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Frequently Asked Questions

Other Tools

  • Q: What citation management tool should I migrate to?
    A: While most tools have broadly similar functionality, there are slight differences. You can see these differences and decide which tool works best for you using the citation management comparison chart. If you are using the UBC-provided Microsoft 365 for students, Zotero is the most compatible tool.

  • Q: Can I transition to a personal RefWorks account?
    A: RefWorks does not provide personal accounts. There are several free tools with functionality similar to RefWorks. UBC Library provides support for both Zotero and Mendeley.

  • Q: I’m an instructor. What should I recommend for my students?
    A: Zotero is compatible with the UBC-provided Microsoft Word 365 for students, so will be the best option for most UBC students.


  • Q: I have multiple RefWorks accounts. Can I migrate all of them?
    A: It is possible to create multiple accounts on both Zotero and Mendeley. Creating multiple accounts is easier on Mendeley. These instructions explain how to create multiple Zotero profiles.

  • Q: I have a lot of citations in my RW account that I don’t want to lose. Help!
    A: You can migrate all of your citations to another citation management tool. Instructions are available on the UBC RefWorks Transition Guide

  • Q: Can I migrate my folders?
    A: It takes more time, but is possible to export citations from one folder at a time.

  • Q: Can I migrate the pdfs?
    A: Unfortunately, it is only possible to transfer the citations and not the pdfs or other attachments. You may download the pdfs individually and save to another location on your computer

  • Q: I have annotated a number of pdfs stored on RefWorks. Can I migrate the annotations?
    A: Unfortunately, you cannot migrate annotations you have made to PDFs in RefWorks

  • Q: I have used the notes field and "add more fields" to customize my entries RefWorks. Can I migrate them?
    A: If you export from RefWorks into a .tsv file instead of a .ris file, this information can be preserved and opened in Excel. These fields cannot be migrated to other tools, but you can still migrate the rest of your metadata.
  • Q: Will I be able to modify citations in my document made with RCM?
    A: Unfortunately, you will not be able to do bulk editing of citations once RefWorks isn’t available. You will be able to edit them individually as you would other text in your document. For this reason, it is a good idea to make sure your RCM citations are accurate before the RefWorks subscription expires.

RefWorks Features

  • Q: RefWorks worked really well with multiple authors. Do other tools?
    A: Both Zotero and Mendeley work for references with multiple authors.
  • Q: I use RefWorks for Systematic Reviews. What tool would you recommend?
    A: Zotero is a great free option when used in conjunction with Covidence. Some researchers who want increased functionality opt to purchase personal subscriptions to EndNote.

  • Q: RefWorks worked well with exporting from my preferred database. What tool would you recommend?
    A: It is possible to export citations from most databases in an RIS file, which is compatible with most citation management tools, including both Zotero and Mendeley.

  • Q: RefWorks offered lots of storage. What tool would you recommend?
    A: RefWorks has more storage than most other tools. You may choose to store your pdfs elsewhere to reduce your storage needs. If you plan to use significant storage:
  • Mendeley offers 2 GB of free storage. After that, users may upgrade to 5GB for $55 USD/ year; 10 GB for $110 USD/ year; or unlimited storage for $165 USD/ year
  • Zotero offers 300 MB of free storage. After that, users may upgrade to: 2 GB for $20 USD/ Year; 6 GB for $60 USD/ year; or unlimited storage for $120 USD/ year.

  • Q: Is there a tool that works with Google Docs?
    A: Zotero has a plug in that works with Google Docs. Mendeley does not currently offer a plug in for Google Docs.


  • Q: I’m a Mac user. Can I get help?
    A: Yes. Please make an appointment under citation management at:

  • Q: Will the Library replace RefWorks with another tool?
    A: Zotero and Mendeley are free. We offer workshops and 1-on-1 support.

  • Q: Why doesn’t the Library provide EndNote Desktop?
    A: EndNote Desktop is significantly more expensive. The free options are robust enough for most users. EndNote Basic, a web-based version of EndNote, is free for Library users.