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NU Library's preferred research management tool.

RefWorks Features & Overview

In RefWorks, there are 3 navigation menus: 

  • Top Navigation 
  • Main Navigation 
  • Left Sidebar

A review of each of these menus and associated icons are reviewed in the tabs that follow.

RefWorks Menus

The Top Navigation includes the following:Top Navigation in RefWorks

  • Manage Projects: Allows you to work on separate research projects within a single login account. Refer to the Organizing Information in RefWorks tab in the left navigation for more details.  
  • Northcentral University Library Link: Links you to the NU Library homepage where you can access NavigatorSearch, the NU Library's unified search engine, as well as subject-specific databases for research.
  • Language (en): Allows you to change the language of the RefWorks interface. The default language is English. NOTE: This does not change the language of your saved references.
  • Your Display Name: Confirms that you are logged in to RefWorks. Access your Library of saved references; review your system settings for additional customizations; and download associated tools to help you leverage RefWorks, including the Save to RefWorks plugin for your browser and the Write-N-Cite or RefWorks Citation Manager add-ons for Microsoft Word, which allow you to cite references and create bibliographies directly in your document.
  • Question Mark icon: Access the RefWorks Knowledge Center for the most up-to-date information and resources. Watch video tutorials on the RefWorks YouTube Channel. Submit a support email or chat live with RefWorks Support.

The Main Navigation includes the following:RefWorks Main Navigation

  • +Add: There are several ways to add references to RefWorks. Three of the ways are accessible in the main navigation bar. Upload a Document allows you to add documents from your own computer files with acceptable formats in PDF, PPT, and Word Doc. Files can also be uploaded with drag and drop. Import a Reference allows you to import reference files from other reference managers, from Legacy RefWorks, and from other sources using a .RIS formatted file. Create a New Reference allows you to manually type in the information about a resource to generate a record and save it to RefWorks. For more information, see the Adding References & Content to RefWorks tab.
  • Assign to Folder: Select specific references and assign them to a particular folder.
  • Share: RefWorks sharing capabilities allow you to share your folders with others within or outside NU. In addition to individual sharing, you can share folders with all users at NU. This tab also includes an option to export all of your references into specified file formats.
  • Create Bibliography: You can create citations and a bibliography from selected references or folders. The Create Bibliography option allows you to generate a bibliography in your chosen citation style that you can then copy and paste into a Word document. Quick Cite allows you to view and copy formatted in-text citations for a resource. Citation Style allows you to select your preferred citation format. For more information, see the Creating a Bibliography tab.  
  • Delete: Delete selected references from your RefWorks.
  • Add Tags: Add tags to selected references for organization and searching. For more information, see the Organizing Information in RefWorks tab.
  • Tools: RefWorks offers add-on and plug-in tools to help with your research project. Click on Tools to install the Save to RefWorks plug-in for your browser, which allows you to save a reference or an article from any website into your RefWorks account. Plug-ins are also available for Microsoft Word and Google Docs, which allow you to quickly insert citations and a bibliography into your document using references from your RefWorks folders. For more information, see the RefWorks Tools & Plug-ins tab.
  • Search: The Advanced Search capability allows you to find information in specific folders or within specific reference fields. Remember that RefWorks is your own personal database of resources, and you can search across all of your RefWorks content by entering keywords, titles, or names into the search box, for example.


The Left Sidebar includes the following: 

RefWorks Left Sidebar

  • All References: Contains all references in your project.
  • Last Imported: As a quick access feature, this tab displays any references added to your RefWorks within the last 30 days. You may still access any references added from your All References tab or your folders. 
  • Sharing: RefWorks allows you to share your folders with others within or outside the NU community. In addition to individual sharing, you can share folders with all users at NU. 
  • My Folders: Allows you to organize references into folders and subfolders. A single reference can be in multiple folders. The Not in Folder folder displays references that have not yet been moved into a folder.
  • Tags: Adding tags, or specific keywords, allows you to further organize and manage your content. While tags may be automatically supplied by the author or publisher when saving to RefWorks, you can add or modify tags within the individual reference record. In addition, you can search your content using tags. 
  • Deleted: Contains all items that have been deleted from your RefWorks. After 30 days, items in this tab will be permanently removed. 


Managing your Account 

Access your RefWorks Settings and configure your account by clicking on your name in the Top Navigation. 

Settings in RefWorks

Under Settings, you can view and configure the following:

  • Account Overview: Displays the amount of document storage in use in your RefWorks. Note that document storage in RefWorks is unlimited. 

Account overview Document storage in RefWorks

  • Profile/Email: View and edit your personal profile, such as name and email, in RefWorks.

RefWorks Profile Screen

  • Notifications: Choose to receive product update emails from the RefWorks team.

Notifications in RefWorks

  • Database Exports: Configure which version of RefWorks your sources automatically export to. Send your exports to the new RefWorks.

Database exports screen

  • Dropbox: Link your RefWorks account to Dropbox for additional access to your documents. You can synchronize RefWorks with Dropbox, in which case RefWorks automatically makes copies of your uploaded citations in your Dropbox account. When you remove citations from RefWorks, RefWorks also removes them from Dropbox.

Link your Dropbox account in RefWorks

  • Custom fields: Add and delete custom fields here. These fields will be configurable for all of your references and are available when manually adding or editing a reference. It is an opportunity to add extra notes spaces. Information in a custom field is searchable. Custom Fields in RefWorks
  • Alternate Password: Set up an alternate password for your RefWorks account. NOTE: Choosing an alternate password for your account will allow you to login to RefWorks for Google Docs and RefWorks for Microsoft Word using your NU school email and this password. Currently, these integrations do not sync with NU's institutional sign-in page.

Create an alternate password in RefWorks

Display and Sort Options Display Options in RefWorks

  • Select how many references you would like to display per page, up to 2,000. 
  • Sort content by date added, date accessed, date published, title, author, or unique RefWorks Ref (Reference) ID.

Views: Choose how to view your content in RefWorks.

  • Normal View:  A minimalist view. Each reference's associated folders and tags are displayed, as well as an icon if access to the full text is available. Select the reference (not the checkbox) to open the right sidebar for reference details.Normal view in RefWorks
  • Full View: An expanded view. Select a tag to refresh the page with all references associated with the tag. Select the text link to view the full text, if available. Select any other field to open the right sidebar and edit that field.Full View in RefWorks
  • Citation View:  A bibliographic view. The references appear as they would in your default citation style. Select the gear icon settings_icon.png in the view options menu to select a different style. RefWorks highlights missing fields that are required or recommended for the selected citation style. Select a highlight to open the right sidebar and edit that field.Citation View in RefWorks
  • Table View: Another minimalist view. References appear in a table for easy sorting. Note that this view is limited to 2,000 citations; to view more than 2,000 references in a table, export the references and open them in a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel.  Table View in RefWorks

The Right Sidebar includes a detailed view of a selected reference. Fields including type of reference, title, authors, abstract, tags, publish date, and more are displayed. Edit individual fields within a reference by clicking on the Pencil edit_icon.png icon and then selecting Save.Right sidebar in RefWorks displaying reference

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