Skip to main content

RefWorks: Introduction

Introduction to RefWorks, an online reference manager


RefWorks is a web-based reference manager that allows you to create your own personal database by importing references from online databases and other sources. You can use these references in writing papers and automatically format the paper and the bibliography in seconds, in a preferred citation style such as APA or Chicago.

ProQuest RefWorks and Legacy RefWorks

Two versions of RefWorks exist: ProQuest RefWorks (sometimes the name New RefWorks is used) and Legacy RefWorks. When you are new to RefWorks, we advise you to use ProQuest RefWorks. When you are already using Legacy RefWorks, you can keep using your account. If you want to change to ProQuest RefWorks, see From Legacy RefWorks to ProQuest RefWorks.  


Why use a reference manager?

RefWorks is a reference manager, like EndNote, Reference Manager, Zotero, Citavi, Mendeley and a number of other programs. These programs are very useful for two reasons:

  • Managing of references
    By saving references in a reference manager, you keep the overview over the literature you've found. You can organize the titles, add keywords and other information and search through them quite fast. In some programs you can also add pdf-files to the references, so you have the literature near at hand as well.
    You can download the references automatically from databases and catalogues or add them manually.
  • References and citations
    Reference managers help you making literature lists in an output style of choice, like APA, Chicago or Cite Them Right, and making citations in a text. The rules of the different styles are imported in the reference managers.

Why use RefWorks?

Some benefits of RefWorks are:

  • RefWorks is web-based. The references are saved on a server of RefWorks; you can access them from any computer with an internetconnection.
  • Importfilters, necessary to import references from a certain database in the correct way into RefWorks, and output styles (like APA and Chicago) are automatically updated.
  • Many databases have a Direct Export function, making the import of references in RefWorks easy.
  • EUR-students and -staff can use RefWorks without additional costs.

Please note: RefWorks is a tool: you have to remain critical and check the results, the literature list and/or references in the text, yourself!

From Legacy RefWorks to ProQuest RefWorks

Please note: Don't upgrade when you have a deadline for your paper, thesis or article - you need some time to get used to ProQuest RefWorks when you are used to Legacy RefWorks. Also: documents created with Write-N-Cite in Legacy RefWorks are not compatible with ProQuest RefWorks. You can keep using the same version of Write-N-Cite, but you cannot continue to work on existing documents created in Legacy RefWorks. You can upgrade documents created in Legacy RefWorks to be compatible with ProQuest RefWorks. Always save a copy of your document before upgrading it!

To move your references from Legacy RefWorks to ProQuest RefWorks:

  1. When you have multiple Legacy RefWorks accounts, make sure you are not logged in. 
  2. Open your ProQuest RefWorks account
  3. Click + Add
  4. Choose Import references
  5. Click Legacy RefWorks
  6. The references will be imported in the current project. Click Authorize when that's the project you want to use, otherwise click select the desired Project to select a different project or to create a new project.
  7. Login using your Legacy RefWorks credentials
  8. Your references, your folders and output styles you created yourself in your Legacy RefWorks account are imported.



Undergraduates, pre-masters, master students and research master students.