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Citation Guide

This guide presents information and resources on APA, MLA, and Chicago styles as well as guidance on citation management programs.

Florida State University’s access to the state-wide RefWorks subscription ended on December 31, 2020. As of this writing (January 2021), users are able to access their RefWorks accounts to transfer information out, however we do not know how long this functionality will be available for since FSU Libraries no longer supports the platform. We encourage you to migrate your resources to any of the citation managers covered in this guide.
The decision to cancel the RefWorks subscription was based on tightening budgets and the availability of high quality, free or low-cost alternatives. This guide will provide step-by-step instructions for transferring your references from RefWorks to an alternate citation manager of your choice.

Transitioning from RefWorks to Another Citation Manager

Choose an Alternate Citation Manager

Before you get started with moving your references, the first thing you need to do is choose a different citation manager and make an account. Click here to learn about the different citation management programs and compare features.

This page will cover how to import into Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote. For instructions on creating an account and installing one of these managers, see the "Resources" column below.

For the easiest export/import process, download the desktop application of your new citation manager.

Export References from RefWorks

These directions are for New/Proquest RefWorks ( If you are using Legacy RefWorks, you can find video instructions for transitioning to another citation manager via the "Legacy RefWorks" tab at the top of this box.

Once you have created an account with your preferred citation manager, you will need to export your references from RefWorks. This is a fairly simple process.

1. Click the “Share” button at the top of the screen on the homepage. Then select “Export references.”



Screenshot of Refworks All References page with the "Share" dropdown menu opened, "Export References" circled in red.


2. Select “All References” and then select “RIS” as the format. (If using Zotero/Mendeley on desktop, you can also export as a .bib format).

3. If you want to preserve your folder hierarchy, export your folders one at a time and save them as separate files. You can do this by clicking on your folder, then following steps 1-2 from that folder rather than from the Refworks homepage.


Options within Export references, "RIS Format" circled in red.


4. When you click “Export,” the file should download.


RefWorks "All References" page with red arrow pointing to exported file.

5. Now you're ready to import your references into your new citation manager! Use the tabs at the top of this page to navigate to your specific new citation manager for further instructions.

Please Note…

Your file attachments will not transfer into your new citation manager, only the reference information. You will need to upload PDFs, Word docs, etc. individually.

Import References into Zotero for Desktop

1. If you have the desktop application already downloaded, your Refworks references should automatically import into your Zotero application when you open the .ris or .bib file.

2. If the file does not automatically import, save it to your computer and open your Zotero desktop application. Click File > Import, and then select the .ris or .bib file you just saved.


Import option on "File" tab within Zotero

Import References into Zotero Online

If you are only using Zotero in your browser, then go to In your library, click the “+” sign and then select “Upload file.” You can then upload the .ris or .bib file you just saved.

"Upload File" option encircled in red within Zotero "My Library."

Having trouble?

Check out our Zotero User Guide!

Import References into EndNote

Desktop Application* Instructions:

1. After you click "Export" in RefWorks and open the .ris file from your browser, a dialog box should appear, prompting you to select a program to open the file. If EndNote is already downloaded onto your desktop, you should see "EndNote" appear in the dropdown box next to "Open with."

2. If EndNote does not appear in the dropdown list, choose "Other," and then go to your Program Files folder, select the EndNote folder and then the EndNote application.

EndNote Online Instructions:

Save the .ris file to your computer. Make sure you only save as an .ris file (EndNote will not open .bib files). Open your EndNote application or go to your web library, click "File" and then "Import," and then select the .ris file you just saved to your computer.

*Note: FSU does not offer free access to EndNote Desktop, though EndNote X9 offers student/faculty discounts. Go to > Personal Orders > Check the box for Third Party Release permission > Other Software > EndNote X9

Import References into Mendeley

1. Open your library. If your library is empty, you should see a blue button in the middle of the page that says "Upload documents now." Click that button, and select the .ris or .bib file you just saved. You can also simply drag and drop the file into the indicated space.

2. If you have already added documents to your Mendeley account, use the "Add" button at the top left corner of your screen to upload the file.

Having trouble?

Check out our Mendeley User Guide!

Exporting from RefWorks Legacy

Click the links for video instructions to transfer your references from RefWorks Legacy into an alternate citation manager:

Legacy RefWorks → Zotero

Legacy RefWorks → EndNote

Legacy RefWorks → Mendeley


Getting Started with Alternate Citation Managers:

Zotero: How to Install Zotero

Mendeley: Getting Started with Mendeley

EndNote: EndNote Signup Page

More Resources:

Proquest RefWorks YouTube channel

Need more help? Schedule a consultation with a librarian

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