Writing Your Paper Offline

There are several ways you can work on a paper offline using RefWorks:

Using Write-N-Cite 4 Offline:

Write-N-Cite 4 works the same whether you are online or offline.   There is no difference in functionality except you will lack the ability to sync Write-N-Cite with your RefWorks account when you are offline.

To learn how to use Write-N-Cite 4, click here.

Using Write-N-Cite III for Windows Offline:

Write-N-Cite III has a feature that allows you to download your references to a computer and access those references to use while writing your paper.  In addition to being able to view the references and insert temporary citation placeholders, Write-N-Cite III allows you to format a bibliography in the style of your choice while being offline.

Write-N-Cite III offline functions the same as if you were online.  Regardless of whether you are online or not, you cannot add, edit or delete references in your account.  You need to log in to your RefWorks database to perform those functions.

Downloading Your RefWorks Account To Work Offline:

  1. Launch Write-N-Cite III and log in.  You must be online in order to download your RefWorks database.  Once the data is downloaded you can then user Write-N-Cite III offline.

  2. From the Write-N-Cite III Tools menu, select Create/Update Offline Database.

  3. Click the Create button.

  4. Your data is downloaded.  

  1. Click the Work Offline checkbox to work offline.

Should you wish to back up your offline database, it is stored locally on your computer in the My Documents area (c://.../mydocuments/refworks/rwdeskdb.mdb).

The offline feature of Write-N-Cite III is configured to use the local port 8070 as the default.  If for some reason, you need to change the port, you will need to edit the WNCConnect.ini file which can be located in the RefWorks folder of the Program Files area.

To change the default offline port:

  1. Open the WNCConnect.ini file

  2. At the end of the file, add this statement:


Example:  to change the default port of 8070 to a new port of 8071, the statement would be:


  1. Select File, Save As to save your changes.

Logging in to Write-N-Cite III Offline:

  1. Launch Write-N-Cite III.

  2. Click the Work Offline checkbox to work offline.  

Using Write-N-Cite III Offline:

  1. Once you have downloaded your references following the instructions above, you can use Write-N-Cite III as you would if you were online.  Launch Write-N-Cite for Windows from within Word by clicking the toolbar button or by selecting Write-N-Cite from the Tools menu. You can also launch the program from the Write-N-Cite icon on your desktop or by clicking the Start menu and selecting RefWorks from All Programs. If you launch the program from the desktop icon, it automatically opens a copy of Word.  

  1. When the login dialog box appears, enter your user name and password and click Login.

  2. Click the box next to Always on Top to keep Write-N-Cite III on top of all other programs including Word. Also, notice that the name of the Word document that is active in RefWorks is written next to MS Word Status.

  3. Make sure the Work Offline checkbox is marked.

  4. Write-N-Cite III provides only the essential items to allow more viewing area for your references.

- Convert to WNC III Document:  Takes a document created with a previous version of Write-N-Cite and adds the Microsoft Word field codes to make it compatible with Write-N-Cite III (beta).

- Display Unformatted Citations:  Changes formatted in-text citations and/or footnotes and reverts them to temporary citation placeholders. The bibliography and endnote formatting remains displayed in the document. This does not remove field codes.

- Revert to WNC v.2 Document:  Takes a WNC III document and removes all field codes and replaces them with traditional temporary citation placeholders.  Also removes bibliography and endnote formatting.  This feature is useful if you want to share your unformatted document with a Mac WNC users or with a Windows WNC v.2 user.

If you want to format your bibliography directly from the RefWorks Bibliography area, you must revert your document to this format.

- Create/Update Offline Database:  Allows you to download a copy of your RefWorks account for offline use.   Works only when you are online and logged into Write-N-Cite III for Windows.  

-  Remove Field Codes:  This tool removes all coding from your document when you are ready to submit.

Before you start this process -- we strongly recommend you save a copy of your document with a different name, as this option removes all field codes from your document and documents without field codes cannot be updated or reformatted with RefWorks.

- Language:  Allows you to change the language of the Write-N-Cite III interface.

Note:  To delete temporary citation placeholders from your paper you MUST use the Remove option from within the Citation Editor.  This is the only way to fully remove the coding stored in MS Word.

Note:  You may have the full version of RefWorks open at the same time you have Write-N-Cite open. If you make edits in RefWorks be sure to refresh Write-N-Cite (which you can do by changing the view) to reflect the edits.

