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Bibliography management in LaTeX

  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Basic usage
  • 3 The bibliography file
  • 4 Customizing the bibliography
  • 5 Adding the bibliography in the table of contents
  • 6 Reference guide
  • 7 Further reading


When it comes to bibliography-management packages, there are three main options in LaTeX: bibtex , natbib and biblatex .

This article explains how to use the biblatex package, to manage and format the bibliography in a LaTeX document. biblatex is a modern option for processing bibliography information, provides an easier and more flexible interface and a better language localization than the other two options.

A minimal working example of the biblatex package is shown below:


There are four bibliography-related commands in this example:

Overleaf provides several templates with pre-defined styles to manage bibliographies. See this link .  Open an example of the biblatex package in Overleaf

Basic usage

Several parameters can be passed to the package import command, as in the following example:


Some extra options, inside brackets and comma-separated, are added when importing biblatex :

The rest of the commands were explained in the introduction .

 Open a more complete biblatex example in Overleaf

The bibliography file

The bibliography files must have the standard bibtex syntax

This file contains records in a special format; for instance, the first bibliographic reference is defined by:

The information in this file can later be printed and referenced within a L a T e X document, as shown in the previous sections, with the command \addbibresource{sample.bib} . Not all the information in the .bib file will be displayed, it depends on the bibliography style set in the document.

Customizing the bibliography

Biblatex allows high customization of the bibliography section with little effort. It was mentioned that several citation styles and bibliography styles are available, and you can also create new ones. Another customization option is to change the default title of the bibliography section.


The additional parameter title={Whole bibliography} passed inside brackets to the command \printbibliography is the one that changes the title.

The bibliography can also be subdivided into sections based on different filters, for instance: print only references from the same author, the same journal or similar title. Below an example.


Here, the bibliography is divided in 4 sections. The syntax of the commands used here is explained below:

Adding the bibliography in the table of contents

For the bibliography the be printed in the table of contents an extra option must be passed to \printbibliography


A section and a subsection are added to the table of contents:

  • In the first case, adding heading=bibintoc adds the title to the table of contents as an unnumbered chapter if possible or as an unnumbered section otherwise.
  • The second case is heading=subbibintoc that adds the title as a second level entry in the table of contents, in this example as a subsection nested in "Whole bibliography".

Reference guide

Supported entry types

Supported entry fields (The printed information depends on the bibliography style)

Bibliography sorting options

For detailed information on these entries and options, see the package documentation.

Further reading

For more information see

  • Biblatex bibliography styles
  • Biblatex citation styles
  • Bibliography management with natbib
  • Bibliography management with bibtex
  • Creating and Managing Bibliographies with BibTeX on Overleaf
  • Biblatex package documentation
  • International language support
  • Table of contents
  • Management in a large project
  • Multi-file LaTeX projects
  • Documentation Home
  • Learn LaTeX in 30 minutes

Overleaf guides

  • Creating a document in Overleaf
  • Uploading a project
  • Copying a project
  • Creating a project from a template
  • Using the Overleaf project menu
  • Including images in Overleaf
  • Exporting your work from Overleaf
  • Working offline in Overleaf
  • Using Track Changes in Overleaf
  • Using bibliographies in Overleaf
  • Sharing your work with others
  • Using the History feature
  • Debugging Compilation timeout errors
  • How-to guides
  • Guide to Overleaf’s premium features

LaTeX Basics

  • Creating your first LaTeX document
  • Choosing a LaTeX Compiler
  • Paragraphs and new lines
  • Bold, italics and underlining


  • Mathematical expressions
  • Subscripts and superscripts
  • Brackets and Parentheses
  • Fractions and Binomials
  • Aligning equations
  • Spacing in math mode
  • Integrals, sums and limits
  • Display style in math mode
  • List of Greek letters and math symbols
  • Mathematical fonts
  • Using the Symbol Palette in Overleaf

Figures and tables

  • Inserting Images
  • Positioning Images and Tables
  • Lists of Tables and Figures
  • Drawing Diagrams Directly in LaTeX
  • TikZ package

References and Citations

  • Bibliography management with biblatex
  • Bibtex bibliography styles
  • Natbib bibliography styles
  • Natbib citation styles
  • Multilingual typesetting on Overleaf using polyglossia and fontspec
  • Multilingual typesetting on Overleaf using babel and fontspec
  • Quotations and quotation marks

Document structure

  • Sections and chapters
  • Cross referencing sections, equations and floats
  • Nomenclatures
  • Lengths in L a T e X
  • Headers and footers
  • Page numbering
  • Paragraph formatting
  • Line breaks and blank spaces
  • Text alignment
  • Page size and margins
  • Single sided and double sided documents
  • Multiple columns
  • Code listing
  • Code Highlighting with minted
  • Using colours in LaTeX
  • Margin notes
  • Font sizes, families, and styles
  • Font typefaces
  • Supporting modern fonts with X Ǝ L a T e X


  • Environments

Field specific

  • Theorems and proofs
  • Chemistry formulae
  • Feynman diagrams
  • Molecular orbital diagrams
  • Chess notation
  • Knitting patterns
  • CircuiTikz package
  • Pgfplots package
  • Typesetting exams in LaTeX
  • Attribute Value Matrices

Class files

  • Understanding packages and class files
  • List of packages and class files
  • Writing your own package
  • Writing your own class

Bibliography in latex with bibtex/biblatex, learn how to create a bibliography with bibtex and biblatex in a few simple steps. create references / citations and autogenerate footnotes., creating a .bib file, using bibtex.

  • Autogenerate footnotes with BibLaTeX
  • BibTeX Format

BibTeX Styles

  • New Post! Export Bibliographic Database (BibTeX) Entries from Online Databases

We have looked at many features of LaTeX so far and learned that many things are automated by LaTeX. There are functions to add a table of contents, lists of tables and figures and also several packages that allow us to generate a bibliography. I will describe how to use bibtex and biblatex (both external programs) to create the bibliography. At first we have to create a .bib file, which contains our bibliographic information.

A .bib file will contain the bibliographic information of our document. I will only give a simple example, since there are many tools to generate the entries automatically. I will not explain the structure of the file itself at this point, since i suggest using a bibtex generator (choose one from google). Our example will contain a single book and look like this:

If you don’t want to use a BibTeX generator or a reference management tool like Citavi (which generates BibTeX files automatically for you), you can find more examples of BibTeX formats here.

After creating the bibtex file, we have to tell LaTeX where to find our bibliographic database. For BibTeX this is not much different from printing the table of contents. We just need the commands \bibliography  which tells LaTeX the location of our .bib file and \bibliographystyle which selects one of various bibliographic styles.

By using this code, we will obtain something like this:


I named my .bib file lesson7a1.bib, note that I did not enter the .bib extension. For the style, I’ve choosen the ieeetr style, which is very common for my subject, but there are many more styles available. Which will change the way our references look like. The ieeetr style will mark citations with successive numbers such as [1] in this example. If I choose the style to apalike instead, i will get the following result:


Most editors will let you select, to run bibtex automatically on compilation. In TeXworks (MiKTeX) for example, this should be selected by default.


If you use a different editor, it can be necessary to execute the bibtex command manually. In a command prompt/shell simply run:

It is necessary to execute the pdflatex command, before the bibtex command, to tell bibtex what literature we cited in our paper. Afterwards the .bib file will be translated into the proper output for out references section. The next two steps merge the reference section with our LaTeX document and then assign successive numbers in the last step.

Autogenerate footnotes in \(\LaTeX\) using BibLaTeX

The abilities of BibTeX are limited to basic styles as depicted in the examples shown above. Sometimes it is necessary to cite all literature in footnotes and maintaining all of them by hand can be a frustrating task. At this point BibLaTeX kicks in and does the work for us. The syntax varies a bit from the first document. We now have to include the biblatex package and use the \autocite and \printbibliography  command. It is crucial to move the \bibliography{lesson7a1} statement to the preamble of our document:

The \autocite command generates the footnotes and we can enter a page number in the brackets \autocite[1]{DUMMY:1} will generate a footnote like this:


For BibLaTeX we have to choose the citation style on package inclusion with:

The backend=bibtex  part makes sure to use BibTeX instead of Biber as our backend, since Biber fails to work in some editors like TeXworks. It took me a while to figure out how to generate footnotes automatically, because the sources I found on the internet, didn’t mention this at all.

BibTeX Formats

This is not meant to be a comprehensive list of BibTeX formats, but rather give you an idea of how to cite various sources properly. If you’re interested in an extensive overview of all BibTeX formats, I suggest you to check out the resources on Wikibooks.


Inbook (specific pages)


This is a list of the formats that I have most commonly used. If you think some important format is missing here, please let me know.

Here’s a quick overview of some popular styles to use with BibTeX.


I’m trying to keep this list updated with other commonly used styles. If you’re missing something here, please let me know.

  • Generate a bibliography with BibTeX and BibLaTeX
  • First define a .bib file using: \bibliography{BIB_FILE_NAME} (do not add .bib)
  • For BibTeX put the \bibliography statement in your document , for BibLaTeX in the preamble
  • BibTeX  uses the \bibliographystyle command to set the citation style
  • BibLaTeX chooses the style as an option like:  \usepackage[backend=bibtex, style=verbose-trad2]{biblatex}
  • BibTeX uses the \cite command, while BibLaTeX uses the \autocite command
  • The \autocite command takes the page number as an option: \autocite[NUM]{}

Next Lesson: 08 Footnotes


Referencing, Citing, and Structuring Bibliographies

  • Referencing Styles
  • EndNote Basic
  • Using Zotero with LaTeX
  • Using Mendeley with LaTeX

What is Natbib?

The natbib package allows more flexibility in terms of citing and referencing styles, including Harvard style. Please see this video for more information:

My references are not appearing right - why?

Much time and effort can be saved by automatically generating BibTeX files through bulk export of multiple references either direct from databases or from reference management software. This automatic process may cause some issues and require you to tidy up the BibTeX files.

Here are some suggestions to help with this:

  • LaTeX special characters (e.g. $, %, &, \,) present in a BibTeX file can create problems during typesetting. To avoid this, all these characters should be prefixed with the ‘\’ character. Use a text editor such as Notepad or TeXworks to Find and Replace e.g. replace $ with \$
  • The BibTeX file is likely to contain extra fields of information not required for the actual reference. This information may pull through into the reference e.g. Notes field. It is recommended to remove this information from the BibTeX file
  • Retaining capitalization. Some bibliography styles strip out capitalization in fields such as the title field; this can be a problem if you want to preserve e.g. acronyms. To preserve capitalization, edit the BibTeX file and enclose the specific text (whole not partial words) in curly brackets:

e.g. title={Study of incompressible {MHD} flow in a circular pipe with transverse magnetic field using a spectral/finite element solver},

Thanks to Imperial College's guide for this information.

Citing and referencing in LaTex - using BibTeX

You can manage your references and bibliography in LaTex using the BibTex system. BibTex allows you to automatically generate and format a bibliography in a LaTeX document. You can do this by storing them in separate BibTeX database files (.bib extension). Advantages to doing this include:

  • Once stored in a BibTeX file, a reference can be re-used in future documents (you may choose to maintain one master or a series of BibTeX files)
  • Many databases and reference management software allows automatic export of reference details as BibTeX files

You can then use the following commands in your LaTeX document:

  • To insert a citation where  label  is the label of a bibliographic entry in a  .bib  file.
  • To insert a bibliography where  bibfilename  is the name of a  .bib  file.
  • To choose a BibTeX bibliographic style file with the extension  .bst .

There is a wealth of guides on how to do this available on the web, including LaTeX's own guide on bibliography management here .

This is also a really helpful guide on how BibTex works:  

  • LaTeX/Bibliography Management Wiki Book
  • Share LaTeX YouTube Channel

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  • Last Updated: Nov 22, 2023 10:38 AM
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bibliography book latex

Bibliography and Citations

Books build upon other books, just like scientific experiments build on other scientific experiments. Be it out of scientific accuracy, as a service to the interested reader, or out of gratitude, you should include references to your sources. Personally, I love to know the source of an author’s ideas.

In Word, there is no built-in way of managing a bibliography (other than manually writing each entry and referencing it in the text). You can check out plugins like Zotero ( ).

Zotero ⋅   Zotero is a plugin for Word (see ) which integrates into Word and your browser so you can fetch bibliographical information from the web and import it via a menu in Word.

In LaTeX , the support for a bibliography is inbuilt. All entries are saved in the file bibliography/english.bib . The file is structured as a list of entries of the format TYPE{id, title={ title }, author={ author }, year={year of release}, …} . While LaTeX allows special characters like colons to be used in the id field, I recommend using only lowercase characters and numbers. Besides the title and release year, an entry can have a number of different parameters depending on its type. The main types are:

  • @BOOK If the entry references a book, use this type. Additional entries are isbn , and publisher .
  • @ARTICLE Articles published in scientific journals have this type. Additional entries are journal , pages , and publisher .
  • @MISC Any other source (for example, websites or movies) falls under this category. Additional entries are url , and note . If you are referencing a website, add a note that contains something like “note = { [online; last accessed March 3rd, 2018] }” as the website’s contents might change. Ideally, keep a local copy of the website for yourself in case it vanishes. Please note that for the url field, include “http://” or “https://” at the front to make it a valid field.

Please note that Amazon prohibits the use of Amazon affiliate links within e-books.

The template is already set up to load the entries of bibliography/english.bib . With the following commands, you have access to all bibliographical entries within this file:

  • \citetitle{id} This command prints out the title specified in the corresponding entry in the bibliography. For example, \citetitle{BBWLtAW} writes the title of this book in italics: Better Books with LaTeX the Agile Way . In addition, it adds the title to the index of the book.
  • \cite{id} This command prints out the reference to the media and creates a link to the bibliography in the back matter.
  • \citep{id} This command is the same as above but puts parentheses around the reference.
  • \footcite{id} This command is the same as above but puts the citation into a footnote.

Concerning the citation itself, many different formats include a combination of year, title, and author. If you want to use a different format, check out the documentation at and make the corresponding changes in lib/bibliography.tex .

Bibliographical Information

To fill the bibliography with media you cite from, the most straightforward approach is to go to Amazon, search for the book or movie title, and copy the information (author, publisher, ISBN, etc.) manually into a new entry. If you are citing scientific articles, look for a button on a website that says something about exporting or downloading a citation in BibTeX . This way, you can download an already filled-out bibliographical entry and copy and paste it into your bibliography/english.bib library.

As an example, the BibTex entry for this book is:

@BOOK{ BBWLtAW,    author = { Lode, Clemens },    title = { Better Books with LaTeX the Agile Way},    keywords = { },    isbn = { 978-3-945586-48-8  },    publisher = { Clemens Lode Verlag e.K. },    year = { 2019 },    type = { Book },    subjects = { Publishing; Marketing; Project Management } }
"Science is a collaborative enterprise spanning the generations. When it allows us to see the far side of some new horizon, we remember those who prepared the way." —Carl Sagan, Cosmos: Blues for a Red Planet

Related Books and Services

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Recommended Further Reading

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Index Creation in LaTeX

About the author, clemens lode.

Hello! My name is Clemens and I am based in Düsseldorf, Germany. I’m an author of books on philosophy, science, and project management, and coach people to publish their books and improve their approach to leadership.

I like visiting the gym, learning to sing, observing animals, and creating videos on science and philosophy. I enjoy learning from nature and love the idea of optimizing systems.

In my youth, I was an active chess player reaching the national championship in Germany, and an active pen&paper player leading groups of adventurers on mental journeys. These activities align with my calm approach to moderating meetings, leading meetups, and focusing on details. My personality type in socionics is IEE/ENFp.

Clemens Lode

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bibliography book latex

BibTeX entry type: book

  • Example of a BibTeX book entry

BibTeX example of a whole book citation style abbrv

  • When to use the entry type book?

The book entry type is used to properly reference a book in BibTeX. You can use @book for any complete published work with a clearly defined publisher . In most cases, it is enough to provide the author, title, year, publisher, and address fields for BibTeX to generate a correct citation.

  • Complete list of fields for a BibTeX article entry

Below we provide a list of required and optional fields for the book type. There are also some non-standard fields that are only supported by some citation styles.

  • How to cite a chapter of a book?

Sometimes only a section of a book, such as a chapter, is used. If only a part of a book is used then a proper reference is typically accomplished using the inbook entry type. This is considered the recommended method.

  • How to cite an electronic book (e-book)?

In this technologically evolving world we live in today, electronic versions of books (or e-books) are becoming ever the more commonplace. To cite a book you have read online, it is possible to include the url within the note’s field. In order for this to work, however, it is necessary to include the \usepackage{url} command within the your LaTeX file. See example:

The more commonplace method is to use the non-standard field “url”. It’s note supported by all BibTeX styles, but for those that do it is the best solution. To verify if a style supports the “url” field, click here.

Introduction to BibTeX and the Book Type Entry

BibTeX is a bibliographic management tool commonly used with LaTeX documents. It helps authors manage their bibliographic references in a convenient and organized way, making it easy to cite sources and format the bibliography according to a specific style. In this post, we will focus on creating a "book" type entry in BibTeX.

What is a BibTeX Book Type Entry? ​

A BibTeX book type entry refers to a reference to a printed or electronic book. It includes information such as the author, title, publication year, publisher, and address. A book type entry can be created using the following BibTeX code:

How to Create a BibTeX Book Type Entry ​

  • Open your .bib file in a text editor. This file will contain all your BibTeX references.
  • Add the code shown above to create a new reference.
  • Replace "key" with a unique identifier for this reference, in curly braces. This identifier will be used to cite the book in your LaTeX document.
  • Replace "Author, A." with the name of the author(s).
  • Replace "2021" with the publication year.
  • Replace "Title of the Book" with the title of the book.
  • Replace "Publisher" with the name of the publisher.
  • Replace "Address of the Publisher" with the address of the publisher.
  • Save the .bib file and you're done!

Conclusion ​

Using BibTeX to manage your bibliographic references can make the process of writing and formatting a document much easier. By creating a book type entry, you can keep track of your sources and easily format your bibliography in a professional manner. Remember to use a unique identifier and to include all relevant information when creating a book type entry in BibTeX.

  • What is a BibTeX Book Type Entry?
  • How to Create a BibTeX Book Type Entry

Are you in search of a simple and cost-free online BibTeX manager?

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