This is the "RefWorks FAQ" page of the "RefWorks at the University of Iowa Libraries" guide.
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RefWorks at the University of Iowa Libraries   Tags: refworks  

Get started using RefWorks, a web-based citation management and bibliography tool.
Last Updated: May 2, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

RefWorks FAQ Print Page

RefWorks Webinars

We offer several webinars on many different topics each month. Below are links to our schedule of upcoming sessions and recordings of recent ones.

Upcoming sessions and recordings:

RefWorks Webinars

We also offer a series of brief video tutorials on our RefWorks YouTube channel.


    Frequently Asked Questions about RefWorks via the UI Libraries

    How do I access RefWorks from off campus?

    To access RefWorks from off campus, click on Log in to RefWorks. You will be prompted for your HawkID and password, then taken to the RefWorks login page.

    How do I use Write-N-Cite from off campus?

    Note that when you visit the Write-N-Cite installation directions (choose Tools > Write-N-Cite once logged in to RefWorks), you will see a long Write-N-Cite Login Code displayed. This code is unique to your RefWorks account, and includes your UI credentials. Copy and paste the login code to a text file, or e-mail it to yourself. Once you've installed Write-N-Cite as an add-in to Microsoft Word, you will be prompted to add the login code, which makes logging into Write-N-Cite unnecessary.

    How do I export references from Smart Search and InfoHawk?

    Exporting references from the Smart Search e-Shelf. Prior to searching in Smart Search, sign in with your Hawk ID and password. Once signed in, any Smart Search record can be added to your e-Shelf by clicking the checkbox by its title. When you are done adding items to your e-Shelf, move to the e-Shelf tab to display them. Select the records you would like to export to RefWorks, choose Push to RefWorks from the dropdown menu, then click on Go. A new browser window appears, where you will be prompted to log in to your RefWorks account. Once you have done that your e-Shelf records will appear in the RefWorks Last Imported folder.

    Exporting references from InfoHawk. This does not require being logged in with your Hawk ID. Select the records you would like to export individually by clicking the checkbox to the left of each record, or click the Select All button to export the entire search result. (Be aware that exporting a large number of records at once may take a while.) Click the RefWorks button. Click Continue for RefWorks Format, then OK. A new browser window appears, where you will be prompted to log in to your RefWorks account. Once you have done that your references will appear in the RefWorks Last Imported folder. If any of your records are for non-book items, be sure that RefWorks has correctly identified their Ref Type (it tends to consider all imports from InfoHawk as Ref Type = Book, Whole).

    How do I backup the citations in my RefWorks account?

    Your citations are safely stored on the RefWorks server, but if you wish to back up your database, you can use the Backup & Restore utility to download a copy of your database to your personal computer. This can be useful if you are moving to another campus that also has RefWorks, as you can "restore" your citations to an account through your new school.

    Is RefWorks always accurate and correct?

    RefWorks cannot verify that your data is accurate or correctly formatted. Some styles may have nuances which RefWorks cannot resolve without human intervention. For instance, in APA style the issue number should not be included for journals that have continuous pagination. You must eliminate the issue number from the citation that RefWorks provides in the bibliography. We recommend that you use a style manual with RefWorks.

    Can I share my RefWorks database?

    Yes. RefShare is a tool that will let you share your citations with colleagues on campus or around the world even if they do not have a RefWorks account. Your colleagues can view your citations and create bibliographies but cannot edit or add new citations.

    Can I create more than one RefWorks account?

    Yes, you may create more than one account. This might be used, for example, to share an account with a research group while keeping a private account for your own use.

    Sometimes when I try to directly export citations, they open up in EndNote. How can I fix this?

    This happens with some databases when you have EndNote installed on your computer. The problem databases include Web of Science and IEEE/Xplore. Follow the RefWorks manual save and export instructions for these databases to fix the problem.

    Can I attach a PDF copy of the article to the citation in RefWorks?

    Yes. In the Edit view of a citation there is a Browse button for locating a PDF on your hard drive and uploading it as an attachment to the RefWorks server. Each RefWorks account can have up to 100MB in attached files. Additional storage may be available by request.

    Another option is to use the Links field to store any related URL that would be used in your bibliography to link back to the article or information you are citing. If you would like to store your PDFs remotely, we recommend using Xythos (, a web-based file storage system available to UI faculty, staff and students.

    Log in to Xythos using your HawkID/password. Click the Upload icon, then browse to the PDF file stored on your computer. Click OK to upload. The URL for this file will be in this format:<your hawkid>/<filename>. For example: Place this URL in the Links field in your RefWorks record.

    How do I change an in-text citation to include pages numbers or remove authors?

    See Modifying an In-Text Citation or Footnote.

    When I try to update my citations, the formatting on my paper gets changed. How can I prevent this?

    Check to see if "Track Changes" is enabled in Microsoft Word. Write-N-Cite will not function properly unless the "Track Changes" option is disabled.

    Can I use RefWorks and Write-N-Cite with the UI Graduate College's thesis template?

    Yes. We recommend applying the template to your thesis before inserting citations with Write-N-Cite. Check here for more details about the thesis template.

    Why am I getting a "security certificate" warning?

    When logging in from off-campus via the proxy server, you may receive a security certificate error. This is because the security certificate is being read as when you log in through the proxy server. Accept the exception/click OK (depending on your web browser) to continue to RefWorks.

    Can UI alumni continue to use RefWorks?

    If you created a RefWorks account while a student here, you can continue to use that account after graduation. Rather than logging in to RefWorks via the proxy server, simply go to and click on the “Login” link on the top left corner. Enter the UI Group Code in the large gray box on the page. You will then be prompted for the RefWorks ID and password that you created before you left UI. If you don’t have our group code, please contact us.


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