The Basic Bare-Bones Beginner's Guide to RefWorks

IntroductionLogging InNavigating RefWorksAdding ReferencesSearching Organizing ReferencesCreating the BibliographyAdditional Help
Search Online

RefWorks features a way that you can search from a variety of online catalogs to bring records into the database. The online search feature is located on the toolbar. Click on the SEARCH option and then select ONLINE CATALOG OR DATABASE from the menu.

On the next page, select a library or other online catalog for a search. In this example, the FAU Library Catalog is selected. Indicate the number of references (or records) to download.  Select QUICK SEARCH and enter your search terms.

An advanced search works the same as the basic search but provides the option to combine fields such as descriptors, author and title.

A results list will appear in a new window. From this list, select the records you want to save in your RefWorks account.

After clicking IMPORT, the records should appear as successfully uploaded.

Searching in RefWorks

Sometimes it is necessary to search within your saved RefWorks records.  This will be helpful as the number of your saved records increase. There are two ways to locate records within RefWorks.

The first way is to use the SEARCH feature located in the upper right-hand corner of the page. Enter a search term and press SEARCH. Your results will have the records that contain the search term.

Each record contains active links;  following them will create a list of other records with the same information such as author and source. The results list can be sorted by relevancy, author, publication date and other fields.

An additional way to way to view references is to search your folders. This will be covered in the next section.

Organizing References

Many records can be stored in RefWorks.  This leads to the problem of organizing it.  Folders can be created to store records on a similar topic and allow for easier retrieval.

First, let's look at how to create a folder. From the top of the page, select ORGANIZE FOLDERS.

Once we are on the ORGANIZE FOLDERS page, it will give you the names of all your existing folders. The folder LAST IMPORTED should already be present. This folder cannot be deleted or renamed, and records automatically will be routed to this folder when they are added.

If we wanted to create a new folder at this point, we would select NEW FOLDER.  Notice that on this page we can also rename and delete our existing folders, or we can clear the folder of its current references. Next to the name of the folder, we can also see how many references are currently in each one.

Let's create a new file for an upcoming report. We will call it POWDERED METALS.

Once we click CREATE and see POWDERED METALS folder in our list, we can start adding references to our new folder. One thing to remember is that we can add new references or use ones that are in existing folders (references can be in multiple folders simultaneously).

In this case we know that there was an article we had imported that we wanted in our Powdered Metals report. To find it, we can look in the LAST IMPORTED folder. We could also select ALL REFERENCES from the menu, which would show every reference, no matter where it is. In this case we will check ALL REFERENCES.

Here we see the article we want. We select it and then from the dropdown menu choose our POWDERED METALS folder.

This message shows that the transaction was successful. Now when we view our POWDERED METALS folder we will notice that our reference has been added. We know we are in the right place because of page heading.

Now we are ready to create our bibliography (which is why you were reading all this in the first place!)

There are three ways that we will cover to generate a bibliography using RefWorks. The first is to generate a bibliography from a list of references. The second way is to use the Write-N-Cite to create in-text citations and a bibliography.  Write-N-Cite is a  downloadable program that works with Windows (PCs) or Mac. The third way is to use One Line / Cite View to create in-text citations and a bibliography for word processing systems other than Microsoft Word.

Generating a Bibliography From a List of References

Generating a bibliography from a list of references allows you to create a bibliography in the format you choose using all of your references or just the references from a specific folder. We start by selecting BIBLIOGRAPHY from the menu bar.

From this new page we can choose our output style and the folder we want to create our bibliography from. You may choose output style by either clicking the LIST OF OUTPUT STYLES link or choosing from the drop down menu. If you are not sure and want to see what the styles look like, choose PREVIEW OUTPUT STYLE.

For this example, let's select APA - American Psychological Association style. Now that we have selected our output style, we can go ahead and choose our format options. We will first select the button FORMAT A BIBLIOGRAPHY FROM A LIST OF REFERENCES.  We will then choose a FILE TYPE, using Word for Windows as a file type for the bibliography.  Pick the REFERENCES TO INCLUDE option, then choose a folder to create your bibliography from. We can now click CREATE BIBLIOGRAPHY to generate our completed document.

A new window will appear, giving you the option to either open the file (OPEN WITH) in a particular program or to Save the file on your computer.  Select your preference and then OK.

The COMPLETED window will soon appear, giving you the option to download the bibliography or e-mail it to yourself.

 Here is how the bibliography will appear as a Word file:

CAUTION: Check each bibliographic record for spelling and formatting. RefWorks only reads the record and transfers it, but it does not correct mistakes. There may be errors in this document that need correction.

Using Write-N-Cite

As you may recall, the purpose of Write-N-Cite is to place your citations directly into the text of your report. You will need to download the Write-N-Cite Program from RefWorks (it's free). This program will let Write-N-Cite operate in Microsoft Word. To do this, you must select TOOLS from the toolbar, then select WRITE-N-CITE.

TIP: You cannot download Write-N-Cite on FAU library computers (they are download protected).