Citing References

  1. From your Word Processor, click the insertion point (the point where you want the reference inserted).

  2. Switch to Write-N-Cite III and click the Cite link next to the correct reference.

Write-N-Cite III automatically inserts the opening and closing curly brackets as well as the Ref ID, Author Last Name and Year.  This is called a Temporary Citation Placeholder and it is what RefWorks reads when formatting your paper.  It is not what your final citation will look like.

  1. If you want to modify or remove information that will appear in the formatted citation, click on the Edit Citation link in the upper right-hand corner of the Write-N-Cite window.  

  2. To cite a second reference in the same location, click the Cite link for the second reference. The reference information is automatically inserted in the same set of curly brackets.

Editing Citations

The Edit Citation link launches the Citation editor which allows you to:

- preview your reference (and any modifications you make) in an output style of your choice

- modify how your citation will appear in-text or in a footnote by

When you make any changes using the Citation Editor, your temporary citation placeholder (the temporary citation used by RefWorks to read and format your paper) will appear like this:

Before using the Citation Editor:  

{{14578 Babcock, L.E. 1988; }}

After using the Citation Editor to add a page number and text:  

{{14578 Babcock, L.E. 1988/p text before / f text after; }}

When you use the Citation Editor, you will see some coding inserted in your temporary citation placeholder.  This coding (also called “switches”) tells RefWorks to do the action you specified.  This coding is removed when your paper is formatted.  Click here for detailed information on in-text switches.

Note:  Make sure you “save to Word” any changes you make using the Citation Editor.

To edit an existing temporary citation placeholder, in Word, place your cursor within the double curly brackets of the temporary citation placeholder you wish to modify.  The Edit Citation link will display in Write-N-Cite III and you can make any edits you desire.  

Important:  To remove a temporary citation placeholder from your paper, click on the Remove link to the left of the citation from the preview window in the Citation Editor and then the Save to Word button.  You can also use the Up and Down links to change the order of your placeholders.  Please note that the Output Style may override any  order changes you make here.

Creating a Bibliography Offline with Write-N-Cite III

  1. Click Bibliography to generate the formatted paper.

  2. Select the correct Output Style and select Create Bibliography.

    You do not need to select the file since Write-N-Cite is already linked to the current document. The program formats your document with the in-text citations (or footnotes) and the bibliography.   

  3. If you want to revise your paper and add additional temporary citation placeholders you do NOT need to unformat your document.  Simply add the new temporary citation placeholders to the appropriate spot(s) in the paper  and re-format your paper.  Your newly added placeholders will be formatted and the bibliography will be updated.  

Working Offline With An Exported List of References

  1. Log in to your RefWorks account to export the references you wish to use offline.

  2. Select References, Export (or right -mouse click on the Selection Options). Click here for export instructions.

  3. Choose Selected, Page or All in List.

  4. Select Citation List as the Export Format.

  5. Click Export.

  6. A new window will open with a citation list.  This list is a compact list for printing that includes the REF ID, Authors, Title and Pub Year fields.  Copy the list into a document and print it.

  7. Log-out of RefWorks.

  8. Select the spot in your paper where you want to insert citations.

  9. Enter an in-text citation placeholder by using two open curly brackets {{ followed by a reference ID number followed by two close curly brackets }}. For example:

    {{34}} for Ref ID number 34.

  10. For multiple citations in the same location, separate the Ref ID numbers with semicolons:

    {{34;45;23}} The first Ref ID number must immediately follow the {{ for it to be located.

    Note:  Temporary citation placeholders may also include additional information such as an Author's last name. This information is removed when the paper is processed. For example:

    {{34 Adams 2001;45 Jones;54 Smiths observations}}

  11. Save your paper when finished.

  12. To format your bibliography, log in to RefWorks.

  13. Select Bibliography, Format Document from the toolbar.

  14. Select the desired output style.

  15. Drag and drop the paper into the box or click select a file to browse to find your paper. (Note:  This does not work IE - you will need to browse to locate your paper).

Note:  Your paper must be saved as a .doc, .docx, .odt or .rtf file in order for RefWorks to be able to read and format it.

  1. Save your formatted document using File, Save.  Make any changes in your draft document and use that to re-format.  Do not make changes in an already formatted document.