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Research Guides

Research Help @ ECSL

Using a Citation Manager: RefWorks & Google Docs

Be sure to follow these instructions, there is an older version of RefWorks and it does not work with Google Docs.

  1. You need to create an ProQuest Refworks Flow account.
  2. The instructions in this guide are for using ProQuest Refworks with Google DocsUse the menu below to jump to the information that you need. 
  3. IMPORTANT: Technology isn't perfect and it doesn't always work. Remember you are responsible for double checking that all the important citation information is there. Be sure to take a look the IEEE Style guide to make sure you have everything you need. 


RefWorks Menu

1) Getting Started: Setting up Refworks (incl Google Docs & Web Browser Add-ons)

Create your ProQuest RefWorks Flow Account: 

  1. Go to and click on "Create your account" below Sign-In window
    • Do not click on "Login with your institution's credentials", you will be using your UofT email 
  2. Enter your university email - this is a requirement (you cannot sign up with or another general email account)

  3. Authenticate your registration. You will receive an email with a link to complete the registration process. Once you've completed that step, you’ll get access immediately and can get started managing your documents.


Set up Refworks with Google Docs (Add-on for Google Docs)

  1. Open a blank document and select “Add-ons”, “Get Add-ons” and search for “ProQuest RefWorks”.
  2. Once you find it, just click on the “free” button on the right hand side to add it.          screen show highlighting the Free button                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
  3. You’ll be asked to “accept” certain conditions of using the add-on by clicking the "Allow Button"

                                      Screenshot of the Write-N-Cite permissions window


Set your Citation Style to IEEE in RefWorks for Google Docs 

For this project you will be using IEEE Citation Style so you will need to set up output style for your paper:

  1.  In the RefWorks pane in your document, click on the “options” icon  and select “Change citation style”        
  2. Type in IEEE in the search window, you will see a variety of IEEE styles (associated with different IEEE journals).
  3. Select citation style:  IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers


Additional Resources: 

ProQuest RefWorks Flow's help guide for Google Docs -

ProQuest RefWorks Flow's help guide for Microsoft Word


2) Collaborating with your Team Members

Share your document with anyone who has a RefWorks account and in addition to adding and editing text to your document, they can also add in-text citations and footnotes from their RefWorks account.  You can collaborate using the same set of references by sharing your RefWorks collection with your collaborators.  Read more about sharing a collection.

Note:  Anyone you share with can also delete in-text citations you included in your document however, they cannot delete references from your RefWorks account.

Share your document with someone who has a RefWorks account:

  1. Click the Share button in the upper right-hand corner. 
  2. The “Share settings” box will open with access to several options:
  3. Via the Advanced settings you can change the access setting if desired (the default setting is “specific people”).                                                         
  4. The Change link will allow you to modify how your document is shared.
  5. Enter the email addresses of the people you wish to share the document with.  If they do not have a RefWorks account, they will be asked to create one.


You can even collaborate using the same set of references by sharing your RefWorks collection with your collaborators.  Read more about sharing a collection.

Reminder:  Anyone you share with can also delete in-text citations you’ve included in your document, however, they cannot delete references from your RefWorks account.


3) Saving citations info to ProQuest RefWorks Flow

IMPORTANT: Technology isn't perfect and it doesn't always work. Remember you are responsible for double checking that all the important citation information is there. Take a look the IEEE Style guide to make sure you have everything you need. 

Save website or article info from the Web using "Save to RefWorks"

RefWorks has an easy to use tool that installs in any web browser called the Save to RefWorks button.  The Save to RefWorks button grabs information from any web page – in some cases the citation information (author, title, year, etc.) – and adds it to your RefWorks library.

  • To add the Save to RefWorks button to your browser, click on the More icon  
  • Select Tools and simply drag the Save to RefWorks button to your browser.  
  • Once you’ve installed it, go to any web page and click the Save to RefWorks button to capture the information.

screenshot of the Tools link from the drop down menu

You can save a set of search results or an individual article - the choice is yours.  You can easily edit metadata prior to importing into RefWorks.


Adding References Manually including Drag & Drop PDFs

To add an item to RefWorks, click the Add a reference icon  at the top of the page. If you plan on adding the item to an existing collection, click on the collection first, then click the Add a reference icon .

You'll have three options:

  • Upload document
  • Import references
  • Create new reference


screenshot of the plus sign button for adding document to Refworks


You can drag and drop a document (.pdf, .doc, etc.) directly into the Upload document box to upload an existing MS Office, Open Office or .pdf file from your computer. Only 1 document per item allowed. 

From the second option, you can also import a set of references from a text file in the formats offered.

  1. On the resulting page, you will able to click and drag the file onto the page to begin importing.
  2. Using Create new reference you can manually enter your bibliographic data or click and drag a file to be imported as well.
  3. Tip:  If you have multiple documents to add to RefWorks, you can select and drag them all at once. RefWorks will create separate items for each.

If you do not have a file to upload, simply populate the blank fields by typing in the necessary information. Once you have manually added your item using one of these options, click Save and your item will be added to your RefWorks library.


Uploading One or More Documents from your Computer with Drag & Drop

RefWorks makes it really easy to get documents into your computer – just drag and drop one or more files and RefWorks will do the rest!

If you want to add your documents to a specific collection, make sure you’re viewing the collection first, then drag and drop the file(s). If you’re dragging multiple files, RefWorks will create a separate item for each document. Otherwise, drag and drop documents in the All Documents view and you can file them in collections once they are uploaded.

screenshot of open folder with files over top refwork to show how to drag multiple files


If you’re not sure where the file is on your computer, you can also click the Add a reference icon , then click Import reference option and then use the box for drag and drop, or, to browse and search your computer.  


Screenshot of Import from a file pop up window


Note: This option allows you to upload only one document at a time.

If no reference information is provided, you can manually enter the information.  Make sure to click the Save button to save the reference information.

4) Using ProQuest RefWorks Flow in Google Docs (adding & deleting citations)

The following information is from ProQuest RefWorks Flow's help guide -

Opening RefWorks in Google Docs

  1. Start writing and when you are ready to insert your first citation, select “Add-ons”, “ProQuest RefWorks”, “Manage Citations ”. 
  2. If this is your first time using the RefWorks add-on, you’ll be asked to log in to your RefWorks account.  If you do not have a RefWorks account, see the first section on this page - Getting Started with Refworks.  Once you’ve logged in, you don’t need to log out unless you’re on a public computer.              
  3. The right-hand pane will change, defaulting to your RefWorks “All references” view. 


Adding & Deleting Citations

Work with a RefWorks collection of references (folder)

If you have a folder saved, you can set it up so you are just looking at the references saved in that folder. 

  1. Click on “All references” to see your list of collections.  
  2. Choose the collection with the references you need for your paper.  
  3. You can also use the “search” option to search for specific references.  The search options searches all fields. 


Adding In-Text Citations and reference list to Google Doc 

You can start writing your paper and when you are ready to cite a reference in RefWorks. 

  1. Click on the citation and click the “cite this” button.  The in-text citation will be inserted (using the last output style you used in RefWorks - See Getting Started and find Setting Citation Style to IEEE).
  2. Continue to add citations and watch your reference list / bibliography update right in front of you. 


Deleting or changing citations

  1. Highlight the citation you wish to delete and use the backspace key or delete key to remove it.
  2. Insert the new citation (if applicable).
  3. Click on the “options” icon  and select “Update document”.  Your document will refresh and the bibliography entry will be removed or updated (if you added a replacement citation).



Any additions, changes or deletions you make in your RefWorks account are automatically synched with the Google Docs Add-on but be sure to double check.