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RefWorks 3 (formerly Flow)

How to use RefWorks 3 to save, format, and manage citations.

RefWorks Cancellation

The Library is canceling its subscription to RefWorks effective June 30, 2017. After that date, students, faculty, staff and alumni will not be able to use RefWorks through the library’s subscription. This page will help RefWorks users save their citations for use in other applications.

If you would like assistance, or if you have any questions, please contact a librarian at

RefWorks 3 logo

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Why is the library cancelling its RefWorks subscription?

When the Library began offering RefWorks accounts ten years ago, there were only a few options for citation management software. RefWorks was one of the most reliable and inexpensive options, and it included most of the citation styles that our students and faculty needed. Now, there are more options, and some of these options are more usable and less expensive. Specifically, the Library recommends Zotero. As the number of Zotero users at Middlebury has grown, the number of RefWorks users has fallen. Zotero is free and portable, and it includes hundreds of citation styles.

Q: Can I get my own RefWorks subscription?

Unfortunately, RefWorks does not offer individual subscriptions at this point. We have been told that a free version of RefWorks will be available in Summon, but the functionality and long-term viability of the free version is still unclear. We recommend transferring all RefWorks sources to another citation manager such as Zotero. Zotero is a powerful tool with millions of users, so its long-term viability is more certain.

Q: What happened to Flow?

If you used Summon or another library database to save citations to a Flow account, please be aware that Flow has been revamped, and it’s been renamed RefWorks or RefWorks 3. The new RefWorks has new capabilities, but it also has significant shortcomings. Once our subscription to RefWorks ceases at the end of June 2017, you will lose access to your RefWorks (formerly Flow) account.

Q: I never used Flow. Am I going to be affected by this cancellation?

If you started using RefWorks several years ago then you probably have been using RefWorks 2 (also known as Legacy RefWorks). Once our subscription to RefWorks ceases at the end of June 2017, you will lose access to your RefWorks account.

Q: I'm not sure if I have a RefWorks 3 account. How can I check?

Go to this RefWorks page and log in. If you're able to log in then review the list called “All documents.” 

Q: I have an old RefWorks account and a new RefWorks account. Are my citations available in both accounts?

RefWorks (also known as RefWorks 2 and Legacy RefWorks) is different from RefWorks 3 (also known as RefWorks and Flow). It is likely that references in your RefWorks account were not moved to RefWorks 3. Please check both accounts to ensure you don’t lose any citations.

RefWorks to Zotero

Why choose Zotero?

Zotero is a free, powerful and easy-to-use tool that helps you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources. It lives right where you do your work—in the web browser itself.

How can I learn Zotero?

Visit our Zotero @ Middlebury guide, or contact at librarian at

How can I move references from RefWorks to Zotero?

You can export your entire RefWorks library, or just individual folders. If you would like to maintain the file structure of your RefWorks account, the easiest way is to export each folder separately and create a corresponding collection in Zotero.

The following images and instructions show how to download citation files from RefWorks into a text file which can then be imported into Zotero.

Export references from RefWorks

1. If you would like to export each of your RefWorks folders separately then first, select one of your RefWorks folders. Notes: a) Zotero will not maintain your file structure from RefWorks. If you want to keep your established folders, export your citations one folder at a time. This process involves more steps, but makes it easier to re-establish your file structure. b) Zotero will not import attachments saved to RefWorks. If you have attached files to your RefWorks records, for example PDFs or images, you will need to take the extra step of saving and uploading each attachment to Zotero. 

RefWorks3: Select folder


2. Click on the "Share & Export" button under the blue bar at the top of the screen.

RefWorks 3: Share and Export


3. Select "Export references."

RefWorks 3: Export references


4. Confirm that “All references...” is selected. Then, select the format called "RIS format."

RefWorks 3: Export from


5. RefWorks will create a text file with your references. Save this file to your computer.


6. Proceed with the instructions to import the file into Zotero.


Import references to Zotero

1. Go to Zotero by clicking on the icon in the top of your browser.

Zotero icon


2. Click on the gear icon and select "Import."

Zotero: Import


3. Select the RefWorks file you saved.

Zotero: Select file


4. The sources you imported will now appear in Zotero

Zotero: New files


5. All of your references from RefWorks will appear in one new collection. If you are exporting one folder at a time in order to maintain the file structure of your RefWorks account, select the new collection and rename it.

Zotero: rename collection


6. Reminder that Zotero will not import attachments saved to RefWorks. If you have attached files to your RefWorks records, for example PDFs or images, you will need to take the extra step of saving and uploading each attachment to Zotero. 


Questions? Contact at librarian at


RefWorks to EndNote

Why choose EndNote?

EndNote is a client-based citation management software that will download and store citations and articles, automatically generate bibliographies, and format your research papers. Important: The College provides EndNote for faculty only.

How to learn EndNote?

The College provides EndNote for faculty only. Contact the HelpDesk if you would like EndNote. To learn how to use EndNote, consult documentation and tutorials online via EndNote and other sources.

How to move references from RefWorks to EndNote

1. Follow the instuctions above for exporting from RefWorks

2. Follow the instructions in this guide for importing to EndNote:  RefWorks to EndNote (UIUC), created by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library for its RefWorks transition in 2016.