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RefWorks: Transitioning to a New Citation Management Program: ... to EndNote Online

RefWorks is a web-based tool that helps you collect all of your references into one place, and also offers the ability to easily insert them into your paper and format the bibliography or works cited list.

Making the Change to EndNote Online - Step by Step

Transitioning to EndNote Online -- Before Exporting 

Just a couple of things to think about prior to exporting your RefWorks library.

  1. Do you have folders?  If so, to keep the same structure, you will need to export the contents of each folder individually instead of exporting All References.  This means a few extra clicks, but not a big deal.
  2. Do you have attachments?  If so, they will not export at all.  If you have them saved somewhere - on your computer, a network drive, or elsewhere - then simply attach them from that location.  Otherwise, you will need to download them one-by-one from RefWorks and then they can be added to EndNotein a batch and EndNote will match and attach them to the existing record in EndNote.

Exporting - the Steps

Once logged in to RefWorks, and based on your decision in item #1 above, you can follow these steps for exporting your references either as All References or by folders.

  • Log in to your RefWorks account.
  • Select the folder to export or leave on All References.
  • Use the References tab and click Export.
  • Check for the right folder name or All References and the other setting should be "All in List."
  • The default "Bibliographic Software ..." is the right option.
  • Click on Export References.
  • If a new file does not automatically open, then look for the "Completed" popup box in the lower right corner of the browser.
  • Then use the first "click here" link.
  • A new tab will open with all of your citations in a tagged text format (not so pretty to read).
  • Click on "Save Page As" (from either the File menu or from the right click menu).
  • Give the file a location & name.
  • The default type of .txt or text file is what you want.
  • Click on Save.

Go to EndNote Online

  • Click on Collect.
  • Click on Import References.



  • File box:  Click on Choose File and navigate to where your RefWorks text file and click Open.
  • Import Option box:  Click the drop-down triangle and select RefMan RIS.
  • To box:  If you have a group or want to create one, here is where you can start to rebuild your previous organizational structure. 
  • Click on Import Button.



This process is not as easy as EndNote or Mendeley.  Each PDF has to be attached manually.

  • Start with the paper clip icon you can see under each citation from the Reference list display.
  • In the pop up box, click Attach File.

  • Click on Choose File.
  • Navigate to where you have the PDF you want.
  • Click on Upload

Things to consider:

  • Not all PDFs have understandable names (mostly numbers) and will be hard to ID in a list of PDFs with numbered titles.
  • Every RefWorks attachment will need to be manually added to EndNote Online.  If you have lots of PDFs, EndNote or Mendeley might be better choices.