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RefWorks (ProQuest)

Common problems in RefWorks

Clear cookies and Cache

If you encounter problems with RefWorks, try these tips:

  • Change your browser: Chrome or Firefox generally work best
  • Remove cookies/third-party cookies, ad blockers and browser add-ons (find these options in your browser settings)
  • Check your pop-up blocker settings
  • Clear your cache (find this option in your browser settings) or reload your page by holding down CTRL + F5




Why is RefWorks running so slowly?

If RefWorks is running slowly you can check for any current issues by going to:

  • Multiple services are listed here, scroll down to New RefWorks CR01.

Why am I experiencing issues with Internet Explorer 11?

RefWorks will discontinue certification of Internet Explorer 11 as of 1st July 2021. This follows the recommendation from Microsoft and the increasing move of IE11 users to Microsoft Edge or other preferred, faster browser options.  RefWorks will continue to support: Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome.

What do I need to know about Internet Explorer 11 end of certification?

  • RefWorks will not stop working in IE11 on July 2, 2021, however RefWorks will no longer fix any bugs specific to IE11 or test new features on IE11. Over time usability is expected to diminish.
  • RefWorks will still test RefWorks Citation Manager and Write-n-Cite with IE11.

Windows 7 Support Ending

What do I need to know about Windows 7 end of support?

RefWorks writing tool add-ons will not stop working with Windows 7 on July 2, 2021, however RefWorks will no longer fix any bugs specific to Windows 7 or test new features on Windows 7. 


RefWorks writing tool add-ons will continue to support Windows 8 and 10. 

Why is RefWorks just spinning when generating a bibliography?

When creating your bibliography/reference list if you get a continuing spinning wheel consider:

  • Changing your browser (RefWorks works best in Chrome).
  • Clear your cookies, in Chrome go to Settings, click on Advanced Settings and scroll down to Clear browsing data.  You can then clear the cookies by selecting Cookies and other site data and clicking Clear Data.
  • If the problems continues contact the library via


spinning wheel



Why in my reference list, are the line breaks not correct?

If your reference list splitting your references mid-word (see example below) stop using Internet Explorer and change to Chrome or Firefox. 


Why I am having trouble inserting extra references in my Word document?

There are many reasons why the citation tools, WNC and RCM, encounter errors. Using Track changes and other formatting or coding seem to adversely affect their performance.

If you encounter issues continuing to add citations using these tools:

  • remove the last citation you added, save the document and quit Word. Re-open Word and try inserting the citation again. If you get the same error, proceed to the next to last citation you added, delete it and then save your document, quit Word, and then reopen and try adding it again.
  • If this still does not work after several attempts, you may want to remove any document templates, tables, images and tables of content from the document and see if it will work once these coded areas have been removed. 

Why does RCM keep crashing?

RefWorks Citation Manager sometimes crashes in the middle of creating a Word document.

This can occur if you are adding formatting to your document or using the Review Screen or Track Changes.

If this happens:

  • remove the app, re-insert it and then log back in
  • use the Clear Cache feature in the side-bar

RefWorks Citation Manager works best with text-based documents rather than those with tables/images and complex formatting or styles.

Error message when signing into RCM


Error message on RCM on Word:

 'Sorry, we are unable to submit your request. Please contact support or try again later.'



Check your  RefWorks password doesn't contain a special character, if it does change your  RefWorks password to alphanumeric only



Why can’t I log in to Write-N-Cite (WNC)?

Some students have experienced issues logging in to Write-N-Cite (WNC) even though it is installed and displaying on their Word ribbon.  It won’t let them login using their Solent email address and selected password and generates error messages.  Using the alternative Institution login doesn’t work either as it doesn’t display any universities to select.

To resolve this and get WNC to work:

  • Ensure you have at least IE9 or later installed – even if you do not use IE as your browser (otherwise WNC will not work).
  • Make sure Windows, Word, Internet Explorer and Java are all up to date.

If updating these does not resolve the problem, please contact the Library for further support as you may need to delete the PQ working files.

Why is WnC not syncing


Write and Cite database is not syncing in Word.


The latest version  of Write and Cite has not been installed

Please  update to the latest version, available in the Tools section of RefWorks and here.

If using a university machine, log out and log in again, this should clear the problem.


Why is my Word document in Review Mode only? WnC

Refworks settingWhen using Write-N-Cite (WNC) Word can get stuck in Review Mode, this is likely due to a login issue relating to Shibboleth.  You can create a separate password to use with your RefWorks account that will correct the fault.

  • To create a separate password in your RefWorks account, click on your name and then select settings 
  • Scroll down to Alternate Password to create an alternate password. 

You will then be able to login to RefWorks and WNC with your university email and new password.

Why can’t I see the RefWorks tab for WnC in Word?

If the RefWorks WNC tab disappears from your Word document it is likely the add-in has become disabled.  You will need to reactivate this within Word.

  • Go to the File tab and select Options,
  • Select the Add-in tab and check if your Write-n-cite add-in has been disabled.
  • If disabled, select Write-N-Cite and click Manage and reactivate the tab.

The Word Options pop-up, with the add-ins tab highlighted

Deleting PQ files

If you need to delete PQ files (this may help with issues around logging into Write-N-Cite):

  • Firstly, close Word.
  • The PQ files in Windows 7, 8 and 10 are located in C:/Users/%UserName%\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 the radio button (Show Hidden Files and Folders) is checked under the View tab.
  • Delete all of the files starting with PQ.

For more information, see this tutorial on cleaning up files created by WnC.



If your references are not copying into InDesign correctly, first copy them into a Word document and from there copy them into a blank new page in InDesign. 

If the formatting does not copy across correctly you can change this setting in InDesign by pressing Command K you can access the Preferences Dialog Box, select Clipboard handling and then change Paste option to All Information.

 Preferences Dialog Box with Clipboard handling and All Information highlighted

Why is my reference from a PDF wrong or not loaded?

Sometimes RefWorks cannot read PDF files if they are not formatted properly.  

If your reference, generated from a PDF, is incorrect, you can:

  • edit it manually
  • match the title or DOI using the blue flash button
  • import the citation from a library resource or Google Scholar

PDF items that are not journal articles are unlikely to generate correct references when dragged and dropped into RefWorks.

RCM Not Working After Office 365 Update

If you need to re-install Reference Citation Manager - commonly after an Office 365 update has caused it to fail.  Follow these instructions.  Note you are advised to be logged into Word and you must be logged into your Office account

Instructions :


Insert -> Get Add-ins -> Admin Managed -> RefWorks Citation Manager -> Add

When you first open Get Add-ins it will say unavailable, but if you then switch to Admin Managed it should list citation manager.

If the button is grey out, then may need to check their privacy settings. From word:

File -> Account -> Account Privacy Manage Settings -> Tick “Turn on optional connected experiences”



RCM is hanging when I insert an in-text reference


RCM users on devices linked to Solent (e.g. on campus computers) may experience an issue with RCM hanging when inserting a reference.  If you login to RCM each time you open Word it may prevent the issue occurring but if you do experience it, please try the steps below.

If RCM hangs when you try and insert a reference you can try a couple of options to fix it:

  1. Close the RCM panel within Word and then re-open it by clicking on RCM in the Word ribbon.  Then insert another reference - this should force existing references to format and continue to format others you add.


  2. Select a different output style (such as APA) and click update.  Then change the output style back to Harvard Solent.  This should format existing references and continue to format others you add.

You can insert a reference list by copying and pasting references from your RefWorks account instead if needed.