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Introduction to RefWorks: Using Write-N-Cite 4 FAQs

Write-N-Cite 4 Frequently Asked Questions




Q. What is Write-N-Cite?

A.  Write-N-Cite is a utility that allows users to run an abbreviated version of RefWorks in Microsoft Word. You can access your references by folder (or sub-folder), by quick search or by all references with the ability to sort by author, title or year.

With Write-N-Cite, you can cite references in a manuscript with just a click and watch your paper format instantly including in-text citations, footnotes and your bibliography.  The utility installs a RefWorks tab in the MS Word ribbon or you can access it from the References tab in Microsoft Word.


Q. How do I use Write-N-Cite 4?

A.  You can find information on how to use Write-N-Cite 4 and watch helpful videos from our LibGuide page on Write-N-Cite 4.


Q. How do I install Write-N-Cite 4?

A. To download and install Write-N-Cite, you will need to download the proper version from within your RefWorks account. To access the Write-N-Cite download page, click on Tools, then select Write-N-Cite.



From the Write-N-Cite 4 download page, you will click to install the correct version of Write-N-Cite onto your computer. If you have the 32 bit version of Word installed on your computer, click to install the 32 bit version.


If you have the 64-bit version of Word installed on your computer, click to install the 64-bit version.

Q.  How do I know whether my version of Word on my computer is 32-bit or 64-bit?

A. You can check which bit version of Microsoft Word 2010 you are running by opening Word and navigating to File -> Help.  You will see a screenshot similar to the one below.  


Microsoft Word 2007 has only one version – the 32-bit edition.


Q. Can I still use the old version of Write-N-Cite?

A.  Write-N-Cite III is still available and supported. To install Write-N-Cite III, log in to your RefWorks account and click on Tools, Write-N-Cite. You will then click on the Previous Version link and click to install Write-N-Cite III.




Q. Does Write-N-Cite 4 work with Word 2003?

A. Write-N-Cite 4 does not work with Word 2003, however, you can use Write-N-Cite III or One Line/Cite View for format your paper.


Q. Does Write-N-Cite 4 work with Word 2007?

A.  Yes, Write-N-Cite 4 does work with Word 2007.


Q. Does Write-N-Cite 4 work with Word 2010?

A. Yes, Write-N-Cite 4 does work with Word 2010.


Q. Does Write-N-Cite 4 work with Word 2013?

A.  Yes.  Write-N-Cite 4 does work with Word 2013 but only locally installed versions (no cloud-based versions).  


Q. Does Write-N-Cite 4 work on Macs?

A. Write-N-Cite 4 for Macintosh is compatible with the following applications:

  • Microsoft Word for Mac 2008 and 2011

  • Mac OS X version 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion) , 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and 10.9 (Mavericks)

  • Write-N-Cite 2.5 for Macintosh is compatible with the following applications:

  • Microsoft Word for Mac 2004 and 2008

  • OS X version 10.3 (Panther), 10.4 (Tiger), 10.5 (Leopard) and 10.6 (Snow Leopard)

Q. Can I use RefWorks with Microsoft Word without installing Write-N-Cite?

A. Yes, you can use our One Line/Cite View method for inserting in-text citations or footnotes and creating your bibliography or you can create a simple reference list and copy and paste it as your bibliography.


Q. Are there other ways to use RefWorks to cite references?

A. Yes, besides using a version of Write-N-Cite to insert citations and format your paper, you can use an alternate option that works with any browser and any word processing software, called One Line/Cite View.  For more information on this feature, click here.


Q.  Can I work offline with Write-N–Cite 4?

A.  Yes, you can work offline with Write-N-Cite 4.   Just open Word and click the RefWorks tab.  You do not have to be connected to the internet or logged in to your RefWorks account.  Before you start, make sure you have downloaded or synced your references and output styles from your RefWorks account to your computer.  To sync your account, (make sure you are connected to the internet) launch Write-N-Cite 4 and log in to your account (or get an authorization code from within your RefWorks account on the Tools, Write-N-Cite 4 download page).  Once you are logged in to Write-N-Cite 4, click Sync My Database.   You can work on your paper while RefWorks is syncing.  


