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Citation: RefWorks

Legacy RefWorks vs. New Refworks

RefWorks is in the process of transitioning to a new interface.  While Gettysburg College will not be fully implementing the new version until a later date, individual users can choose to stay with the legacy version or switch over to the new version.  

NOTE: If you decide to switch to the new version you MUST download the new Write-N-Cite on your own computer.  The Write-N-Cite version on all campus lab computers only support the Legacy RefWorks version.  

If you need assistance using the New RefWorks interface, check out the guide from the creators of RefWorks.  Or stop by the Research Help Desk and ask the librarian on duty.














About RefWorks

For hardcore organizers, or those who need to be, this bibliographic management database is a dream.  You can use it to organize your citations, keep notes about them, and generate perfectly formatted lists of references for your papers.  It even interacts with Microsoft Word to help you format in-text citations.


Special Note About Pop-ups

  • RefWorks uses pop-up windows.  If your pop-ups are blocked (by your browser or by the Google toolbar, for example), you may need to temporarily unblock them in order to use this tool well.

What's the group code?

If you are logging into RefWorks or creating your account while connected to Gettysburg's network, you will not be prompted for the "group code." However, when you attempt to log-in while off-campus (for example, when home during break), you'll be prompted for this code before you can login.

To get this code, please contact the Research Help Desk. We're happy to send it to you and get you connected to your account.

The New RefWorks

If you decide to use the new version of RefWorks, check out this handy Welcome to the New RefWorks! guide.  

It includes information about getting started with the New RefWorks, getting information into the New RefWorks, and more!


In addition to the short overview in this guide. RefWorks has several great tutorials on its website. Take them all or consult specific sections:

Handout (PDF)

You can download basic directions for using RefWorks below.


Each RefWorks user gets 100 MB of storage. This means you can attach copies of PDFs or other files to each reference in your library and access them later wherever you have Internet access to RefWorks. There is a 20 MB limit per attachment

Add Attachment

. How do I add an attachment?

  • Click the magnifying glass to view a reference.
  • Click "edit." Scroll down to "Attachments."
  • Browse to find your file and click "Add Attachment."

Other RefWorks Tools

RefGrab-It is an optional feature for pulling citation information from web pages. It is available in two versions -- a bookmarklet that works with either Internet Explorer or Firefox and downloadable plug-ins for Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Ref Grab-It Logo

You can download it from the "Tools" link when you're logged into RefWorks.

How to Export References from Databases

There are two ways to bring references into RefWorks. You can input them hand, filling out the form inside RefWorks, or, the strength of using RefWorks, you can directly export references from databases into RefWorks.

Across many of our databases, you will see options to export reference. The instructions below are for any of our databases on the EBSCO platform (Academic Search Premier, MLA Bibliography, America: History & life, etc.). However, the same basic instructions will apply for any of the other databases that offer this feature. If you're ever uncertain if you can export a reference, just ask at the Reference Desk or see the note below.

Exporting from an EBSCO Database (like Academic Search Premier)

1. When you've run a search and found an item you want to cite, click the folder icon to add items to your personal folder.
2. When you are done gathering items, click on the folder icon at the top of the page.
3. Select the items you want to send to RefWorks and click on the Export icon.
4. Make sure the Direct Export to RefWorks is selected and click the Save button in Academic Search Premier.

5. You'll be prompted to login to Refworks. Once logged in, ALWAYS view the Last Imported Folder to make sure all your references transferred into RefWorks.


Note: Some databases don't feature a direct export to RefWorks option (for example: PubMed), however RefWorks has compiled a list of how to export from those databases with step-by-step instructions. Consult the database list to find out more information about how to export your references. 

Set up Your RefWorks Account

There are four simple steps to create your RefWorks account.
  1. Go to  
  2. Click on Login
  3. Click on"Sign up for a New Account"
  4. Complete web form and click register

Sign up for a New Account

Managing Your References

Now that you have your references in RefWorks, you can organize them into folders as you want. Then, it's quick and easy to create a bibliography for your paper or presentation.

This tutorial from RefWorks will show you the basics on organizing your references.

To create a bibliography:

  • Your references are automatically filed in the Last Imported folder. You should move them to an appropriate folder. You can create as many folders as you like within RefWorks.
  • Use the View icon (to the right of the citation) to make sure the information imported from the database correctly.
  • Use the Edit icon to add more information to your database record.
  • To generate a bibliography, click on the Create Bibliography button.
  • Choose an output (citation) style (MLA, APA, Turabian, etc.)
  • Choose Format a Bibliography from a List of References, pick a file type from the drop down window (ex. Word for Windows), and select the folder from which you want to draw the references.
  • Then click on Create Bibliography (bottom right-hand corner)


Note that the data that comes out is only as clean as the data that went into RefWorks. 
You may need to edit it!

Using the Write-N-Cite Word Plug-in

Write-N-Cite is a utility available for download that you can use with Word to add and format references from your RefWorks database while writing your paper. It will automatically work with Word to create citations in your preferred citation style.

Note: Write-N-Cite is installed on all lab computers. If installing to your own computer: for Windows users, it is  MS XP, Vista, and Windows 7 compatible and supported by Word 2007 and 2010. For Mac users, it is OS X 10.5-10.7 compatible and supported by Word 2008 and 2011.

Step 1: Installing Write-N-CiteRefWorks Write-N-Cite Word Plug-in

  • First, if needed, download the Write-N-Cite tool.  It’s under the Tools menu in RefWorks.
  • Open Microsoft Word.  You should see the Write-N-Cite icon under the Add-Ins tab

Step 2: Writing Your Paper

  • Start typing your paper.
  • When you want to insert an in-text citation or note, click on the Write-N-Cite button.  You’ll be prompted to log into your RefWorks account.
  • Find the reference you want, and click on the Cite link in the left margin.
  • Note that RefWorks inserted some text into your paper with double curly brackets.Don’t worry – it will go away in the final version.
  • Continue until you’re done.
  • Save your paper.

Step 3: Creating Your Bibliography

  • Now you can format your paper to include in-text citations and the bibliography. Click on the Bibliography button in RefWorks. Select an output style (APA, MLA, etc) and select the option for Format Paper and Bibliography.
  • Browse for your saved paper and then click on the Create Bibliography button.
  • RefWorks will generate another Word document with “Final” as the first word in the file name.  You may need to do some cleanup (always proofread!), but this should do most of the work for you.
  • IMPORTANT! If you have to go back to the paper to make changes, use the original version (i.e., don’t use the “final” version).  RefWorks cannot read an already formatted paper.  Edit the original and create a new “final” version.


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300 North Washington Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325