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RefWorks Transition Guide

Learn about alternate citation management tools like Zotero, Mendley, and EndNote. Then follow step-by-step directions to migrate your citations out of RefWorks to your new citation manager.

Library Research Guide

Optional Upgrade to RefWorks 3 for PDFs, Tags, and Notes

RefWorks 2 cannot export PDFs, tags, or notes. If you want to retain PDFs, tags, and notes, upgrade to RefWorks 3, then transition from RefWorks 3. If you do not need PDFs, tags, or notes, continue with the directions on this page.

Step 1: Export citations from RefWorks 2

  1. Log into your RefWorks account.
  2. Select the Organize & Share Folders tab at the top right:
    Clicking on Organize and Share Folders in your RefWorks screen to be able to export references by folder
  3. Your folders are listed here. For each folder, select the folder icon to the right, then Export:
    Clicking on the left folder inside of Organize and Share Folders in RefWorks to be able to export references by folder
  4. Select Bibliographic Software (EndNote, Reference Manager, ProCite).Selecting the export format from the Organize and Share Folder pane in RefWorks
  5. Save the file. If a new window opens with all the references, right click and Save As... (or Ctrl + S); otherwise, select the "click here" link in the bottom right corner and right click and Save As... (or Ctrl + S) to save. Saving your exported citations from RefWorks to import into another reference manager
  6. Rename the file and add .ris, for example, Biology Mauscript.ris. Then Save as type: All Files (*.*).
    Changing File Name and Save as type.
  7. Repeat steps 3-6 renaming and saving each file with the original folder name so you can keep it organized when you import it into your new citation manager. For example, save citations exported from a folder called Biology Manuscript as "Biology Manuscript.ris".​ 

Your references are now ready to import into a new citation manager! Continue to step 2 on this page.

  1. Log into your RefWorks account.
  2. Select the References button at the top left, then select Export:
    Beginning to export RefWorks references by clicking on References in the menu and then Export
  3. Choose whether you want to export SelectedPage, or All in List citations.
  4. Select Bibliographic Software (EndNote, Reference Manager, ProCite).export references format dropdown box
  5. Save the file. If a new window opens with all the references, right click and Save As... (or Ctrl + S); otherwise, select the "click here" link in the bottom right corner and right click and Save As... (or Ctrl + S) to save.Saving your exported citations from RefWorks to import into another reference manager
  6. Rename the file and add .ris, for example, Biology Mauscript.ris. Then Save as type: All Files (*.*).
    Changing File Name and Save as type.

 

Your references are now ready to import into a new citation manager! Continue to step 2 on this page.

Step 2: Import citations to your new citation manager

  1. Create an account, download Zotero 5.0, and open it.

Ctrl+Shift+I to import

  1. In the Zotero installed on your computer, select File from the top bar, then Import. When the Where do you want to import from? box appears, select a file type (BibTeX, RIS, Zotero RDF, etc.).
  2. Select the file that you exported from RefWorks and select Open. All done!

 

Note: When using Zotero Desktop on a public computer be sure to sign in and out of your account in Edit > Preferences > Sync.

  1. Create a Mendeley account then download and open Mendeley Desktop
  1. Select File, then Import, then the RIS - Research Information Systems (*.ris) option.

Importing by selecting File, Import, and RIS

  1. Find the RIS (*.ris) file that RefWorks exported, then select Open. All done!

 

  1. Create a paid EndNote Desktop account (student and upgrade discounts for EndNote x9 available here) and log in.
  2. Select File, then Import, then File:
    Selecting File then Import then File in Endnote to import citations from RefWorks
  3. Select Choose to browse for the file you exported from RefWorks, select the Import Option for your exported fileand then select Import. All done!
    Selecting Reference Manager (RIS) import option in Endnote to import your references from RefWorksIf you are a Mac user, you may be unable to import RefWorks citations directly into EndNote Desktop. You can import citations to EndNote Online (see the tab above) and then sync your accounts so that the citations also appear in EndNote Desktop. 
  1. Create a free EndNote Online account (select EndNote from the tools menu) and log in.

     

  2. Select Collect and then Import References.Selecting Collect and Import References
  3. Choose File to browse for the file you exported from RefWorks, select RefMan RIS as Import Option, select New group from To, and click on Import. All done!

    Importing references