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RefWorks: guides, instructions, tutorials

References created with the MS Word References Toolbar

These steps will only work if you used the Microsoft Word References toolbar to create your references. If you created your references manually, please see the suggestions below this list of instructions

  1. When you’re in Word, click the References tab, and then click Manage Sources (it’s in theCitations & Bibliography group).

Manage Sources command

2. Next, click Browse.

Browse button in the Source Manager dialog box

3. The window that opens up contains your source file–for example, Sources.xml.

The source file

4. From here, you can copy the file and paste to another location (e.g. desktop) that will be easier for you to upload to RefWorks.

5. Next, log in to your RefWorks account.

6. On the RefWorks toolbar select References and choose Import from the dropdown menu.

7. On the Import References box choose MSWordSourcesXML in the Import Filter/Data Source dropdown list. The database should automatically read the same but if it does not, please choose MSWordSourcesXML.

8. Click the Choose File button to upload the Sources file you saved from Microsoft Word in Step 4.
Select file and click OK.

9. Click Import

10. The citations you created in MS Word will be imported into RefWorks.
Click on View Last Imported Folder to view the citations.

References added manually to MS Word

It is possible to import references that were manually added in Word into RefWorks. Suggested techniques for doing this are as follows:

  1. Some users have found the using an intermediary service such as WizFolio can be helpful. View the instructions linked below

  1. Search for the articles, books, etc. in a database and then export directly to RefWorks and/or a format that will import into RefWorks (e.g. RIS or BibTeX) - Please view the instructions for importing from Mount Library databases listed on the left under 'Importing References' Some users find it easiest to search in discovery search tools such as Novanet Discovery as it tends to include both books and journal articles from a wide selection of sources. WorldCat and Google Scholar are also useful search tools to use for this purpose.

  1. Alternatively, you could manually enter the references in RefWorks.

  1. Advanced users may wish to try converting the bibliography into code that RefWorks can read and import into their account. This method is more complex and is recommended only for advanced users. A good guide with instructions for converting your bibliography can be found below:

It is difficult to say which method is the best or most efficient for an individual as it will vary depending on his/her catalogue searching, typing, and technological skills. Generally, most users find that  a combination of options 1 and  2 work well for them.


This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License.
Creative Commons License

You may copy the guide for noncommercial purposes as long as credit is included. Please be aware that the guide may contain links to subscription based services for which access is restricted. We encourage you to license your derivative works under Creative Commons as well to encourage sharing and reuse of educational materials.