Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Your Local Library

Information about contacts and opening times for each Academic Partner Library service of the University of the Highlands and Islands

From Legacy RefWorks

Backup and restore references

RefWorks makes sure your data is safe and secure, but there may be time when you wish to have your own personal copy of your references e.g. for moving into another referencing tool, importing references from Legacy to New RefWorks , or you are changing organizations and want to move your references to your new organisation. The Backup/Restore/Export features in Legacy and New RefWorks allows you to create files that are copies of those held in your Legacy / New RefWorks accounts.

The Backup/Restore/Export features are also used when you want to share an output style that you have customized with another RefWorks user.

To backup your RefWorks in your Legacy RefWorks account

To back up a copy of your database (including RefID numbers and folders), and custom output styles follow the steps below.  Please Note - Folders that do not contain any references will not be saved. If you have empty folders that you wish to retain add a reference to the folder before backing up.  Also, any preferences set in the Customize area of RefWorks will be included in the backup.

  1. From either the Tools or the References menu select Backup/Restore.
  2. Ensure Include References is selected.
  3. Ensure Include RSS Feeds is selected.
  4. Ensure all custom Output Styles are selected to backup.
  5. Click on Perform Backup.
  6. Save the file when prompted.  If you are not prompted to save the file, click the option that says Click here to save your backup file to download the backup to your computer.

The default file name is a combination of your organization’s Group Code and your login name.  It will be saved as a .zip, . rwb or .ris file.  Please do not change the extension of the file as it is necessary to restore if you need to do so later.

Note: You cannot open the backup file.  Should you want a viewable copy of your references, use the Export option.

To restore references into your Legacy or New RefWorks account

1. If restoring references to Legacy RefWorks follow the same points as 1-4.  Then click on the 'Restore' link and click on the 'Perform Restore' button.
2. If putting references into the New RefWorks click on the 'Add' button in new RefWorks, click on 'Import References' then follow the instructions.

How to Restore References in Legacy RefWorks

Restoring will overwrite all of the references in your database. If you need to restore from a back up for some reason, be sure to do so in either an empty database or to an account that does not have any data you want to save.

Restoring Output Styles will overwrite styles with the exact same name and will add styles that are unique. As a result, you can create several custom styles and back up just the Output styles by selecting the styles you want to include or by selecting Check All to include all custom Output Styles.  Give this back up to a colleague and they can restore just the styles to add your custom ones to their program.  (Be sure you do not back up and restore the database as well.)

  1. From either the Tools or the References menu select Backup/Restore.
  2. Select the Restore option.
  3. Browse for the appropriate back up file.
  4. Select Include References, Include Output Styles and/or Include RSS Feeds.
  5. Click on Perform Restore.
  6. If putting references into the new RefWorks follow the same points as 1-4 then click on the 'Add' button in new RefWorks, click on 'Import References' then follow the instructions.

Back Up (Save) / Export References in or from New RefWorks

As with Legacy RefWorks, you may wish to save / backup your references in New RefWorks e.g. if you are leaving the university, moving to another organisation or changing referencing tools.

1. Click on the 'Share tab' along the top of the RefWorks page and see 'Export References'.

2. Click on 'Export References', ensure 'All References' is ticked and choose which format you are going to export your references.  You have a choice of 4 formats : BibTex; RIS Format ; Tab Delimited (.tsv) and XML format.  You may wish to export in all of these formats, one at a time, in case you need to use them with different tools e.g another referencing tool, a web page, an Excel file.

3. Depending on how many references are being exported, and the browser you are exporting them from, the 'processing' part, which you will see happening on your screen, may take a while.

4. The system will tell you, at the top of the screen just below the browser, when the references have been exported.

5. Depending on the browser, the system will show where the file is that has been exported e.g. in Chrome it shows this at the bottom left of the screen.

6. Make sure you know where the file has been saved - you may wish to rename it and / or save it somewhere else at this point. Using the RIS format as an example, remember to ensure the file has been saved in 'RIS' format. If renaming the file using any of the other export methods e.g. BibTex, Tab Delimited (.tsv) or XML Format remember to keep the file endings the same as the original.

Restore / Import References in or into New RefWorks

If you are using New RefWorks the way to save your references from another location, there is a 'restore / import' feature which allows you to do this:

1. Create a new folder in Refworks for these references to be imported into.  This will assist you in identifying them e.g. 'Backup Reference file x date'

2. Click on the 'Add' button on the top left and choose 'Import References' . You are then given a choice of importing from another reference manager e.g. Legacy Refworks, or you can import a file.  RefWorks supports hundreds of formats including RIS, BibTeX, and PubMed. Drag and drop the file into RefWorks or use the link, shown in the screen, to “select a file from your computer” and upload it. 

3. If you are importing the references from Legacy RefWorks click on the 'Legacy RefWorks' button and follow the instructions.

NOTE : This method upgrades references (excluding references in Deleted References), attachments, folders, and custom citation styles. For further information about this method see here.  

4. If you are importing a file e.g. from a computer, the cloud, USB stick, go to where your file is stored and click on it, so that it appears in the 'File name' at the bottom of that box.

NOTE : This method only upgrades references (excluding references in Deleted References) and does not upgrade attachments, folders, or custom citation styles.

5. Click on 'Open' which will take you to a box showing the words 'We think this file is ... Format...' - then click on the 'Import' button.

This takes you to a screen headed 'Import Options' where you can choose which of your folders to import your references into.

6. Click on 'Import' - this will start to import your references.  It may take a few minutes.

7. When the importing is finished it should show the words 'Import complete' and the number of 'documents' (in this case references) that have been imported into your library.  Click on the 'OK' button.

8. It will show you 'Last imported', the references, and the folder they are located in.