Tip:  You don’t need to log out of Write-N-Cite 4 to be working offline.  Write-N-Cite 4 is a desktop application so you are essentially “offline” when you use Write-N-Cite 4.


Q. How do I resize the Write-N-Cite 4 window?

A.  Currently the Write-N-Cite 4 window is not resizable.


Q. How do I uninstall Write-N-Cite 4?

On Windows machines, you will remove Write-N-Cite 4 via the Control Panel where programs and features are added and removed. This location may vary depending on your Windows version, but you will always access it via the Control Panel.

On Macs, remove the following by dragging each to the Trash or deleting them from the list shown.

In MS Word, select View and Customize Toolbars and Menus shown below (you may have to select the Toolbars entry on the View menu in MS Word 2011 to access Customize and Toolbars and Menus).


Close MS Word and open the Finder first select the Applications folder and following the path to the bundle file shown below.

The path will be either /Applications/Microsoft Office 2008/Office/Startup/Word/ or /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Startup/Word/ depending on the version installed.

Finally in the Finder select your user files denoted by the small house shown below and follow the path to the RefWorks folder and drag the entire folder to the Trash. The path will be <YOUR USER NAME>/Library/Application Support/RefWorks


Working with Write-N-Cite

Working with Write-N-Cite 4


Q. How do I convert my Documents from Write-N-Cite III to Write-N-Cite 4?

A. Write-N-Cite 4 will automatically convert documents created with Write-N-Cite III.


Q. How do I convert my Documents from Write-N-Cite 2.5 to Write-N-Cite 4?

A. Unformatted documents created in Write-N-Cite 2, must be manually converted.  To do this:

1. Open your document and click on the RefWorks tab in the Word ribbon to launch

Write-N-Cite 4.

2. Click on the Preferences area.

3. Click Convert.

4. Save your converted document. Conversions cannot be undone once you’ve saved your document.


Q. I have started using Write-N-Cite 4 but I can't see my reference list?

A.  To see your reference list, you need to “insert” it.  Make sure you select an output style first from the Style menu.  Then click on Bibliography options, Insert bibliography.   Write-N-Cite 4 will insert the bibliography wherever you have your cursor in your paper, so make sure it’s at the end of your document!


Q. I want to delete a reference that I put in my paper using Write-N-Cite 4.  How do I delete it?  

A.  In your word document, just highlight or click on the citation you wish to remove and use the delete key on your keyboard to remove it.


Q. How do I insert multiple references in the same citation using Write-N-Cite 4?

A.  In your Word document, place your cursor in the spot where you want the citation inserted.  Then, in Write-N-Cite 4, click on Insert Citation, Insert New.  

Click on a folder name or search for your citation.  Click on the reference you want to cite (the reference will turn blue).  To add a second reference in the same in-text citation, click the + sign (located in at the bottom of the window in the “Compose citation” area) and then locate and click on the next reference.  Click OK when you are done.  Write–N-Cite 4 automatically inserts the citations into your document.


Q. How do I edit a citation once I have inserted it into my document?

A. In Word click on or highlight the citation you wish to edit.  Double click on the highlighted citation.  Write-N-Cite 4 will launch the Insert/Edit citation window.  Make sure the citation you wish to edit is highlighted in the Compose citation section of the window.  Use the options for editing as needed (adding text, adding a page number, suppressing author names, etc.).


Q. I don’t see the output style I need in Write-N-Cite 4.  How do I add it?

A.  You will need to log in to your RefWorks account and go to the Output Style Manager.  For instructions on how to add an output style to your list of styles, click here.  Once you have added the style to your Favorites list, you can go back into Write-N-Cite 4.  You will need to sync your database so the new style shows up in Write-N-Cite 4.  Click the Sync My Database button to download the newly added style.



Once your database has synced, you should now see it in your Style list.


