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Reference management: RefWorks


RefWorks is a programme that helps you in collecting, organising, citing and sharing references. You can also add notes to the references, add PDFs and generate bibliographies.

The UU has a licence for RefWorks. After you have left Utrecht University, you can keep on using RefWorks (provided that you make some changes to your profile: new e-mail adress and new 'role ' as alumni).

Below you will find how it works:

This is how you create a personal account for RefWorks-3:

  • Go to
  • Enter your university email address and click on [Check]
  • Choose a password*
  • Click on the [activation link] in the email you receive from Proquest
    Don't throw this email away: it contains important infomation
  • After you have created an account, click on "Already have an account? Log in" in the right hand top corner
  • Watch the video RefWorks Basic Functionality

Please note: Using a browser extension for content filtering and ad blocking may block RefWorks.Pop-ups must be allowed.


Large search systems such as WorldCat, Google Scholar, Scopus, Web of Science etc. offer the option "direct export" (in Google Scholar "import into RefWorks"). Importing via a ris.file also works very well.

How to import references is explained in the video Exporting references to Refworks.

As an addition to this video we have the following specific information for  WorldCat:

For an (e-)book or a section of an (e-)book, use WorldCat

This how you do it:

  • Find the book
  • click on the button [Export]
  • click on the hyperlink [Export to& RefWorks]

Manually adding references, adding PDFs etc is explained in the video Creating references and adding documents within RefWorks.

See also the RefWorks User Guide.

Carefully look at the references you imported into RefWorks.
Check if all references you need in a bibliography are correct and complete. If not, make modifications and make the reference complete.
Watch the video Editing references in RefWorks to learn how to do that.

You may also add a PDF to your reference.

After you have imported references into RefWorks, you can organise them by saving them in folders.
Watch the  video Organizing references with folders in RefWorks to learn how to do that.

See also the RefWorks User Guide.

It may happen that you have included the same reference several times, that means you will have to deduplicate. This is easiest if all references are in the same folder.

  • Next select the dropdown icon (3 dots on top of each other) and click on find duplicates. A screen opens where you choose if you want to go through all your references or only the folder that you are currently working in. You can choose between “strict” or “fuzzy” searches.
    - Strict match = Title, author and publication date must have an exact match.
    - Fuzzy match = Title, author and publication date show similarities, but are not exactly equal.
  • Next click on find duplicates to start the search
  • Have a look at the results: RefWorks puts the duplicates with the greatest match at the top of the results list. These duplicates are already ticked, you can have a check yourself if they are really duplicates and then delete them.

RefWorks allows including in-text refererences or references in your footnotes.
Watch the video Writing with RefWorks to see how it works.

To add references to a document you need to download the right add-on. For instance:

  • RefWorks Citation Manager (RCM) or Write-n-Cite (WnC) or
  • Refworks for Google Docs or
  • Quick Cite.

Your choice depends on the operating system of your computer (Windows / Mac) and the version of Word or Google Docs.
We advise you to use the most recent version of Word / Office 365.
All UU users can update via the UU to a Word version that supports RCM:

Check this overview (in the RefWorks User Guide) to find which is he best add-on for you
If you have the choice between WnC and RCM, choose RCM
If you use neither Word nor Google Docs, choose Quick Cite.

You can create a bibliography after you have added references to your text or from your RefWorks database (create bibliography).

If you want to work together on a document, it is useful to be able to share your references.
Watch this video to learn how to do this Organizing references with folders in Refworks.
The second part of the video is about sharing folders.

See also the RefWorks User guide.

You can also export your references to a file. This file you can give to somebody else.
If you might decide to use another reference management tool, you can import the file into the other programme.

RefWorks Top FAQ

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