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RefWorks: In-Depth Help: Creating a Table

If you want to learn how to use RefWorks on your own, this guide has all the info you need.

Before Setup

This method is a result of a specifc output from RefWorks records which have content in the user notes and are processed through a custom "bibliography." This output is then quickly manipulated in your word processing program to turn it into full table form.

The table option is a custom Refworks Bibliography style.
A good table may take a little planning.

Think about what data is needed in the table.
What should be in the table? 
What should the Column Labels be?

My example includes --Author (date) --Objectives --Methodology --Ressults --Conclusions.
Yours can be anything that you want.

The final table will have as many rows as the number of records you send for output (example, the  contents of a single folder).
The number of columns created depends on the number of User Notes you choose to fill.
Each row of the table will have the data from a single record.
Author (date) data will always fill the first cell of each row.
The notes you enter in the RefWorks record will populate the remaining cells.
The total number of columns in the final table is a result of the number of filled user notes - the Author(Date) plus the number of user notes of the record with the greatest number of filled notes.

While most people might presume RefWorks' 15 user notes means you can have a maximum of 16 columns (Author/date and the 15 user fields), there is a way to avoid this limitation. Since the output style is simply the author/date and the user notes separated by the @ symbol, if you use the @ symbol within the text of your user notes you will produce an extra column.

Go to to see the sample folder demonstrated here.
This sample folder contains 7 records. Six of these records have 4 filled user notes to reflect example table cell data. The seventh has the author field filled with a hyphen and the user note fields filled with the column header names in order to automatically generate the table header.

Try for an example of non-bibliographic descriptive data (geologic samples) to turn into a table. Data provided by James G. Collins with permission. 

1. Go to your RefWorks Account

Go to your RefWorks account.

If you do not already have one, and you have access to Refworks, create an account.
Contact your library or RefWorks directly for more information.

2. Re-label User Notes to Remember What Should Go in Specific Note Fields (only needs to be done once)

Before you start to add your notes you might want to change the labels of the User Fields so it easier to remember the kind of information you want and the sequence of this data.
You can also change the labels later but you may have to then carefully check all the previous records to be sure the data is in the correct locations for neater output.

BE AWARE, this will change these labels on all records in the specific account.

The 15 unchanged labels in EDIT view are User 1, User 2, through User 15.

At the top of the RefWorks screen, click on (A) Customize.

The Customize screen appears. Scroll down to and click on User Field Options.


When the expanded form displays, scroll to the bottom

Enter the names you would like.
My example: User 1 will become Objective, User 2 will become Method, and so on,

Click Save Customized Settings. When save is complete, close this box.

If you now go back to a record and view it in EDIT, the changed user notes have these new labels


3. Add User Note Content

Add records as needed and by the methods which are most comfortable for you.
NOTE: The final table will format strangely if the user names have hard returns (Enter key) in them. If the end-of-line must be used, I recommend a soft return (in Word, Shift-Enter) to deal with this issue.

For each record you already have in your account and want in your table,
enter the data you want in each cell by
opening the record in EDIT view.


Scroll down the Edit Reference box to click on the Additional Fields option.


Scroll down the expanded box to Enter the information you want in the desired fields.
Click Save Reference.


Continue this until all the records and data elements are complete.
Recommendation: Do not leave a needed User note empty, fill it with something like N/A.
      Empty notes will not be in the output and missing notes will disorder the contents of the table. 

If you want your table to automatically have a column headings, you will need to add an additional record using the References > Add New Reference function.
In this new record, enter a blank space and then a hyphen in the author field; in the appropriate user notes enter the column heading label you want. Save the record. The output sorts the records alphabetically and since this record begins with a Space-Hyphen, it will sort to the top and become the table header.

4. Creating the Table

Once you have saved the information in the User notes you can create your table.
NOTE: You can create a table any time during the Editing process. Once the records are saved, if you want to change the table contents, simply change the RefWorks records, save the changes and run the table again.

It is probably easier to have all the needed records in their own folder. Recall, a single record can be associated with multiple folders.
You could, alternatively, use the My List function as a temporary session folder.

In this example, there are 6 records with appropriate user notes in a folder called For Table.
The demonstrated word processing program is MS Word 2010.

At the top of the RefWorks screen, click on Bibliography and then Create.
When the Bibliography options page displays,

 Select Output Style --> Pinch Chart Setup 2 (Site specific Custom Output style name) (See endnote)


At File Type --> Select your appropriate word processor
At References to Include --> Select folder (if necessary)
Click Create Bibliography
       If word processor does not automatically open, click Click Here in Completed box.


Your word processing program opens.
It will have text, not a table on it.
   You may need to wA. Enable Editing


To turn this text into a table
  wB Select All


   then use wC. Insert for wD. Table
   From the Table menu, click on wE. Convert Text to Table.

wC, wD, wE

   At the conversion menu, within the wF. Separate text at section, select wG. Other and put an wH. @ in the box. Click wI.OK.

wF, wG, wH

The text will now be in a table format.


 wI.Change the content of the topmost row to your labels.


Check the contents to ensure that the cells are filled with the appropriate text.

Save the document if you wish.

Should you want the list of references below this table, run a regularly formatted bibliography from your RefWorks account and paste it below this table.


Example Table

ENDNOTE: The name of the custom output style is a local custom developed from Dr. Pinch in the article,
Pinch, W. J. (1995). Synthesis: Implementing a complex process. Nurse Educator, 20(1), 34-40.

Example Output Style in Edit Mode


This figure is made available merely as a model for individuals who may wish to modify their own Output style.



You can automatically upload the custom output style by clicking on this zip file link to download and saving the file.
Within your Refworks account use the References ---> Backup/Restore function.
To obtain the file, click on the link. Use Guest log on to save the zip file.
I have no idea what is in the zip file, other than I created it from a RefWorks account and save the file to another account. I can not open the file. I have no idea what password RefWorks put on it so I can not open it to see its content. I do know, however, that as of 3:00 p.m., March 16, 2011, that the restore done using this zipped file worked fine for me.

I cannot and do not accept any responsibility for any changes to your database.

Be sure to Include Output Styles --> Pinch Chart

"Using the Restore Feature:

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.)

  • From either the Tools or the References menu select Backup/Restore.

  • Select the Restore option.

  • Browse for the appropriate back up file.

  • Select Include References, Include Output Styles and/or Include RSS Feeds as desired.

  • Click on Perform Restore."

    Adapted from Backing Up and Restoring Your References. Retrieved from


Before Setup

1. Go to RefWorks Account 
2. Re-label User Notes
3. Add user notes

4. Create table 
     Put needed records in their own folder or use My List as temporary session folder.
Click Bibliography.
When the Bibliography options page displays, 
      Select, Output Style --> Pinch Chart Setup 2
         File Type to Create --> Your appropriate word processor
         References to Include 
            --> References from Folder 
            --> Your appropriate folder
      Click Create Bibliography.
      From Bibliography output page click Download It.

      It will have text, not a table on it.
         You may need to Enable Editing.
      Select All
         then Insert
à Table
à click Convert Text to Table
à Separate text at à Other à @
 Click OK.
Add labels to topmost row.
      Check the contents
      Save the document.



Page created by Helen Hough

University of Texas at Arlington
Central Library