Q. I customized my output style and I do not see those changes when I format my paper?

A. If you have made any changes to an output style, you will need to re-sync your RefWorks database in order for the changes to be seen. To do this, in Write-N-Cite 4, click on the Sync My Database button.



After the sync is complete, click Reapply Output Style.


Q. How do I change the output style I already used in my paper?

A.  Write-N-Cite 4 allows you to format your single paper in multiple output styles.  First, make sure you save a copy of the paper with the first output style you need.  Then, select the new style from the Style menu. Once you have selected the new style, click on the Reapply Output Style button.


Q. Where are my data files located?

In Windows XP the file directory for the database files are located in C:\Documents and Settings\<User Name>\Local Settings\Application Data.  

In Windows 7/8 the file directory for the database files are located in C:\Users\<User Name>\AppData\Local.

You may need to show hidden files within your file options. To show hidden files on your computer go to the Tools menu in Windows and select Folder Options.  Make sure this radio button is checked under the View tab

On the Mac, the path will be <YOUR USER NAME>/Library/Application Support/RefWorks


Q. How do I change the Write-N-Cite 4 interface to another language?

A. In order to change the Write-N-Cite 4 interface into another language, you will click on the Preferences button.



You will then click the Language Preference menu to change to the language of your choice.


Logging In

Logging In


Q. How do I log in to Write-N-Cite 4 with my Institutional (Athens or Shibboleth) credentials?

A.  You need to use the Write-N-Cite 4 login code which you can get from within your RefWorks account by going to Tools, Write-N-Cite (do not try to enter a group code/login name or password).

The login code will identify you and link Write-N-Cite 4 with your RefWorks database for reference syncing.  If you are on your own personal computer, you do not need to log out of Write-N-Cite 4 and will not need additional authorization codes.  If you log out of Write-N-Cite 4, you will need a new log in code the next time you want to access your data in Write-N-Cite 4.

If you are on a public computer, make sure you log out of Write-N-Cite 4 and the next time you want to use Write-N-Cite 4 on another computer, you will need a new authorization code from the download page.

Downloading your references to a public computer renders them in a read-only mode.  No one can modify your data.  


Q. I do not know my Group Code Username or Password, how do I log in?

A. The group code may or may not be used for access to RefWorks by your institution. You will need to contact your local library staff for details on accessing their RefWorks subscription. If the group code is not used you will need to login to your account and go to Tools, Write-N-Cite and copy the Write-N-Cite 4 login code posted there.

Pasting this code into the Login Code text box provided in Write-N-Cite 4 will link it directly to your account without using your Institution’s group code.


Should you forget your RefWorks password, you can receive an email with a link to reset it.

1. Go to

2. Click Forgot Your Login Information?

3. Enter your email address.   


Note:  If you have multiple RefWorks accounts registered with the same email address, you will be prompted to select one from a list.

4. You will receive an email with a link to create a new RefWorks password.  

5. Follow the link to a page where you will enter, then re-enter, your new password.  A confirmation email will inform you that your password has been changed.  You can log in immediately with your new password.


In most cases your login name will be included in the password reset e-mail if for some reason it is not included please contact RefWorks support at and we will e-mail it to you.


Q. Where can I find my log-in code?

A. The login code for Athens, Shibboleth, and Proxy users can be found via the Tools menu on the Write-N-Cite download page in your account.  Please keep in mind this code changes and will need to be re-entered if you log out of Write-N-Cite 4.


Q. Where can I find this "Group Code"?

A.  Institutions who use the Group Code to provide off campus or out-of-network access to RefWorks will provide this information usually in your welcome email when you first created your account.  If you do not have this email, check with your library staff.  If you are still unable to find your Group Code contact Technical Services via email ( or by telephone (+1.800-521-0600 ext. 74440 or +1.734-997-4440).

Troubleshooting and Errors

Troubleshooting and Errors


Q. Write-N-Cite 4 is giving me an error. What do I do?

A. Depending on the error and the version of Write-N-Cite 4 in use, Technical Services ( can provide solutions to most errors.


