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The Graduate Health & Life Sciences Research Library at Georgetown University Medical Center

RefWorks Guide

This guide will provide you with a more in-depth look at the New RefWorks bibliographic management tool.

Save to RefWorks Bookmarklet

The Save to RefWorks bookmarklet allows users to grab their search results and drop into RefWorks without needing to download or create a new file type to save on your personal computer. In order to add the Save to RefWorks tool, follow the steps below:

First, go to the More ( A gear, the more options icon) icon which is located at the top of the screen. From the dropdown menu, select Tools. The Save to RefWorks tool will be the first tool listed. 

From More, select Tools. See Save to RefWorks is top of the list

Follow the directions provided by RefWorks to drag and drop into your browser bookmark bar. If you don't see your Bookmarks bar, please go to your browser tools and ensure your Bookmark bar is showing. 

If you run across issues, here is how to manually create the bookmarklet. Manually create the "Save to Refworks" button on Chrome by following these steps:

  1. When you see the "Save to Refworks" button, with instructions to "drag this button to your browser's favorites bar," do NOT drag the button. Instead, right-click (or Command-click) and choose "Copy Link Address"
  2. In a new tab, go to the Bookmark Manager. An easy way: right-click/Command-click the bookmarks bar and choose "Bookmark Manager." You can also use the keyboard shortcut Option-Command-B to bring it up.
  3. In the Bookmark Manager, choose "Add New Bookmark" -- click the 3 dots on the right corner of the screen to bring up the Bookmark Manager, and pick "Add New Bookmark."
  4. Chrome will ask for a name and a URL--
    1.  Name = Save to Refworks
    2.  URL = paste (Command-V) the link address

For PCs that use EDGE: 

Users cannot drag and drop the "Save to RefWorks" tool within the Edge browser, however, you can add it manually. This is a known issue for RefWorks and they have provided some work around information.

1. Within RefWorks, go to the Tools page. Add this to your Favorites bar. When asked to change the name, change from Tools to Save to RefWorks. From the drop down, change Add to Favorites to Add to Favorites bar.  You should see Save to RefWorks on your Favorites bar. 

2. Select Install Save to RefWorks. Instead of dragging and dropping the button, right click and select Copy Link

3. Next, go to the Save To RefWorks bookmark and select Edit URL. Paste the URL copied earlier. 

You should now be able to use the Save to RefWorks tool.

Export Indirectly from a database (PubMed MEDLINE)

One way users can get citations into their personal database is through exporting indirectly from a database, like PubMed for example. 

In order to export indirectly from PubMed, users can use Save to RefWorks. The Save to RefWorks bookmarklet/applet isn't consistent in getting larger numbers of citations out of PubMed and into RefWorks. PubMed doesn't allow scraping, which is essentially what the bookmarklet/applet does. When using the Save to RefWorks bookmarklet/applet, it may be best to stick with smaller numbers (up to 5).

Open PubMed MEDLINE and perform a search. Then, from your bookmark bar, select Save to RefWorks. The first 10-20 results from your list will appear in a side bar next to your results on the right. If you select no more than 3-5, you should be able to get those results into RefWorks. If an error message popup appears, select "skip" and proceed as regular to import.

Example of Save to RefWorks bookmarklet interacting with PubMed


For PubMed results over 5, follow the steps below to get results into RefWorks: 

  1. Conduct your search.
  2. Mark the records you wish to export.
  3. From the Send To option (...) icon, select Citation Manager as your Destination. 
  4. It will ask you to create a file for external citation management software
  5. Select Create File
  6. It will download as a .nbib file
  7. In RefWorks, Click on the + icon and select import references. 
  8. Under the Import From a File heading, click on the select a file from your computer link. 
  9. Select the .nbib file and click open.
  10. From the Search for the Format link, type in NLM PubMed (it may already be the default)
  11. Click the Import button 
  12. RefWorks will allow you to choose a folder
  13. Your references will appear in the Last Imported Folder as well as the folder you chose

Export Directly from a database (CINAHL)

RefWorks allows users to import citations directly from databases as well. One such database that allows for this is CINAHL.

In order to begin retrieving citations, open CINAHL and do a quick search. 

On the right, next to the needed citations, select the folder icons, changing them from blue to yellow. 


Next to the results, you will see the selected citations that have been added to the results folder. Select the option to go to Folder View

From within the folder, you will see all of the citations you selected from your search. Select the citations you want to export to RefWorks. At the top of the screen, you should see the options for Save citations to a file formatted for: the default option should be Direct Export to RefWorks. If not, please select Direct Export to RefWorks. Next, select Save in order to complete the process of getting citations into RefWorks. 

Export Citations into RefWorks from CINAHL


When finished, you will be redirected to a page where RefWorks will ask you to choose to Import into Legacy or New RefWorks. Please select New RefWorks. You will be asked to choose the folder to import into. After, you will be redirected to the Last Imported tab of RefWorks where you should see the CINAHL results you have just imported.

Export Directly from a database (Ovid MEDLINE)

RefWorks allows users to import citations directly from databases as well. Another database is Ovid MEDLINE. 

In order to begin retrieving citations, open Ovid MEDLINE and do a quick search. Select the number of results you wish to export out of Ovid MEDLINE and import into RefWorks. Right above your results list, you should see the choice to Export, next to Email and Add to My Projects. Select Export to see a screen similar to the one below:

Export Citation list

Make sure that the option for "Export To" is RefWorks. Next, underneath "Select Fields to Display", select Complete Reference. When finished, select Export citations. 

When finished, you will be redirected to a page where RefWorks will ask you to choose to Import into Legacy or New RefWorks. Please select New RefWorks. You will be asked to either select a folder to import into or select Not In Folder.  Go to the file folder you selected or go to the Last Imported tab of RefWorks where you should see the Ovid MEDLINE results you have just imported. 

Last imported or particular file will list imported citations