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Citation Management

Exporting References from RefWorks


  • Folders: RefWorks folders can not be imported into other citation managers. If you use folders in RefWorks and wish to keep your folder structure, you will need to export the content in each folder one folder at a time and recreate the folder structure in your new citation manager. To do this, log into your RefWorks account, click on the name of the folder you wish to export, then follow the steps below. Repeat for each folder.
  • Attachments: Attachments (such as PDFs) that you have uploaded into RefWorks will not be exported. You will need to manually save these onto your computer and/or import them into whatever citation manager you decide to use.
  • Large numbers of references: If you have a large number of citations (+500), you may have difficulty exporting them all at once. If this is the case, subdivide your citations, and export smaller sets.

To export all citations from RefWorks:

Log into your RefWorks account.

From the References menu, choose Export

In the Export References dialog box,

  • make sure the correct number of references is chosen (usually All in List);
  • Select the Export Format Bibliographic Software (EndNote, Reference manager, ProCite) - this is .RIS file format, which is recognized by most citation management software;
    • If moving to EndNote Basic, you may also use these instructions for exporting citations.
  • Click the Export References button.

Export References Dialog Box

A dialog box in the bottom-right corner of your screen will tell you when the export is complete.

RefWorks Export Completed

A dialog box should pop up prompting you to save the file. If you don't see this box, click the "click here" link in the box shown above.

Depending on the browser you're using, a new browser window may appear with your references in a structured/tagged format as shown:

Right click in the browser window and choose Save As (or choose File > Save Page As).
Save the file with the extension .ris on your Desktop or elsewhere on your computer.

To import your RefWorks citations to another citation manager: 
  1. Open your new citation manager (e.g. Zotero, Mendeley, etc.)
  2. Look for an Import option (sometimes called "Add Files")
  3. Import the .RIS file you created in the process described above.

Note: If you're having difficulty importing your .RIS file into Mendeley (the .ris file or .txt file is imported instead of the individual references), export your results from RefWorks as BibTex format instead (.bib).