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Reference Tools: 3. Reading and Annotating Documents

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Reading Documents in RefWorks

If you have followed best-practice, each reference in RefWorks should have a PDF attached to the reference entry, which allows you to read your documents on a web browser in case you are in the field or don't have access to your personal computer. 

To read and annotate in your browser, select the reference with the document and click the "Read" button in editing pane.  The full document or article will open in a new interface for you to read and annotate. If the item does not contain a document, the reference metadata will display.


You have several options, all of which can be found on the tool bar on the top of the page (icon function from left to right):

  • Return to your collection/project/folder
  • Zoom out or zoom in on the document for enhanced viewing
  • Print a copy of the document
  • Download a PDF version of the document to your computer
  • Highlight certain portions of the text (can be seen by collaborators)
  • Comment on the selected text (can be seen by collaborators)
  • Add notes to the document that you are viewing (can be seen by collaborators)
  • Edit the document reference data

Another feature is that RefWorks allow for collaborative annotation. You can read and access supported documents anywhere, with just a web browser. Note that if this is a shared PDF, collaborators will be able to view your highlights, comments, and notes in addition to the PDF version of the document.

Annotating Documents in RefWorks

You can annotate any of your own documents saved in RefWorks. You may be able to annotate documents shared with you if you have been given permission to annotate and/or modify the document. 

To annotate a document, select the reference with the document and click the "Read" button in the viewing pane. The document will display in the reader.   Click the Document Notes icon  from the reader menu and enter your notes. 

If you wish to make highlight areas of text, select the text area you wish to make a note for using the Highlight Selected Text icon and select words of text by clicking and dragging through the lines of text.

To remove highlighting, click the highlighted area until the delete option displays.  Click "Delete Conversation".

You may also click and drag using the Comment icon to highlight the text and associate a comment with it.

You can change the color of your note and the associated highlighted text, edit your note or you can delete your note completely by clicking on the three dots at the far right in the note.

A note indicator will also appear to the far right of the selected area and you may access the note in the manner as well. 

Once you type a note, it is automatically saved.