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Citation Management : RefWorks

A guide for all things citation management.

Set up an account with RefWorks

The blue and white RefWorks Logo "ProQuest RefWorks"




If you are new to using RefWorks, we recommend you use the newest version.

  1. Visit
  2. Create a new account with your email
  3. From your account, select Tools > Tools and install the following: Save references on the web (browser extension)RefWorks Citation Manager for use with Microsoft Word 2016 and aboveWrite-N-Cite for use with Microsoft Word 2008 and 2011

The instructions on the rest of this page apply for new RefWorks, unless otherwise noted. An access link for legacy RefWorks, including information about migrating to the new RefWorks, is provided at the bottom of this page.

How to Add References

Use RefWorks to save, organize, and keep track of references found online, in Orbis (the Yale Library catalog), and in library databases (such as Articles+, JSTOR, ProQuest).

Add citations from the library catalog and databases

Quicksearch Books+ and many library databases allow you to export references directly into RefWorks. Look for the Export or Save next to any "cite" options.

For PubMed, follow these instructions.

How to import batch references

From a database (or from another citation manager), look for the option to export records in .ris format.

Add citations from within RefWorks

This feature is good for adding known-references to your RefWorks collection. It can, however, be more difficult to search at times. For broad searches about a topic, you may want to use the search and filter features of your favorite database.

  • In the left sidebar, select Search Databases. Search PubMed or the Library of Congress, or enter a keyword to identify a difference database.
  • Select the results you want to add, and select Import.
Add citations manually

This is a last resort! It's better to import references than to create them. To add references manually:

  • Select Add > Create new reference.
  • Start entering information about the citation.
  • New RefWorks will try to identify the document you are describing.
  • When all the information is there, click Save

Additional Support

ProQuest provides additional support for using features that come with RefWorks.

About RefWorks

Q: What is RefWorks?

A: RefWorks is a citation management tool to help you create bibliographies, format footnotes, and organize information for your research. RefWorks is web-based and free for Yale affiliates using an email address.

Q: What is the difference between 'Legacy' RefWorks and RefWorks?

Legacy RefWorks is an older version of the RefWorks platform. It is no longer being updated by the vendor, but existing users can continue to use it. We existing users upgrade to (new) RefWorks. 

Q: Does RefWorks have a desktop application?

No, RefWorks is only a web-based citation manager. If you'd a citation manager as a desktop application, try EndNote or Zotero.

Write a Paper

RefWorks offers several methods to insert and format citations, footnotes, and bibliographies while writing for both Microsoft Word and Google Docs.

Write-N-Cite with Google Docs

If you haven't already, install RefWorks for Google Docs

  • Open Google Docs and put your cursor where you want the citation to go.
  • Open the RefWorks sidebar.
  • Select the reference you want to add and select "Cite this."

This action will insert an in-text citation at the cursor's location and insert a bibliography at the end of the document.

Write-N-Cite with Microsoft Word

If you haven't already, install the RefWorks Citation Manager

  • Put the cursor where you want the citation to go. 
  • Open the RefWorks Citation Manager and log in with your RefWorks credentials. 
  • Select the reference and select Quick Cite.

This action will insert an in-text citation at the cursor's location and insert a bibliography at the end of the document.

Access Legacy RefWorks

RefWorks logo

If you do not already have a RefWorks account it is recommended that you do not use legacy RefWorks. The software is no longer being updated nor supported by the vendor. For existing legacy RefWorks users, we recommend upgrading to the new RefWorks. Read about how to upgrade from Legacy RefWorks to RefWorks. 

Before you migrate to new RefWorks

The new RefWorks has replaced the option to have multiple accounts with Projects. Follow the steps below to migrate multiple accounts into one account, and then create "Projects."

  1. Create your new RefWorks account.
  2. Export your references from each Legacy RefWorks account. Give each exported file a unique filename and save to your computer.
  3. Upload each file into your new RefWorks account. Click on Add, then Import References. Then select a file from your computer. Each file should go into a different Project.

Page Updates

This page was updated by Kelly Blanchat on February 22, 2022. Please reach out for corrections or additional information.