Frequently Asked Questions
- What is RefWorks?
- Who can access RefWorks?
- How do I access RefWorks?
- How do I set up a RefWorks account?
- How do I access RefWorks from off-campus?
- How do I get the RefWorks Group Code?
- a. What is Write-N-Cite and how can I use it off-campus?
b. How do I use Write-N-Cite to add citations or footnotes and reference lists to a paper?
- How do I import references from the UA library catalog and other library databases, Google Scholar, my EndNote database, or from an existing bibliography?
- Is there a limit to the size of my database?
- Is there a limit to the data I can put in the notes and abstract fields ?
- Can I store copies of my articles on RefWorks?
- How do I open two accounts in RefWorks at the same time?
- When I open two accounts at the same time they always end up being the same. Why?
- Alumni access: Can I access my data if I leave the University of Arizona?
- How can I use RefWorks from within my word processor to cite references?
- I want to write my paper off line. How do I print out a list of references with RefIDs?
- How do I tell which folders contain a specific reference?
- My data isn't importing correctly. Why does the Source information go into the Notes Field?
- Why does my bibliography have incorrect data included in the output document?
- Can I make a backup of my RefWorks data?
- Where can I get additional help with using RefWorks?
RefWorks is a web-based bibliography and database manager that allows you to create personal databases by importing references from text files or online databases. Use these references in writing papers and to automatically format papers and bibliographies in seconds.
All current UA faculty, staff, students, and alumni have access to RefWorks. You can use RefWorks on campus or off-campus.
RefWorks can be accessed by using web browsers:
- Internet Explorer Version 5.0 or later (Windows only)
- Netscape Version 6.0 or later (Windows and Mac)
- Firefox 1.x or later (Windows and Mac)
You can create your personal account after logging in to RefWorks.
Click on "Sign up for a New Account". Create a login and password, then click on the Create Account button to open and begin using the program.
Note: RefWorks will email your username and password (unencrypted) to the address used to set up your account after you register, or after changing any of your user information. Please DO NOT use the same username and password you use for accounts containing your private information!
For more details about setting up a new account, please go to: http://www.refworks.com/refworks/help/Setting_up_Your_Account.htm
To change your password or other information in your account, look under Tools and select Update User Information.
There are three options for accessing RefWorks from off-campus.
Option 1: Login from UA library link by using NetID.
- Connect to RefWorks using a link from the UA Library web site (also on the Articles & Databases page under the Search & Find tab).
- Log in using your NetID and password.
It should bring you to the RefWorks webpage.
- Log into your personal account.
Option 2: Use the UA campus VPN.
- If you are using your own computer, you can install the campus VPN software on your computer and use it to connect to RefWorks via the campus network
- The VPN software is available through UITS at the link above. Select the "how to setup" link appropriate for your computer or device and follow instructions for installing and setup.
- Please contact the UITS 24/7 IT Support Center for support.
- Once the VPN software is installed and you connect and log in to the campus network, you can connect directly to RefWorks (https://www.refworks.com/refworks).
- Note: If the VPN client is running correctly in the background and you are asked to enter a group code, a common solution to access RefWorks is to delete the browser's cookies, close the browser and go back into RefWorks through the library web site while the VPN client is running. This should clear out any previous sessions that may have expired with the RefWorks server.
Option 3: Use the UA RefWorks Group Code.
Current UA affiliates do not usually need to use the group code. Please follow instructions in #5 (options 1 & 2) and #7a for off-campus access. There may still be some occasions where the group code is needed, however.
RefWorks users who must use the group code:
- RefMobile users (or RefWorks on a mobile device)
For further assistance using RefMobile, see http://www.refworks.com/refworks/help/Working_with_RefMobile.htm
- Mac users trying to use Write-N-Cite from off-campus (first try to configure Write-N-Cite, but this doesn't always work on Macs)
- Alumni who are continuing to access RefWorks accounts post-graduation. (Note: Alumni access is directly through RefWorks.com using the group code, not through the database links provided on the library's site.)
Write-N-Cite is a utility that allows Microsoft Word users to access references from their RefWorks account and easily insert citations and then create a bibliography in a Word document. It is already installed on UA Libraries Information Commons computers.
To download and install Write-N-Cite to your own computer, please log into your personal RefWorks account and then click on Write-N-Cite under the Tools tab at the top of the window. The latest versions (as of June 2012) are compatible with Word 2007 (or 2008 for Mac) or later. If you are using older versions of Word, select one of the previous versions of Write-N-Cite that are still available.
