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Citation Managers: Switching Reference Managers

Learn more about the citation managers that MCW Libraries provides training for.

To export your citations from RefWorks, you need to follow these steps. Keep in mind different citation managers prefer different output formats from RefWorks. Consult this table to see which you should choose:

Citation manager Ideal output format
EndNote Bibliographic Software (EndNote,Reference Manager, Procite)
Mendeley BibTeX - RefWorks ID
Zotero BibTeX - RefWorks ID

Move your RefWorks content

Step 1. Choose your references to export

Export all references

To move all your references, log into RefWorks and go to References > Export and choose “All References.” Note that this will not keep your folder structure. If you don’t use folders in RefWorks, or you don’t care about keeping your folders, use this method.

Export references by folder

To keep your folders intact you will need to export each folder separately. Right click on the folder and click Export.


Step 2: Export the references

Choose the appropriate export style. A new window will pop-up with the citation information.

  • If you are using Firefox, right click on the page and choose “Save Page As” and note where the file is saved.
  • If you are using Chrome, right click on the page and choose “Save As” and note where the file is saved.
  • If you are using IE, copy and paste the information on the page into a Notepad file and save it to your computer.

Please note that PDFs or any other attachments will not be exported from RefWorks. You will need to add these items to your account manually.


Step 3: Import the references into your new citation manager

In Zotero and Mendeley go to File > Import. Find your RefWorks file and select Open. Your references should appear in a new folder in Zotero. In Mendeley, you will need to create new folders for your references.

In EndNote Desktop, go to File > Import. Find your RefWorks file and select Open. Select the appropriate import option. If you used the Bibliographic Software (EndNote,Reference Manager, Procite) export option in RefWorks, choose Reference Manager (RIS) in EndNote.


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