If for any reason you cannot download Write-N-Cite, you can use the One Line/Cite View method of citation.

Follow the instructions to download the program and open it. In this case, we are downloading a Windows Version (a Mac version is also available). Close all other programs on your computer before downloading Write-N-Cite.

Once Write-N-Cite has been downloaded to your computer, visit the FAU Libraries Write-N-Cite page for instructions on completing this process.  After this has been done, it can be be opened in a Word document. Open a Word document, then select ADD-IN on the menu bar. Next, select WRITE-N-CITE to launch RefWorks.

A window will appear; enter your RefWorks log-in and password.

Once you click Login, Write-N-Cite will open and display all your references. If you would like to view references from a specific folder, select it from the VIEW FOLDER drop-down menu. You can also find specific references by using the SEARCH REFWORKS box in the upper right-hand corner.

Once we have the references that we want to work from, we can begin. To begin writing our paper in Microsoft Word, we will have to drag the Write-N-Cite window out of the way. We will then type to where we need to insert our first citation.

We will have to bring Write-N-Cite back up to insert the citation. Make sure that the cursor is located where you want the citation to appear.

Clicking on the blue CITE link should automatically insert what is referred to as a PLACEHOLDER. This will be formatted later, depending on what citation format you would like to use.

If we would like to edit information in the citation we can use the EDIT CITATION feature the upper-right-hand corner of the Write-N-Cite window. This will also allow the opportunity to preview our citation style. In this example, let's specify the page number that our citation comes from.

TIP: You can only add a page number if your citation format allows it. If it does not, you will have to add it later.

The placeholder in our Word document will reflect the addition of the word in before the citation.. When we are finished with our paper we name it and save it. The title of our word document will be ANSEL ADAMS.

After we have named and saved our document we want to bring Write-N-Cite back up. We will then select BIBLIOGRAPHY from the toolbar. Then select the necessary OUTPUT STYLE from the drop down menu, and finally click the CREATE BIBLIOGRAPHY button.

Once we click the Create Bibliography button a second document will be created. This document will be called FINAL-ANSEL ADAMS and will contain the complete bibliography as well as contain the correctly formatted in-text citations.

If you need to make any other adjustments to the paper you will need to discard the "final" document, make the needed changes in the original, and generate a new "final" document. If for some reason you cannot download the Write-N-Cite program, keep reading on how to generate citations using One Line/Cite View.

Creating References With One Line/Cite View

In the event that you cannot use Write-N-Cite for any reason the alternative is to use One Line/Cite View. This is really not that much more time consuming or difficult than using Write-N-Cite and the steps are very similar. One main difference is that you have to have your word processing document open and be logged into the RefWorks database at the same time in separate windows.

You will write the document that same way that you always do until you get to the point that you are ready to insert your first citation. Go into the RefWorks database and find the citation that you want to insert. You find the citation by either using Search RefWorks or looking within your folders.

Once we have located the reference that we wish to cite, make sure that you switch to ONE LINE / CITE VIEW.

Now we check the radio box and select CITE next to the reference that we want. This will cause another window (called the Citation Viewer) to open which will show the placeholder. If this is the citation that you want, click SELECT CITATION. Now under the EDIT option, select COPY. Make sure that you click on the CLEAR button to ensure that this reference won't be included in your next citation.

Now switch into your word processing document. Place the cursor where you want the citation placeholder to appear, then select PASTE from the processing menu.

Don't worry about the placeholders, they will be formatted later.  Continue to write and insert your citations as needed until you are finished with your paper. Once you are finished, name and save your document and then close your paper. Remember: never save documents to library computer desktop or its folders because it reboots frequently and you may lose all your data. Save your work on a disc or thumb drive. If you have to, e-mail it to yourself as an attachment.

In order to generate a bibliography for our paper and format those in-text references, we need to go back into RefWorks and select the BIBLIOGRAPHY button. Once we are on the BIBLIOGRAPHY page, select an OUTPUT STYLEand then select the button for FORMAT PAPER AND BIBLIOGRAPHY.

You will then need to browse for the report that was previously saved.

Once you have uploaded the document, it will appear in the browse window. Click on CREATE BIBLIOGRAPHY to generate your formatted document.

You will then see a screen that tells you whether or not you successfully created your document. Click on the DOWNLOAD IT link to view or save the document.

You should now be able to view your completed and formatted document.

And now you're all done!

Getting a crash course in RefWorks is not the easiest thing in the world to do. It can be complicated, particularly if you are not that good at working with computers. If you are still confused about RefWorks, don't worry, below are some links to sites where you can get additional information.

  • For the official RefWorks online tutorial and printable cheat sheets, click here.
  • To schedule a RefWorks instructional session for yourself, click here.
  • If your are an instructor and would like to schedule a session for your class, click here.
  • If you have a question and would like to ask a librarian, click here.

The following are some links to other RefWorks tutorials from other college libraries:

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Created 24 March 2006
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Last updated 5 March 2012
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