RefME: The Best Reference Generator Around & it’s Free!

With more and more reference generators starting to charge money for premium versions and providing less and less features on those free versions I sought to find a better solution for our students. By far the best one I found was RefME. 

Favourite Features:

1) Syncs your saved references to all your devices (Android phone app,iPhone, iPad, Chrome Browser extension, from the website itself)

2) Scan barcodes! As a librarian I was thrilled with this feature – fastest way to create print material citations – works with ISBN, ISSN

3) FAST – I love the Chrome extension version, click on the extension on any webpage and viola! Reference generated

4) Huge variety of citation styles (7000+) and formats (30+) available – FREE

5) Export feature allows you to quickly export citations to multiple other apps, Word doc, simple copy & pasting is made easier

6) Import feature – awesome for saving time when you want to keep all your references in one place – for example, if you started creating a reference list on a Word Doc, you can import them quickly to keep them organized and without losing formatting

7) Easy Collaboration – Group Work feature that allows you to add others to your project to keep all references in one place 🙂

8) Flexibility – Need your students to add the URL to citations? Or don’t want your students to? RefME allows for both, easily

9) Educator’s Toolkit is available  – request one!

Quick Tutorial (browser version):

1. Sign up! Easy…


2. You’re ready to go! Create a project on the left by clicking Add Project, Click Select Style to choose from over 7000 citation styles and then get started by clicking +Create Reference


3. From the +Create Reference Page it’s very easy to choose the format of the item you need to generate a reference for.

Website: copy and paste or type in URL

Book: Use DOI (excellent for citing journal articles!), title, author, ISBN (can scan a book from a scanner hooked up to your computer), URL

Journal: Title, author, URL, DOI

Video: Title or URL

or Choose More — many formats available (see Format Options (extensive!) below)


Enter Manually

This let’s you type in all the information yourself. Great for providing a framework for students.


4. Choose your citation style by typing in the name and then selecting from the multitude of choices. They highlight the most common version that is the most current (i.e. below the 7th edition of MLA is highlighted, APA, Chicago, Harvard, etc. all highlight the most current standard version so it’s easy to ensure you’re using the most recent edition).


Excellent for IBDP (International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) students who need to add a URL to citations for their EEs (extended essays). RefME allows you to choose between adding the URL to the citation or not, for example:


5. Add notes – you can highlight text from webpages, or manually type it in and save it with the citation for later use!



6. Finished? Export feature is fantastic! Save the formatting, don’t risk losing italics or underlining when copying and pasting from different software.


Android App version:

The Android app version was very quick and easy to use. It synced well with my browser version. Great for working in the library. I can quickly scan barcodes, find quotes or information that I need and put the book back without worrying about needing another detail.

iPad app version:

No real notable differences in usage. Easy, scanning barcodes worked without a problem 🙂

Format Options (extensive!): 

·       Artwork

·       Blog Post

·       Book

·       Book Chapter

·       Book Review

·       Classical Work

·       Conference Paper

·       Dictionary Entry

·       E-Book

·       Encyclopedia Entry

·       Figure

·       Film/Movie (DVD, Etc.)

·       Gazette

·       Hearing

·       Interview

·       Journal Article

·       Legal Bill

·       Legal Case

·       Legislation (Act / Statute)

·       Magazine Article

·       Manuscript

·       Map

·       Musical Score

·       News Article

·       Pamphlet

·       Patent

·       Periodical

·       Personal Communication

·       Post

·       Regulation

·       Report

·       Review

·       Scientific Dataset

·       Song (CD, Etc.)

·       Speech

·       Standard

·       Thesis (Or Dissertation)

·       Treaty

·       TV/Radio Broadcast

·       Video

·       Webpage


Other Reference Generators that I’ve used (paid & free versions) with Students and why I’m no longer using them: now only allows you to use MLA for free and with the paid for version they have made significant changes in pricing that is leaving many schools questioning if it’s worth keeping anymore. Often confuses the date when websites are from countries that list dates in different orders (i.e. UK: day-month-year, USA: month-day-year, China: year-month-day). This leaves you with incorrect citations when any combination of these are mixed up.

NoodleTools is a great paid subscription option, but again it’s a paid for subscription. It does not offer as many citation styles and formats as RefME. Additionally, we had trouble with pages loading slowly (Note: our school is in China). We discontinued our school’s subscription.

Kendra Perkins




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