How to move citations from RefWorks to EndNote Desktop

Note: Your folders will not export into EndNote.  If you didn’t use folders in RefWorks you may choose not to create separate groups in EndNote.
  • Log into your RefWorks account.
  • In your RefWorks account, go to the folder you want to export to EndNote.

RefWorks Click on folder


  • In the References dropdown menu, choose Export.
RefWorks Reference Export


  • In the pop-up dialog box, choose the Export Format: Bibliographic Software (EndNote, Reference manager, ProCite) format. 
  • Click on the Export References button.

  • A browser window will appear with your references in a tagged format. Right click in the browser window and choose Save As… Save the export as a .txt file on your desktop.

Next create your EndNote Library:

  • Open EndNote. From the File menu, select New…
  • Give your library a name and save it in a location that you can remember.
EndNote File Create New Library
Create a Group
You create groups in EndNote in order to organize your references according to an assignment, topic or research project.
Groups are similar the folders you have created in RefWorks.   When you export references from RefWorks to EndNote, your folders will not transfer. You will need to create new groups in EndNote and move the references into that group.
  • Select Create Group from the Groups Menu.
  • Name the Group. You may choose to use the same name you used in RefWorks.


  • Under the File menu, select Import and Import File.  A Import File pop up box will appear:
File > Import > File


  • In the Import File pop up box click on Choose…  and find the .txt. file you created on your desktop. You may want to name the file after the folder in your RefWorks account if you are going to recreate a group in EndNote.
  • Import Option: Click on the down arrow and select Reference Manager (RIS).
  • Click Import. 
EndNote Desktop Import File Import Option
  • You should then see references in the Imported References section.  When you move these references to a group they will no longer display in the Unfiled Section.
  • Select and drag the references into the group you created. Click on a reference in EndNote and then type Ctrl A to select all the references. Then drag the references over to your group.  
EndNote Desktop > move references to a group
*Don’t forget to move reference from the Imported References section into a group before exporting more references into your library.

Additional Notes

  • File attachments will not transfer with your exported references. Save the files on your computer and then import them into EndNote. DOIs and URLs in the Links field will remain in your exported references.
  • Personal notes and User Fields in RefWorks will not transfer over with your exported references. You would need to copy and paste any notes from these fields into an equivalent field in EndNote.
  • If you are currently using WriteNCite to format a paper with in-text citations and a bibliography you cannot use these references with Endnote Cite While You Write.