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RefWorks Tutorials

What is RefWorks and why would I want to use it?

RefWorks is a web-based software application that helps you manage citations. It helps you keep track of the sources you are using for your research and your own notes about the sources. It is web-based (no special software installation, downloads, or plug-ins required). It will also create bibliographies for you in the format you specify (APA, IEEE, etc.).

What are the main features of RefWorks?

  • RefWorks is web-based and allows each Drexel user to set up their own private accounts. A group working together can also set up an account with a shared user name and password.
  • RefWorks allows you to import references from most of the electronic databases available on the Drexel University Libraries' web site. You can conveniently compile a list of sources -- as you identify them -- and save the list online in RefWorks.
  • Your account can have multiple folders so that you can separate citations from different sources or for different projects. You can also add keywords to citations to help in sorting or searching them later.
  • RefWorks can interact with Microsoft Word (via the “Write-N-Cite” plug-in) so that you can automatically generate your footnotes and bibliography in the proper format while writing your paper. (details below)

How do I register to use RefWorks?

Registration for Drexel users is required for this service:

  • Open RefWorks from here, or find it in the Quick Links on the Libraries Home Page.
  • Under "New to RefWorks?" click on "Sign up for an Individual Account"?

How do I use my RefWorks account?

To log into RefWorks from off-campus:

  • Find Refworks under the Quick Links box on the Libraries Home Page (
  • Enter your last name and University ID number for authentication (if you have started through DrexelOne, you'll already be authenticated for off-campus use).
  • Complete the login with your own RefWorks username and password.

How do I enter citations into RefWorks?

There are several different ways to add citations to RefWorks:

Direct Connection: Many of our databases and e-journal collections provide a direct connection to RefWorks among their download options; just make that selection, and log in to your RefWorks account when the login screen appears.

Import via Get It: If an Get It button appears with a citation that you wish to add to your RefWorks records, click on the button, and in the Get It window under "more options", click on the "Export to Refworks" link. If you are not already logged in to RefWorks, the RefWorks login screen will appear behind the Get It window. Simply login, and the selected citation will be added to your "Last Imported" folder.

Export from Resource / Import to RefWorks: Export information from the Electronic Resource to a file on your desktop, then import that file into RefWorks (may require selecting an "import filter" for that Electronic Resource.) Records from "desktop" citation management software (such as EndNote) can also be imported into RefWorks in this way.

Importing Book Citations: Log into RefWorks, choose the "Search" menu and select "Online catalog or database." Set Online Catalog to "Drexel University" then type in a search for the books you wish to import. From the set it retrieves, select only the ones you desire to include in your RefWorks account.

Manual Entry: Log into RefWorks and type in the citation information directly, choosing the template for the appropriate type of publication you wish to cite.


Creating a Bibliography

RefWorks offers several different methods for creating a bibliography and incorporating references into a paper. All allow selection from more than 100 citation styles including APA, Chicago (14th or 15th edition), IEEE, MLA and many more.

From within Refworks: Format a bibliography from a List of References: quickly create a bibliography in a browser window using just one selected folder of citations, or all your saved items.

Using Write-N-Cite: Write-N-Cite is a utility that allows you to add references from RefWorks directly into Word Processing software. You may download Write-N-Cite from here or from within your Refworks account--Under the "Tools" menu select Write-N-Cite to download a small plugin. Check here for a list of Write-N-Cite compatible word processing software and a tutorial for using Write-N-Cite.* Write-N-Cite allows Refworks to insert footnote markers into your paper and a list of works cited at the end!

*Note: when using Write-N-Cite off-campus, you will need to enter Drexel’s Group Code for access: RWDrexelU

Using One line/Cite View: One Line/Cite View allows you to insert temporary citation placeholders from your RefWorks database while you write your document. Your bibliography is generated and included at the end of your paper and the in-text citations or footnotes are formatted properly, according to the style you choose. Any user can generate a bibliography using One Line/Cite View, however, users who do not use Microsoft Word as their word processor or users who use a browser other than Internet Explorer should use One Line/Cite View (instead of Write-N-Cite) to insert citation placeholders in documents. See full instructions for using One line/Cite View here and a more visual tutorial PDF Icon here.


Using RefShare, you can make a list of citations from your RefWorks account public, either on the Drexel Shared Folders list, or via a URL that you can email, or post on a webpage. RefShare can be used for course readings, to share citations for a research project, or even for favorite books. A Comments feature can be turned on to allow feedback on the readings in a list.

For more help

RefWorks provides a very helpful step-by-step tutorial (, which can be viewed online or printed.

And help is always available in the libraries -- visit a service desk, or contact a liaison librarian.

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