Obtain a Login Code by navigating in RefWorks to the Tools, Write-N-Cite page. A unique code is displayed for you and is valid for four hours. This Login Code replaces the need for your username and password. You may also use the Group code.
For Write-N-Cite versions III (Windows) or 2.5 (Mac) and earlier:
UA RefWorks users not using the UA campus VPN can set up the WNC Proxy Configuration Utility (which is included in the Write-N-Cite software download) in order to use Write-N-Cite from off campus. It is only necessary to do this once.
Windows PC, version III (Vista, XP, Word 2007):
- From the Windows Start Menu select Programs and RefWorks
- Click on the WNC Proxy Configuration Utility.
- Enter this Proxy Server URL in the box:
- Click OK
- The next time you open Write-N-Cite, you will be prompted to enter your NetID in addition to your RefWorks login
- If the above instructions are not successful, please see those from the RefWorks help pages, under using Write-N-Cite from off-site.
Windows PC, version 2 (XP, Word 2003 & lower):
- From your computer's Start Menu select Programs and RefWorks
- Click on the WNC Proxy Configuration Utility
- Enter this Proxy Server URL in the box: http://ezproxy.library.arizona.edu/login?url=https://www.refworks.com/Refworks/?WNC=true
- Click OK
- The next time you open Write-N-Cite, you will be prompted to enter your NetID in addition to your RefWorks login
Note: Windows ME users must install VPN to use Write-N-Cite from off campus.
- Activate Write-N-Cite (You will not need to login at this point.)
- On the menu bar at the top left side of the screen, click on Write-N-Cite, then Preferences
- Click on the Proxy tab
- In the box, enter: http://ezproxy.library.arizona.edu/login?url=https://www.refworks.com/Refworks/?WNC=true
- Click OK
- Close Write-N-Cite, then restart it for this proxy configuration to take effect
- Once you have done this, you will then be prompted to enter your NetID in addition to your RefWorks login
After installation, Write-N-Cite can be opened directly from the desktop icon (which should also open Word with it), or from within Word, under Add-Ins (2007) or Tools (2003).
If you still are unable to use Write-N-Cite, you can use the Group Code. Repeat steps 1 & 2 above, then delete any proxy information you've entered. Restart Write-N-Cite. You should get prompted for the Group Code. If you need to get this code, please see our Group Code page (login with your NetID). You can enter this code to proceed.
For more detailed information about how to use this tool, including compatibility requirements, please see:
Note to Word 2007/2010 users:
Documents with a ".docx" extension may sometimes cause Write-n-Cite III to create very long files with a lot of garbage when creating the notes and reference lists. It is suggested to save the file as a Word 97-2003 ".doc" file instead before having Write-n-Cite process it.
Note to Word 2007 users using the older Windows version of Write-N-Cite (v.2):
You must save your document as a Word 97-2003 .doc file before you can create the bibliography. (If you need to retain your document in Word 2007, the best solution is to download and install Write-N-Cite III.)
8. How do I import references from the UA library catalog and other library databases, Google Scholar, my EndNote database, or from an existing bibliography?
Many, but not all, of our databases have the ability to export references to RefWorks.
See the following for further information :
Exporting References to RefWorks Instructions - includes specific instructions for exporting references from the UA Library Catalog, many of the Library's databases, Google Scholar and EndNote databases.
- Troubleshooting RefWorks - Google Scholar connections from off campus (what to do if you are asked for a group code).
- Tips on finishing your APA or MLA reference list (bibliography) (PDF)
No. Your database may contain an unlimited number of references.
The notes, abstract and user definable fields are limited to 1 gigabyte of information. Keep in mind that if you add large amounts of data to these fields it will take the program more time to display each reference.
Yes. When you edit a citation on RefWorks there is now an option to attach a copy of the article.
- If you haven't already done so, save the citation to RefWorks.
- Save a copy of the article on your computer (PDF files usually work best).
- Locate the citation in RefWorks and click on the Edit link at the top of the citation.
- Either type in the location of the file in the Attachments field or use the Browse button to locate it.
- Click the Add Attachment button.
- Maximum size per attachment is 20 MB.
Note: RefWorks limits the total size of attachments per account. If you need more space allocated please contact the library.
Attachments are not included in the RefWorks export function. You can include them in the backup function .
Since this feature is only available to institutional subscribers you will not be able to transfer attachments to an individual account.
Open your browser by selecting it from the Program menu or by clicking on the icon on your desktop or task bar. If you use Internet Explorer do not open another window by selecting the File, New, Window option. When you do this you will not open another existing RefWorks account it will be a second copy of the first regardless of the password or login information. The other option is to use a different browser, such as Firefox, to open the second account.
