RefWorks Now Supports Word 2016

UCSF Library provides access to the reference manager RefWorks for the UCSF community.  Many rely on RefWorks, rather than EndNote, Zotero, Mendeley or others, to store and organize information, and cite references in  their documents. Microsoft Word is the primary word processor which works with the better-known reference managers.


old to new RefWorks

Microsoft Office 2016 came out in the summer-to-fall of 2015 for both Mac and Windows. Since that time those using RefWorks have faced a problem. If they unknowingly updated  to Office 2016 or bought a shiny new computer with Office 2016 installed they were not able to use RefWorks to format in-text citations and reference lists in Word documents. Either they needed to revert to the previous version of Office or change reference managers.

This problem is finally solved! RefWorks now has an update which works with Word 2016. The new plug-in is accessed through Word 2016.

RefWorks Word 2016There is more to the story. I will briefly summarize here. Proquest, the new parent company of RefWorks, is in the middle of upgrading from what is now called legacy RefWorks to ProQuest RefWorks. UCSF has not forced users to upgrade to the new version yet, but the legacy version will go away in September, 2017.

There will be more blog posts about RefWorks coming soon.

Let me know questions or if you are finding problems with the installation.


About Whit

Whit is the Education and Information Consultant for Medicine at UCSF Library.
This entry was posted in Citation management, Research, Software. Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to RefWorks Now Supports Word 2016

  1. michael sholinbeck says:

    I don’t see Store in word…

    • Whit says:

      Hi Michael, I can’t explain that. Please verify that you are using Word 2016. You might also try to maximize the size of the Word page. When make my Word page smaller Store disappears. Widening may cause it it to show itself. Hope that works. Whit

  2. Lee Ming says:

    The formatting for the citation comes out weird in Word 2016. The number for the citation appears below the sentence rather than immediately next to it.

    • Whit says:

      Hi, Are you able to send a screen shot to me showing this? What citation format are you using when this happens? Thanks, Whit

      • Rai says:

        I have a similar problem, using RefWorks Citation Manager in (Mac) Ms Word 2016. As i insert/cite the references in the sentences it lines breaks and the reference number appears below as follows:

        The glass formation based of flurorzirconated systems was discovered by Poulain et al. in 1975
        , which was first observed in ternary system and later in 1979
        it was observed in the binary system of

  3. When installing the add-on, it says i need to log in. So, I log in and then nothing happens and the add on isn’t installed

    • Whit says:

      Please tell me which operating system and which version of Word.
      I am assuming this is Mac and Word 2016? If so, take a look at this document. Does that answer your question?

      To add RefWorks to Word 2016 go to , scroll down to View Instructions.. icon and look at that document.
      — Whit

  4. Malthe says:

    How do you add a shortcut for refworks (RefWorks Citation Manager) on osx, Word 2016. Every time I want to open refworks I have to go to ‘Add program’ -> ‘My programs’-> Refworks

    • Whit says:

      I am interpreting your question in two ways, what follows is an answer to both.

      1. In OS X since RefWorks is web-based, you need to bookmark RefWorks on your browsers. This is probably not what you are asking.
      2. For adding RefWorks to Word 2016 go to , scroll down to View Instructions icon and look at that document.

      If that does not work, or is not the question you are asking then write me back.
      — Whit

  5. Melonie Barrington says:

    I am using word 2016 and RefWorks Citation Manager. When I open up the document, the in text citations are always on a line by itself. If i make corrections, shut down word and open it up again, the citations are always on a line by themselves. This requires significant work to correct this formatting issue when you have several pages. What’s the fix?

    • Whit says:

      Hi Melonie,
      I assume you are using the new version of RefWorks? I have not seen the problem you describe before. Questions for you: What formatting style are you using or does it happen with all of them? Please send me a screenshot of the appearance in Word 2016, ideally with “show all nonprinting characters” turned on (the paragraph symbol). This may give us clues about how to fix the problem — Whit

      • Päivärinta Kimi says:

        Not Melonie, but I have the same problem. I’d it worked just fine a month ago, but not anymore. Screenshot:

        • Päivärinta Kimi says:

          This problem seems to only occur on Mac. On my Windows machine it works just fine. This bug on Mac, however, makes the whole plugin just useless.

          • Whit says:

            I see what you mean. I can only get this to appear in Word 2016 on Mac. I am not seeing anything in the RefWorks website about this, so I will report the problem. I did not worry too much about the problem as I could move the citation to the previous line by dragging it into place. Annoying but does not seem to be a huge problem. I will let you know if RefWorks has any answers to fix it.

  6. James says:


    I have upgraded my mac and so I have updated my microsoft package from 2011 to mac 2016. I have a refworks account and use to use writ-n-cite for my thesis writing. How do I get this write-n-cite plug in on to this new microsoft word package so that I can continue my writing with Refworks and manage my references accordingly.


  7. Joost Meijerink says:


    I’m using refworks in Word 2016 and out of nothing this text pops up and I can’t add citations anymore. What can I do about it?

    Unfortunately Word has misbehaved and we couldn’t update some of your citations.



  8. nasi says:


    I am using refworks in Word 2016 on my Mac and I received this message “Unfortunately Word has misbehaved and we couldn’t update some of your citations” . I can’t add anymore citations in my documents while I am using my Mac. Interestingly, reworks works properly when I am using my PC at the university at the same time. even I deleted once my citation manager add in and re-insrtall it again but it did not make any difference and still I got the same message. Do you have any idea how I can fix this issue on my mac?


    • Nikolas says:

      It is probably too late now but maybe other have the same issue.

      apparently you should never (!!!) change the format of the inserted references. refworks seem to misbehave when you do. I had to delete all reference in the document and then start to re-insert them from scratch. now the format is the very last thing I do when handing in a paper.

      • Whit says:

        Hi Nikolas,
        That is correct for RefWorks and is true for all reference managers. What follows is written for RefWOrks but is true for EndNote, Zotero, Mendeley and others.
        Good general rules:

        If you notice errors in your reference list at the end of the paper, edit those in the RefWorks app and “update document” in the RefWorks “pane” in your Word document. Never correct in the Word document itself.

        It does not matter when you add your reference list as long as you don’t attempt to edit there. You can lower your chances of messing things up in Word by waiting to add the reference list until you are ready to finish your paper.

        If you wish to remove a reference, work in the in-text citations in the text of your Word document. This will prevent you from accidentally corrupting the formatting that RefWorks adds to the document.

        • Daniel Holmes says:

          Hi Whit,
          This has happened to me, and I no longer seem to be able to be able to transfer my citations into my text. In fact, I can’t even see any of my references in the citation manager. It just states

          “Unfortunately Word has misbehaved and we couldn’t update some of your citations” as the others have mentioned.

          They are all in the online page – how can this be reset so I can see it in my word document?

          As it seems to be a very common problem, perhaps there should be a fix made available for all to see?



          • Whit says:

            Hi Dan,
            I am sure RefWorks is aware of this problem, but I have not seen a solution from them.
            Here is what I do at my university when helping folks that come to our library. I make sure they have their Office fully updated. I make them restart their computer and then examine the RefWorks addin in Word. If still misbehaving, I have them log out and log back into their RW account in the Word addin. If no success I then have them Update Document 2-3 times. If no success I move on to the steps mentioned on the accompanying image. If none of that works it is time to to contact ProQuest (the parent company of RW). Best of luck, Whit

  9. ninalykin says:

    I am having the same problem as user backwardsbaseballcap when installing the add-on, it says i need to log in. So, I log in and then nothing happens and the add on isn’t installed. I am using Mac OS 10.12.6 and Word 2016

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