RefWorks is a reference management software package that enables you to:

  • import references from databases or text files
  • create references from saved PDF articles
  • build up your own database of relevant references
  • add correctly formatted citations to word documents
  • build a bibliography

RefWorks is a web-based package that can be used from any computer with an internet connection. It is particularly useful for undergraduates and taught-course postgraduates preparing projects and dissertations.

RefWorks is funded by Library Services and is a free service to our users.


Click on Log in to RefWorks above and log in with your College username and password when asked to do so.

You will be taken to the Create Account screen.

You need to enter the following information:

  • Your name and College email address
  • Your department
  • Your status e.g. undergraduate

You are now ready to start using RefWorks!

There are various ways to do this:

  • Direct Export
  • Import saved PDFs of articles
  • Import a text or RIS file
  • Import using Save to Refworks
  • Import references from Imperial College Library Search
  • Add manually

Further information on all of these import methods is in our RefWorks Quick Guide (pdf).

RefWorks Citation Manager (RCM) is an app available from the Microsoft Office Store which can be used in Word 2016 and above for Windows or Mac to insert citations and create reference lists.

To install RefWorks Citation Manager in Word:

  • Open a new Word document and select the Insert or Add-ins tab
  • Click on Get Add ins and type RefWorks in the search box
  • Select the RefWorks Citation Manager app and click Add
  • The RCM app now be available in a new tab and under the My Add-ins menu
  • Select the RCM tab and click the RCM icon to open it
  • Log in using your College credentials

Note if you cannot log in with your College credentials you can create a RefWorks password for use with RCM.

  • Open your RefWorks account, click on your name at the top of screen and select Settings
  • A log in box will appear select Log in via my Institution, select Imperial and log in with your College credentials
  • Scroll down the page to the Alternate Password section and click on Change Password
  • Enter a new password (N.B. this should not be the same as your College password)
  • In Word, open RCM and log in using your College email address and the RefWorks password you created

Click on the hamburger (three lines) to open the main menu and select your citation style

In the main menu you can choose to switch your Bibliography Off or On. If On your reference list will be automatically updated in your document when you add citations to the text. If Off, you will need to switch it On when you have finished adding your citations to create a reference list at the end of your document.

Use the Search box to locate specific citations, or click on All references to view the citations in a folder

Place your cursor where you want to cite a reference within the document and hover over the reference you want to cite in RCM. The Cite This button will appear, click the button to insert the citation into your document

To insert additional references into a single citation, tick the box next to each citation. A preview of the citation will appear the top of the RCM window. Click on Insert citation to insert the citation. The order in which references appear in the citation is determined by your output style.

The RefWorks output style will determine the format of both your in-text citations (if you're using RCM) and your reference list. The output style decides which fields will be displayed in your reference list, in what order, whether footnotes will be included and much more.

RefWorks has many hundreds of output styles to choose from. Before using RefWorks to generate your reference list you should check which output style your department prefers you to use. Using the wrong style may lose you marks.

Output styles can use different fields to format references. Therefore, it's advisable to decide on your preferred output style as soon as possible rather than edit your reference list to ‘fit' an output style later on.

  • In RefWorks click on Normal View in the top right of the screen
  • Select the cog icon and the Citation View Settings window will open
  • Type the name of your preferred style into the search box and click on the name to select it
  • The name of the style will now appear at the top of the window, click Save
  • Your references will now be displayed in your selected style

Library Services has created an Imperial College London version of the Harvard and Vancouver output styles for RefWorks.

If you have any questions or require assistance using RefWorks please contact the library by using the ASK the Library button on the homepage.

Attend a library training workshop on RefWorks. For a timetable visit the Learning and Teaching Support – Workshops web pages.

RefWorks also have a number of short ‘how to’ videos available on YouTube and an online user guide.

You can continue to use your RefWorks account after you graduate.

You need to create a password for RefWorks which will allow you to log in after your College credentials have expired.

  • Open your RefWorks account, click on your name at the top of screen and select Settings
  • If a log in box appears select Log in via my Institution, select Imperial and log in with your College credentials
  • Scroll down the page to the Alternate Password section and click on Change Password
  • Enter a new password
  • In the Profile section of Settings change your Role to Alumni
  • Scroll down to the Institutional Credentials section and click Remove Credentials
  • If you wish, you can change the email you log in with by changing the Email displayed in the Profile section
  • When you next log in, remember to use the correct email and the password you have created

Please note that alumni access will continue as long as Imperial College continues to subscribe to RefWorks.