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Easily citing sources and creating a bibliography

With RefWorks you make your own online literature catalogue. One can import titles from catalogues, databases, and Google Scholar, or one can add them manually. The titles can be organised in folders and used for citing sources in any preferred style in Word documents. All UvA students and staff can use RefWorks.

Choosing a citation manager

Next to RefWorks, Mendeley and Zotero are available as citation managers. See the overview of pros and cons for each of these tools.

RefWorks and ProQuest RefWorks

Choosing between two versions of RefWorks

There are two versions: New RefWorks and Legacy RefWorks.

Choose New RefWorks if you:

  • use RefWorks for the first time;
  • have many PDF-files and would like to take notes;
  • have a Mac-computer with Word 2016 or later.

Choose Legacy RefWorks if you:

  • need to save larger amounts of references;
  • are working on a systematic review;
  • would like to deduplicate your references often.

If you already use Legacy RefWork and you wish you switch to New RefWorks, this is easy to do. You create a separate account for New RefWorks. You can import the references from your Legacy account into New RefWorks in one go.

RefWorks consists of two components: a website and a tab in Word. First create an account on the website and then install the tab in Word. The tab in Word is the same in both versions of RefWorks.

You will find more information in the Handout New RefWorksHandout Legacy RefWorks and / or Manual RefWorks (AUAS).

Creating a New RefWorks account

For a New RefWorks account you need an UvA email address. If you do not have an UvA email address and you are studying at the UvA, please contact Noor Breuning or Andreja Lekic for support.

  1. Go to and choose Create Account.
  2. Fill in your UvA email address (you can change this later), click Check and fill in the required personal details.
  3. You will receive a confirmation email from RefWorks with your login details. Your account will remain active as long as the UvA has a licence for RefWorks.

Creating a Legacy RefWorks account

Make sure you are within the UvA domain, so either at an UvA workstation or at home connected to the UvA network with the VPN. Open the RefWorks sign-in page ( Click Sign up for a new account and fill in the required personal details. Do not use your UvAnetID for either of these, the email address or the password. You are free to choose any other email address and password. You will receive a confirmation email from RefWorks with your login details.

RefWorks in Word

  • If you use Windows or Mac with Word 2016 or a newer Word version, install RefWorks Citation Manager (RCM) via the Word Add-ins.
  • If you use Windows or Mac with an older Word version, install the plug-in Write-N-Cite (WNC). Attention: Word has to be closed before the installation.

Please note: check before the first of June the version of Java on your computer, and upgrade this, if necessary, to Java 1.8. In case you use a version of Windows before 8.1, a Mac OS version before Mavericks 10.9 and/or Safari before version 7, consult the TLS Flowchart instructions for Windows or for Mac.

You will find more information in the Handout New RefWorksHandout Legacy RefWorks and / or Manual RefWorks (AUAS).

To continue working on documents with references from a Legacy account, migrate this account to New RefWorks and upgrade your documents. See also the Handout New RefWorks.

Collecting and organising references

  • Importing references. Titles found in CataloguePlus, databases and Google Scholar can be directly imported and saved in RefWorks. For all the tips read Export instructions.
  • Organizing references. If you frequently import titles it is advisable to organise them in folders. Create folders and move references from Not in folder to a folder. You can also create subfolders.  
  • Sharing references. By sharing a folder you create a link to the content of your folder. In Legacy RefWorks, the references in the folder are read-only accessible, also outside of RefWorks. If you want to work together with others then create a new joint RefWorks account. In New RefWorks you can authorize the other person to change references and provide comments in a shared folder.

More information