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Reference Management | Migrating from RefWorks to a Replacement

Exporting from Legacy RefWorks

If you want to maintain the same folder structure in your new reference manager, you should export your citations from RefWorks one folder at a time. We don't recommend that you export more than 500 references at a time from RefWorks. If your library is larger than 500 references, split them into folders and export them one at a time.

To Export:
  1. Login to your legacy RefWorks account. Note: If this login doesn't look familiar, you may be using new RefWorks (see instructions).

  2. From the right navigation pane, view your Folders list and select a folder to export from the list.

  3. Go to the main menu References and click on Export.

  4. Choose the following options:
    • References to Include -> All in List 
    • Select an Export Format -> Bibliographic Software
    • Click Export References

  5. A text file will open in a new browser window/tab (make sure that pop-ups are enabled on your browser).

  6. Click on your browser's menu icon in the upper right to save the contents.

    • Internet Explorer:  -> File -> Save As
    • Firefox -> Save Page As
    • Chrome -> More Tools -> Save Page As
    • Microsoft Edge/Safari browsers do NOT support saving web pages as text documents and you will need to use one of the above.
  7. Give your file a name (we suggest naming it after the folder) and make note of your saved file location (e.g. desktop). 

    • File Name: [Enter Folder Name]
    • Save as Type: Text Document
  8. Check through your references to ensure no details have been lost during the export process. You can use Mendeley Desktop to correct any errors.

  9. Repeat these steps for each folder, then follow the import instructions for your new reference manager.

  10. Once you’ve finished migrating, make sure you press the ‘Sync’ button in Mendeley Desktop to save your changes in the cloud.

Saving Attachments 

RefWorks cannot export attachments in bulk. You will need to open and save individual files from RefWorks and add them to the new record.


  • You may not need every attachment in your collection. Consider only downloading files for projects that you are actively working on.
  • URL links for full-text are saved when exporting records as above, so you will still have the ability to access the full-text when needed.
  • You can also request full-text articles from KRS as required.
  • If saving attachments, remember to name these files so they can easily be identified and matched to the new record.