RefWorks reference management software

A new version of RefWorks is now available with improved features. Moving to new RefWorks is quick and easy, see Moving from legacy to new RefWorks.

Why should I move to new RefWorks?

  • New features such as PDF import and Save to RefWorks
  • Improved support for Word 2016 for Mac
  • Easy transfer of your references from legacy to new RefWorks

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

  • Download references from online databases, e-journals or web pages
  • Create your own library of relevant references
  • Organise, sort and search your reference library
  • Insert correctly formatted citations from your RefWorks library into word processing documents
  • Format in-text citations to generate a reference list in a variety of output styles; including Harvard, Vancouver and hundreds of others
  • Share your folders of references with colleagues and friends

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.

Important information for Mac users: Write-N-Cite is not currently compatible with Word 2016  for Mac. Mac users should use One Line Cite View to insert citations into documents written in Word 2016, see RefWorks - using one line cite view (pdf).

RefWorks support

Create an account and log in

Creating an account

If you are a new user, log in to RefWorks with your College username and password to create your account.

You will be taken to the Create Account screen.

  • Enter your name and College email address in the boxes provided.
  • Select your Focus Area from the drop down menu options (e.g. engineering, life sciences).
  • Select your User Type from the drop down menu options (e.g. undergraduate, postgraduate taught course).
  • Click on the Create Account button. 

You will receive an email confirming your registration details. You are now ready to start using RefWorks.

Create account screen image



Logging in

Once you've created your RefWorks account you will continue to log in using your College username and password.

Log in screen image When you reach the RefWorks log in screen always click on the My Institution’s Credentials (Shibboleth) link. 

You may be asked to identify your institution, in this case select Imperial College London from the list of options.

Log in with your College username and password when asked to do so.

Important: you cannot log in from the page, you must go to

Add references

There are various ways to do this:

  • Use the Direct Export feature available in many online resources such as ScienceDirect and Google Scholar
  • Import references from the Imperial College Library Search
  • Save references in a file and import into RefWorks using an Import Filter
  • Add references manually

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

Referencing non-standard material

RefWorks has a number of templates or RefTypes available to help you construct references, but sometimes you may need to create references for more unusual material for which there is no obvious RefType.

The Library has created a guide which describes how to use existing RefTypes to accommodate non-standard references using the Harvard style.

RefWorks: how do I reference? (pdf)


Important information for Mac users: Write-N-Cite is not currently compatible with Word 2016 for Mac. Mac users should use One Line Cite View to insert citations into documents written in Word 2016, see RefWorks - using one line cite view (pdf).

RefWorks Write-N-Cite (WNC) is a plug-in which can be downloaded from RefWorks from the Tools menu. It enables you to add citations while you are writing a document - you can then create the bibliography.

All PCs in the Library and those in most department clusters have Write-N-Cite 4 pre-loaded.

To install Write-N-Cite on your personal computer you must have administrator rights. There are versions of Write-N-Cite for PC and Mac - make sure you download the correct version.

Windows users may be given the option of downloading the 32bit or 64bit installation. In order to select the correct one you need to know if you are running the 32bit or 64bit version of Microsoft Office.

Word 2013/2016: Open the File menu and select Account. Select the About Word button to find version details.

Word 2010: Open the File menu and select Help. Version details are provided in the About Microsoft Word information.

  • Select Write-N-Cite from the Tools menu in RefWorks.
  • Select the correct installation version. Versions are available for Windows and Mac.
  • Click on the Download now button for the version of Write-N-Cite you wish to install and save the .exe file.
  • Make sure that Microsoft Word is not running before installing Write-N-Cite.
  • Once installation is complete a tab labelled ProQuest/RefWorks will appear in the Microsoft Word ribbon. Mac users may need to enable the ProQuest toolbar by clicking on the View menu and selecting Toolbars and ProQuest. 

How to log in to Write-N-Cite 

  • To access your references select the Log in button on the ProQuest/RefWorks tab, open the Log in from My Institution menu, select Imperial College London and enter your user credentials.
  • Syncing your references may take a minute or two.
  • Once you’ve logged in the name of the tab will change from ProQuest to RefWorks.

For more information on Write-N-Cite see the Write-N-Cite Quick Start Guide.

Output styles

The RefWorks output style will determine the format of both your in-text citations (if you're using Write-N-Cite) 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 select Output Style Manager from the Bibliography menu.
  • Scroll down to view the list of styles available.
  • Select the style you require and use the arrows to add or remove it from your Favourites list.
  • Click on Preview Output Style to view an example bibliography using your chosen output style.

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

Help and guides

For further information and help with RefWorks try:

RefWorks handbook (pdf)

Using Legacy RefWorks with LaTeX (pdf)

RefWorks website - for guides, documents and online tutorials

Official RefWorks YouTube Channel

BibTeX for LaTeX

If you are using Internet Explorer 9 you must enable Compatibility View to manually add and edit references.