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Migrating from RefWorks to Mendeley

Getting started

1. Register for a Mendeley account, and download Mendeley desktop. See our Mendeley instructions for more detailed set-up information. 

2. Log in to your RefWorks account. 

3. Ask yourself two questions: 

  • Does your RefWorks folder structure matter? 
    and
  • Do you have more than 500 references?

If you don't have folders set up, and you have fewer than 500 references, you can export all of your references at once.

If you would like to maintain your folder structure post-migration, and/or you have more than 500 references, you should export one folder at a time

Don't forget to export your "Not in folder" folder. 

Need to export more than 500 references? Learn how to create folders.

Exporting a folder from RefWorks

​If you want to keep your folder structure, and/or you have more than 500 references, this export strategy is best for you.

​1 - 3. Follow the "getting started" instructions, above. 

4. In your RefWorks account, choose one of your folders from the menu on the right side of the page. 

screenshot of folders display

5. Hover your mouse over the "References" tab in the top left corner. Click on "export."

screenshot with "export" option highlighted

6. Choose to export "All in List," and select the "Bibliographic Software (EndNote, Reference Manager, ProCite)" export format. Once you have selected both of those things, click "Export References."

screenshot showing "all in list," "bibliographic software," and "export references" options on page

7. At this point, a new tab should open up with your references in a list (like the image below). If it does, proceed to Step 8. 

No new tab? Check the bottom right corner of your browser for this window:

Screenshot showing a window that says "Completed", then: Export complete. If you do not receive a file download prompt click here, or if you'd like the file emailed to you click here.

Follow the first set of instructions: "click here" because you didn't receive a file download prompt. You should then have the page with your references in a list. 

8. Right click and choose "Save as...," OR click "File" and then "Save page as"

Screenshot showing "save as" on drop-down menu.

9. Save the file as a .txt file. 

Screen shot showing drop-down menu option to "save as type" Text Document.

10. Open Mendeley desktop, and log in to your Mendeley account. 

11. Create a new folder within Mendeley. 

Screenshot highlighting option to a create a new folder: a folder icon with a plus sign.

12. Drag and drop your RefWorks folder .txt file into the new folder in Mendeley. 

Screenshot showing file being dragged and dropped.

13. Do not merge the files. (This will cause all of your references to be merged into one reference - not ideal!)

"Merge documents" option is crossed out.

14. Sync Mendeley. 

Screenshot showing Sync icon.

15. Repeat steps 4-14 until all of your folders have been migrated. Don't forget your "Not in folder" folder!

Congratulations, you're done! 

​Exporting all of your references from RefWorks

​If you're not concerned about your folder structure, and/or you have less than 500 references, this export strategy will work for you. If you'd rather keep your folder structure, follow the "exporting a folder from RefWorks" instructions. 

​1 - 3. Follow the "getting started" instructions, above. 

4. In your RefWorks account, hover over the "References" tab in the top left hand corner. Click on "Export."

Screenshot showing "export" drop-down option under the References heading.

5. Choose to export "All in List," and select the "Bibliographic Software (EndNote, Reference Manager, ProCite)" export format. Once you have selected both of those things, click "Export References."

Screenshot highlighting "all in list" button, "Bibliographic software" option in Export Format drop-down menu, and "Export references" button.

6. At this point, a new tab should open up with your references in a list (like the image below). If it does, proceed to Step 7. 

No new tab? Check the bottom right corner of your browser for this window:

Screenshot showing a window that says "Completed", then: Export complete. If you do not receive a file download prompt click here, or if you'd like the file emailed to you click here.

Follow the first set of instructions: "click here" because you didn't receive a file download prompt. You should then have the page with your references in a list. 

7. Right click and choose "Save as...," OR click "File" and then "Save as"

Screenshot showing "Save as" option from drop-down menu.

8. Save the file as a .txt file. 

Screenshot showing file name with .txt suffix, "save as type text document" option, and "save" button.

9. Open Mendeley desktop, and log in to your Mendeley account. 

10. Create a new folder within Mendeley. 

Screenshot highlighting option to a create a new folder: a folder icon with a plus sign.

11. Drag and drop your RefWorks folder .txt file into the new folder in Mendeley. 

Screenshot showing file being dragged and dropped.

12. Do not merge the files. (This will cause all of your references to be merged into one reference - not ideal!)

"Merge documents" option is crossed out.

13. Sync Mendeley. 

Screenshot showing Sync icon.

Congratulations, you're done! 

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