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Citation Management

Using RefWorks

Set Up an Account

Johns Hopkins has an institution-wide subscription to RefWorks, which means that everyone has an account to use if they wish. If you are new to RefWorks, you will need to activate your account. To do so:

  1. Go to the RefWorks website or click on the link that is on the main Welch Library page
  2. At the initial screen click on "CREATE ACCOUNT" found at the bottom of the screen
  3. At the next screen, type in your university/institutional email address. It must be your JHU email address
  4. You will be asked to create a password.  Refworks will instruct you to go to your email and click on the activation link found within the confirmation email and follow the steps to complete your account activation.
  5. You may see a questionnaire. If you do, fill it out and follow the instructions. You will only see this once.
  6. You have successfully activated your RefWorks account.

Help and Documentation

See ProQuest's RefWorks LibGuide for technical questions and documentation.

How Do I Import References from PubMed to ProQuest RefWorks?

Saving PubMed citations to a file if you have less than 200 citations:

  1. Once you have completed your search in PubMed, click on Send to
  2. Select Citation Manager
  3. Select how many citations you would like to send
  4. Click Create File
  5. A box will pop up to help you save your file. Select Save File then click OK.
Image below: select results and then select Send to and Citation manager.

screenshot of pubmed send to citation manager

Alternative Export Option

  1. Once you have completed your search in PubMed, click on Save
  2. Select File 
  3. Select PubMed from the Format dropdown menu
  4. Click  Create File
  5. A box will pop up to help you save your file.  Select Save File then click OK.
Image below: select save and determine which results to export.

screenshot of pubmed save select all results

Image below: after selecting save and which results, choose PubMed format as the export format.

screenshot of pubmed save to file pubmed format

Importing into ProQuest RefWorks:

  1. Click on the + sign
  2. Select Import references from the dropdown menu

Drag and drop your file in the Drop file here… box or click on the link within the box to select a file from your computer.

Select the format NLM PubMed to ensure that RefWorks can properly process your file.

How Do I Import References from Embase to ProQuest RefWorks?

Exporting a file from Embase to ProQuest RefWorks:

  1. Once you have completed your search in Embase and selected the items that you want to import, click on Export.
  2. Make sure RIS format (Mendeley, EndNote) is selected.
  3. Click on Export.
  4. Click on Download
  5. Make sure your file is saved somewhere that you’ll be able to access.

Importing into ProQuest RefWorks:

  1. Click on the + sign
  2. Select Import references from the dropdown menu
  3. Drag and drop your file in the Drop file here box or click on the link within the box to select a file from your computer
  4. Find the file and open it or drag and drop it.
  5. Make sure the RIS Format is selected.
  6. Click on Import

Removing Duplicates

  1. At the top of the top tool bar, click on the icon with three dots. 
  2. There you will find several tools to use. For finding duplicates, click on "find duplicates," and at the next screen, choose either a "Strict Match" or a "Fuzzy Match."
  3. RefWorks will search your entire documents and will retrieve those that have been found to be duplicates.  From there you can decide which ones to keep or delete by using the trash can icon and delete those that are marked.

Will Alumni be Able to Access RefWorks After Graduation?

Yes, alumni are able to have continued access to RefWorks after graduation.

Alumni should update their RefWorks account prior to graduation by selecting the Alumni option from the Profile / Role section of the Settings page. They should also update their alumni email address and then click SAVE.

Make the Switch from Legacy RefWorks to the new RefWorks

In 2016 a new interface for RefWorks was introduced. The new interface is part of ProQuest, but the old interface, referred to as RefWorks Legacy is still available, but not being updated. On this LibGuide, the ProQuest interface will be referred to as RefWorks, and the older interface will be called RefWorks Legacy.

The biggest difference users will notice is that RefWorks' new interface has an entirely new look and feel, although most of the functionality remains the same.

New users are able to sign up for RefWorks' new interface. We encourage Legacy users to make the switch to the new RefWorks. This should be done as soon as possible, since ProQuest recently announced that Legacy RefWorks will be discontinued as of June 30, 2023.

Compare... Legacy RefWorks RefWorks
Status Previous version, will be discontinued on June 30, 2023 Current product, will continue to be updated
New Users New users can NOT sign up for this version. Created accounts will be kept. New users will sign up for this version
Support Technical support is still available through RefWorks' online support. This is the version that will be taught going forward. Technical support is available through the Welch Medical Library.

If you're currently using a group account, this is the only version that's possible in.

Share your workspace in projects, rather than creating a separate account.

Compatibility Not as compatible with Mac computers or newer versions of Word Use this version if you're using a Mac computer or the newer versions of Word
Use with Microsoft Word Older Word Plugin: Write-n-Cite Updated Word Plugin: RefWorks Citation Manager


  • Share your RefWorks workspace and collaborate in Projects
  • Document reading supports PDFs and Word documents
  • Highlight and add notes to documents
  • Updated RefWorks Citation Manger plug-in for Microsoft Word
  • Your account for Legacy RefWorks is not the same account for RefWorks. You need to create a new account. Click here for instructions to set up an account.
  • If you've inserted citations to Word documents using Write-n-Cite, you can't necessarily update these same documents using the new RefWorks Citation Manager. Use the same version of RefWorks and the Word plugin you started editing your document with to finish it.
  • Your references from Legacy RefWorks don't automatically transfer to RefWorks. You'll need to import them yourself. See the next tab - "Migrate Your References" - for a quick way to do this.

Click on the + sign

Select Import references from the dropdown menu












On the Import references page, click the Legacy RefWorks box, and then click Authorize when it prompts you to.

Last, log in to your Legacy RefWorks account using your RefWorks credentials to finish the import.

RefWorks Migration

This will take a few minutes. When it finishes, you will see the message "Import Complete". This will import your references from Legacy RefWorks and carry over the folders they were in.

Getting Help

If you need help using RefWorks,

Contact the Hopkins RefWorks Support Group:

You can also contact the RefWorks Customer Support directly:


Or you can access ProQuest's Help Guide, which covers all aspects of using RefWorks.