Good news! Alumni can now continue to access your RefWorks accounts after leaving UA. You will no longer access it from the library pages, but will go directly to Refworks.com, use the group code and your same personal account login. Keep in mind that much of the power of RefWorks is its connectivity to restricted databases. When you leave UA your access to our restricted databases ends. Therefore, if you will be attending or working for another university, you will probably want to back up your UA RefWorks database and restore it to a new account from the new institution. (See #20 for instructions.)
You can do this by using the Write-N-Cite utility. To download the program, login to RefWorks and click on Tools, then Write-N-Cite at the top of the window. Select and install the appropriate version for your computer. Once the program is installed you can launch it from within Microsoft Word under the RefWorks tab. For details on using Write-N-Cite see #7 above and the Write-N-Cite section in RefWorks Help.
First, create a folder and add all of the references you need to use for the paper to this folder. Next, from the Tools menu select Export. Select the folder you want to print. Select Citation List, which includes the RefID, Author, Title and Year. Click Export to Text File and when the file displays print it using the browser's Print function.
From the main view area of RefWorks, click on View or Edit in the top right corner of the reference for which you want the folder information. Click on the In Folder drop down box. Folders with a >> next to them contain the reference.
First, check that the data you are trying to import is in a tagged format. It should look something like this:
Effect of rearfoot orthotics on postural sway after lateral ankle sprain.
Hertel J; Denegar CR; Buckley WE; Sharkey NA; Stokes WL
AF: Author Affiliation
Department of Kinesiology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA16802, USA. email@example.com
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation., 2001 Jul, 82(7):1000-3
Also, from the Import area of RefWorks be sure 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 RefWorks does 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. You can suggest that RefWorks develops this filter by contacting RefWorks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you selected the correct Data Source and Database but the data still comes in incorrectly, please contact the RefWorks Support department at email@example.com. Attach a sample of the text file you are importing along with information on the source of the data.
The output style 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 example, if you see a book title in your bibliography that looks like: Economics of America [Monograph], you will find that the title in your data includes the [Monograph] - it was not added by the output style.
If you see something like this for the volume number of a journal: "Vol. 32 vol." it is because one of the "Vol." was imported with the data, and the other supplied by the output style. The problem may be with the way the data is imported rather than with the output style. Always check to be sure the data in the database is correct before formatting a bibliography.
Issue about capitalization of proper nouns in titles in APA default output styles - Normally, the APA format calls for only the first word of the title and any included proper nouns to be capitalized, but most of the APA output styles in RefWorks strip out all capitalization from titles after the first word, including proper nouns which should remain capitalized. Unfortunately, there is currently no easy way around this, but there are two possible options. The recommended option is to just manually capitalize the proper nouns in your word processor after the bibliography has been created. The other is to use the output style for "APA - No title casing applied" when creating the bibliography. (You can add this to your available output styles under Tools > Output Style Manager.) However, if you have citations in your database that have all words in titles capitalized, they will stay that way when you create the bibliography.
You can do this two ways. To backup and restore your database to a new RefWorks account, select TOOLS-->Backup & Restore to create a compressed file on your computer. This file can be restored to any blank RefWorks database; note that this will overwrite any existing data. We suggest this method if you will be attending another university or institution that subscribes to RefWorks and want to transfer your UA account to a RefWorks account at the new university. (This file cannot be opened or viewed outside of RefWorks. Use the export option below if you need a viewable copy.)
You can also export your entire database in a format that is compatible with other bibliographic software, or export the data in a delimited format to use in some other type of database program. Select REFERENCES->Export, then select a format.
There are two options:
Option 1: Extensive help can be found online.
- Online help (http://www.refworks.com/refworks2/help/RefWorks2.htm)
- Tutorials (https://www.refworks.com/tutorial/). These are available from Help in the the RefWorks menu:
- Introduction to RefWorks LibGuide (http://refworks.libguides.com/home)
A quick guide for getting started and using RefWorks, also including the new Write-N-Cite.
- RefWorks YouTube Channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/ProQuestRefWorks#g/p)
Several playlists of short video tutorials are available, covering beginning to advanced RefWorks topics.
- Webinars (http://www.refworks-cos.com/training/). Available from Resources in the right sidebar. Free, short online sessions on various topics. Register for live webinars or view recordings of past events.
- Email RefWorks Support (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance.
Option 2: Please ask librarians at the Reference Desk or call 520-621-6442, or ask a librarian using Instant Messaging .
Last modified: October 2, 2014