Some issues are resolved by simply restarting the computer, saving a Word file to the DOC file format, or by clearing the cache and cookies of the MS Internet Explorer or Safari browser used by older versions of Write-N-Cite 4.


Q.  I’ve been using Write-N-Cite 4 and all of a sudden the tab disappeared.  Help?

A. When you find your Write-N-Cite 4 has become inactive, you will first access the Word Options via the Office button (this is called Options in MS Word 2010) as shown below.


From the resulting page you will select to Manage COM Add-ins and select the Go button:



The following panel will look similar to this and may or may not have more entries.



If you find Write-N-Cite 4 listed as disabled, you will follow the same steps listed above but rather select to Manage Disabled Items and select the Go button:


Although not shown below, you will select Write-N-Cite 4 from the list of disabled items and select the Enable button below:



It is not necessary to open and close MS Word after either of these sets of steps. The change should take effect immediately.


Q. I installed Write-N-Cite 4 but it's not showing up in the toolbar. What do I do?

A. Please make sure you have updated your operating system and your installation of MS Office with all updates and patches available. Also make sure your installation of Java is updated as well by visiting here –


Q. Why am I getting the error message "Unable to create trace log listener. Tracing will be disabled” when I open Word?

A. This issue is particular to Windows machines. We hope to eliminate it in a new build of Write-N-Cite 4.

If you see this error you may modify a Write-N-Cite 4 file that may be the cause of the problem. That file, WriteNCite4.dll.config, can be found in the Write-N-Cite folder located at C:\Program Files\RefWorks-COS\Write-N-Cite\.

Open this file in a text editor (Notepad) and search for TracingEnabled and change <value>True</value> to <value>False</value>.

Save the file, quit and open Word again to see the length of time needed to start WNC again.

The XML snippet would look like -



        <setting name="TracingEnabled" serializeAs="String">



        <setting name="Test" serializeAs="String">



        <setting name="TraceLogPath" serializeAs="String">





Please make a backup of original file before making any changes.

Also to verify that changes didn't invalidate the xml (after you change and save the file), open it in a browser to confirm that you see XML content without any error. Generally you open a browser and type file:///C:/Program%20Files/RefWorks-COS/Write-N-Cite/WriteNCite4.dll.config or file:///C:/Program%20Files%20(x86)/RefWorks-COS/Write-N-Cite/writencite4.dll.config


Q. My toolbar is not working. Why is everything greyed out?

A. When the toolbar is not showing it may be because the user has logged out of Write-N-Cite 4 or they do not have the proper permissions to install software to MS Word, which can be a separate consideration from simply having Administrative rights on a computer. Please consult your IT Help Desk or computer manufacturer to ensure you have the proper rights assigned or can get assistance in reinstalling Write-N-Cite 4.


Q.  I have successfully installed Write-N-Cite 4 on my Mac but I can’t find the toolbar?

A. You will want to Control+Click with your mouse in an empty area near your toolbars and select the Write-N-Cite toolbar from the menu that should appear there:

The Write-N-Cite 4 toolbar will then appear looking like this:

If the toolbar is still not present, it is necessary to make sure Write-N-Cite installed in the proper folder in MS Word. Please perform a search for the file Write-N-Cite Word 2011.bundle. Once found, please use the attached to relocate the file to the Start folder where it should reside.

With MS Word open please select Preferences

Select File Locations

The select the Startup entry under the File Types column and then the Modify button

Next browse to the Word Startup folder located on the hard drive and select the Choose button as shown below to select the Word Startup folder. The path will be either /Applications/Microsoft Office 2008/Office/Startup/Word/ or /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Office/Startup/Word/ depending on the version installed.

Close all panels and restart MS Word.


Q. I got the error message of "Object reference not set to an instance of an object" when I put a reference. What does this mean? Is this a bug?

A. This message is shown in most cases when the user has not selected an output style in Write-N-Cite 4 as their default style. To fix this, the user will want to access the Style menu and make a selection. It may be necessary to also log out and log back into Write-N-Cite 4 before you are able to make a selection from the output style menu.