Using Refworks

Using Refworks

The following module will describe the benefits of using RefWorks throughout the research and writing cycle to help with citation management and writing.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the primary uses for RefWorks
  • Identify RefWorks resources available through the library
  • Identify multiple ways to add citation information to RefWorks
  • Understand the benefits of using Write-N-Cite


About RefWorks

Refworks is web-based bibliographic management software that enables users to easily store, organize, and manage citation information as well as generate bibliographies in a wide variety of citation styles. It includes a plug in called Write-n-Cite that can be used with Microsoft Word to easily insert citations and automatically generate a bibliography for content cited in a paper. This can save the researcher considerable time that is typically lost locating citation information and manually entering and correctly formatting citations.

RefWorks functions as a personal database of citation information that is accessible anywhere that Internet access is available. Researchers can quickly add bibliographic information during the research process in several different ways. Citation information can be directly exported to RefWorks from many of the library databases and even from Google Scholar. Citations stored in different bibliographic software programs, such as EndNote and Zotero can be imported. Citations can also be manually entered. Once citations are in RefWorks, they can be organized, edited, and searched. Duplicate checking is available.

Getting Started with RefWorks

Before using RefWorks, GCU users will need to set up their free RefWorks account. To set up this account, you must either be on campus, or log in to RefWorks through the GCU Library Website. Once your account has been created, you can access RefWorks either through the library or directly at If you previously had a RefWorks account through another institution, you can move the citations from that account to the new account you set up through GCU. Please contact the library for assistance with this.

Using Write-n-Cite

When you are ready to write your research findings, Write-n-Cite is a great tool for formatting your in-text citations and bibliography. To download Write-N-Cite, log in to your RefWorks account and locate Write-N-Cite in the Tools menu. Select the correct version to download and install based on your operating system and version of Word. Be sure to copy the Download Code on the download page. You will need this later to connect Write-N-Cite to your RefWorks account.

After installation, open Word. You will see a RefWorks tab in the Office ribbon. Go to this tab and click on Log in. You will need either the Download Code or the RefWorks Group Code to log in. Contact the library for assistance if you need the Group Code. Log in using the credentials you created for RefWorks. After this initial login, Write-N-Cite will remain connected to your RefWorks account unless you log out. 

Syncing your RefWorks database to Write-N-Cite makes all of the citation information in your RefWorks account available for you in Word without an active Internet connection. For this reason, you may want to sync Write-N-Cite any time you add new references to RefWorks.

Getting Help

There are many ways to get help with using RefWorks and Write-N-Cite. Refworks has extensive help files available on their website as well as a LibGuide. The GCU Library offers a monthly RefWorks webinar, where you will learn how to create an account, export from the library databases, and manually create citations. The library also has a Guide with information on Citing Sources that includes some basic information on RefWorks. Please feel free to contact the library directly for additional help.


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