idea to make a backup copy after you make significant changes to your database.

How can I have multiple databases?

An account is considered as one database. If you want to have several databases, you need to create several accounts.

How can I share my RefWorks database?

Read-only access to your database only gives viewing permission for the database. By restricting users to "Read-only" permission, the integrity of your database is protected. Another way of sharing your database is to create an account for your lab so that everyone in the lab can add/delete/use references in the database. In this solution, everyone is responsible for maintaining references in the account/database.

Can I switch to Zotero, Mendeley, F1000 Workspace, or EndNote from RefWorks?

Yes. You can export references in your RefWorks database and import them into other citation managers. Ask Us for a personalized consultation on converting references.

Can I import citations to RefWorks from a Word document or a PDF?

Yes - follow these instructions (this will work for other citations managers such as EndNote, Mendeley, Zotero, etc.)

Where can I learn more about RefWorks?

Help and tutorials on various RefWorks functions can be found online: see our instructions on how to access these resources. Prefer one-on-one assistance? Contact us at Ask Us for a personalized consultation. Or see below for links to help guides and online training.

RefWorks Help

Where can I get help with RefWorks?

The RefWorks FAQ and the WriteNCite FAQ contain many answers and tips, e.g. what to do if your WriteNCite toolbar disappears. HSL librarians are familiar with RefWorks: contact us through Ask a Librarian or at for a personalized training consultation.

Introduction to RefWorks (legacy version) - links and videos

New RefWorks: welcome to the New RefWorks - links and videos

Short training videos for Legacy RefWorks

Short training videos for New RefWorks

Need troubleshooting assistance? Contact RefWorks Technical Support:

RefWorks Support and Troubleshooting

Support Center
Submit a Support Case


Phone toll free:
1.800.889.3358 (press 7 for RefWorks)
    Live Support Phone Hours:
    Monday – Friday: 8 AM - 9 PM ET

Chat: M - F 8 AM - 6 PM ET
   Chat with RefWorks

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