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Migrating from RefWorks to Zotero: Home

A step-by-step guide to exporting your citations out of RefWorks and loading them into Zotero.

RefWorks Support Ending on June 30th, 2024

After careful consideration, SCU Library has decided to end our contract for RefWorks on June 30th, 2024. This guide describes how to export and migrate your citations out of RefWorks and into other reference management systems. The University Library particularly recommends migrating to Zotero, a free and open-source citation management tool. After June 30th you may lose access to any citation data saved in RefWorks. If you have used RefWorks while at SCU, action is required to preserve your citation data. 

How do I transfer my RefWorks library to new software?

You must first export the citations from RefWorks and then import them into the citation management software of your choice. Note: If you wish to preserve your folders, you will need to export each folder separately.

To Export from RefWorks

  • View the RefWorks folder that you wish to export. 
  • Go to the Navigation bar at the top of the screen and select "Share". This will open a drop-down menu. Select the "Export references" option.
  • A dialog box titled "Export references" will open. You can choose to export "All references" or "Selected references" from the current folder. Modern citation managers can generally handle BibTeX and RIS formats. 
    • For import into Zotero, select the export format BibTeX. A .bib file will automatically download.
    • For import into Mendeley, choose the export format BibTeX. A .bib file will automatically download. 
    • For import into EndNote, choose the export format BibTex. A .bib file will automatically download.

To Import into another citation manager

Follow the steps below depending on your specific citation management software. 

  • Import into Zotero by opening the Zotero desktop application. Under the "File" menu select "Import..." In the new "Import" dialog box that opens, select "A file (BibTeX, RIS, Zotero RDF, etc.)"
  • Import into Mendeley using File>Add Files.
  • Import into EndNote using “File - Import - File..." The filter to use is "RefWorks Import."
  • To download attached files, you must display them on the screen, save, and reattach them to the new records. RefWorks does not provide any way of automatically downloading attached files.

If you need any help with this process, you can reach out directly to Lev Rickards by emailing

Where to download other citation managers

What if I want to continue using RefWorks?

Clarivate's ProQuest, the parent company that owns RefWorks, provides individual accounts. You can learn more on their website: