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bibtex - Man Page

make a bibliography for (La)TeX


bibtex [-min-crossrefs=number] [-terse] auxname[.aux]


This manual page is not meant to be exhaustive.  The complete documentation for this version of T E X can be found in the info file or manual Web2C: A TeX implementation.

BIBT E X reads the top-level auxiliary (.aux) file auxname that was output during the running of latex(1) or tex(1) and creates a bibliography (.bbl) file that will be incorporated into the document on subsequent runs of L s-2As0 T E X or T E X.

BIBT E X looks up, in bibliographic database (.bib) files specified by the \bibliography command, the entries specified by the \cite and \nocite commands in the L s-2As0 T E X or T E X source file. It formats the information from those entries according to instructions in a bibliography style (.bst) file (specified by the \bibliographystyle command, and it outputs the results to the .bbl file.

The L s-2As0 T E X manual explains what a L s-2As0 T E X source file must contain to work with BIBT E X. Appendix B of the manual describes the format of the .bib files. The `BIBT E Xing' document describes extensions and details of this format, and it gives other useful hints for using BIBT E X.


The -min-crossrefs option defines the minimum number of crossref required for automatic inclusion of the crossref base entry in the citation list; the default is two.  To avoid these automatic inclusions altogether, give this option a sufficiently large number, and be sure to remove any previous .aux and .bbl files.  Otherwise the option may appear to have no effect, since BIBT E X will have added the citation for the base entry to the .aux file, and nothing will remove it.

With the -terse option, BIBT E X operates silently.  Without it, a banner and progress reports are printed on stdout.


BIBT E X searches the directories in the path defined by the BSTINPUTS environment variable for .bst files. If BSTINPUTS is not set, it uses the system default. For .bib files, it uses the BIBINPUTS environment variable if that is set, otherwise the default. See tex(1) for the details of the searching.

If the environment variable TEXMFOUTPUT is set, BIBT E X attempts to put its output files in it, if they cannot be put in the current directory.  Again, see tex(1). No special searching is done for the .aux file.



Bibliography style files.


“BIBT E Xing” - L s-2As0 T E Xable documentation for general BIBT E X users


“Designing BIBT E X Styles” - L s-2As0 T E Xable documentation for style designers


database file for those two documents


database file giving examples of all standard entry types


template file and documentation for the standard styles

All those files should be available somewhere on your system.

The host math.utah.edu has a vast collection of .bib files available for anonymous ftp, including references for all the standard T E X books and a complete bibliography for TUGboat.

See Also

latex(1), tex(1).
Leslie Lamport, L s-2As0 T E X - A Document Preparation System, Addison-Wesley, 1985, ISBN 0-201-15790-X.


Oren Patashnik, Stanford University.  This man page describes the web2c version of BIBT E X.  Other ports of BIBT E X, such as Donald Knuth's version using the Sun Pascal compiler, do not have the same path searching implementation, or the command-line options.

Referenced By

bibtool(1), latexmk(1), linuxdoc(1), pbibtex(1), rubibtex(1), sgml2latex(1).

23 February 2018 bibtex 0.99d Web2C 2023