pandoc-citeproc - Man Page

filter to resolve citations in a pandoc document.


pandoc-citeproc options [file..]


The pandoc-citeproc executable has two modes, filter mode and convert mode.

Filter mode

Run without options, it acts as a filter that takes a JSON-encoded Pandoc document, formats citations and adds a bibliography, and returns a JSON-encoded pandoc document. Citations will be resolved, and, assuming there are bibliography entries, a bibliography will be inserted into a Div element with id refs. If no such Div exists, one will be created and appended to the end of the document (unless the suppress-bibliography metadata field is set to a true value). If the CSL style species hanging indent, the class hanging-indent will be added to this Div. If you wish the bibliography to have a section header, put the section header at the end of your document (or at the beginning of the Div with id refs, if there is one). (See the pandoc (1) man page under “Citations” for details on how to encode citations in pandoc’s markdown.)

To process citations with pandoc, call pandoc-citeproc as a filter:

pandoc --filter pandoc-citeproc -s -o output.html

pandoc-citeproc will look for the following metadata fields in the input. (For details on how to set metadata fields in pandoc’s markdown, see the pandoc (1) man page under --metadata, --metadata-file, and Extension: yaml_metadata_block.)


A path, or YAML list of paths, of bibliography files to use. These may be in any of the formats supported by bibutils.

FormatFile extension
EndNote XML.xml

Note that .bib can generally be used with both BibTeX and BibLaTeX files, but you can use .bibtex to force BibTeX.


A YAML list of references. Each reference is a YAML object. The format is essentially CSL JSON format. Here is an example:

- id: doe2006
    family: Doe
    given: [John, F.]
  title: Article
  page: 33-34
    year: 2006
  type: article-journal
  volume: 6
  container-title: Journal of Generic Studies

The contents of fields will be interpreted as markdown when appropriate: so, for example, emphasis and strong emphasis can be used in title fields. Simple tex math will also be parsed and rendered appropriately.

csl or citation-style

Path or URL of a CSL style file. If the file is not found relative to the working directory, pandoc-citeproc will look in the $HOME/.csl directory (or C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\csl in Windows 7). If this is left off, pandoc-citeproc will look for $HOME/.pandoc/default.csl, and if this is not present, it will use chicago-author-date.csl, looking first in $HOME/.csl and then in its own data files.


If this has a true value, citations in author-date and numerical styles will be hyperlinked to their corresponding bibliography entries. The default is not to add hyperlinks.


Path to a CSL abbreviations JSON file. If the file is not found relative to the working directory, pandoc-citeproc will look in the $HOME/.csl directory (or C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\csl in Windows 7). The format is described here ( Abbreviations are only output if, in the .csl file, form="short" is set on the element that renders the variable.

Here is a short example:

{ "default": {
    "container-title": {
            "Lloyd's Law Reports": "Lloyd's Rep",
            "Estates Gazette": "EG",
            "Scots Law Times": "SLT"

Locale to use in formatting citations. If this is not set, the locale is taken from the default-locale attribute of the CSL file. en-US is used if a locale is not specified in either the metadata or the CSL file. (For backwards compatibility, the field locale can be used instead of lang, but this lang should be used going forward.)


If this has a true value, the bibliography will be left off. Otherwise a bibliography will be inserted into each Div element with id refs. If there is no such Div, one will be created at the end of the document.


If this has a value, a section header with this title will be added before the bibliography. If reference-section-title is not specified and the document ends with a section header, this final header will be treated as the bibliography header. Note: reference-section-title has no effect when the bibliography is placed explicitly using a Div with id refs.


If true (the default), pandoc will put footnote citations after following punctuation. For example, if the source contains blah blah [@jones99]., the result will look like blah blah.[^1], with the note moved after the period and the space collapsed. If false, the space will still be collapsed, but the footnote will not be moved after the punctuation.

The metadata must contain either references or bibliography or both as a source of references. csl and citation-abbreviations are optional. If csl is not provided, a default stylesheet will be used (either ~/.pandoc/default.csl or a version of chicago-author-date.csl).

Convert mode

If the option --bib2yaml or --bib2json is used, pandoc-citeproc will not process citations; instead, it will treat its input (from stdin or files) as a bibliography and convert it either to a pandoc YAML metadata section, suitable for inclusion in a pandoc document (--bib2yaml), or as a CSL JSON bibliography, suitable for import to zotero (--bib2json).

The --format option can be used to specify the bibliography format, though when files are used, pandoc-citeproc can generally guess this from the extension.

This mode supersedes the old biblio2yaml program.

Raw content (pandoc-citeproc only)

To include raw content in a prefix, suffix, delimiter, or term, surround it with these tags indicating the format:


Without the tags, the string will be interpreted as a string and escaped in the output, rather than being passed through raw.

This feature allows stylesheets to be customized to give different output for different output formats. However, stylesheets customized in this way will not be useable by other CSL implementations.


-y,  --bib2yaml

Convert bibliography to YAML suitable for inclusion in pandoc metadata.

-j,  --bib2json

Convert bibliography to CSL JSON suitable for import into Zotero.

-f FORMAT, --format=FORMAT

Specify format of bibliography to be converted. Legal values are biblatex, bibtex, ris, endnote, endnotexml, isi, medline, copac, mods, nbib, and json.

-c NUMBER, --columns=NUMBER

Specify column to which to wrap YAML output produced using --bib2yaml. Default is 80. To disable wrapping, set 0.

-h,  --help

Print usage information.


Print the man page in groff man format. To get a plain text version, pandoc-citeproc --man | groff -mman -Tutf8. To get an HTML version, pandoc-citeproc --man | groff -mman -Thtml.


Print the license.

-q,  --quiet

Silence all warnings.

-V,  --version

Print version.



If you use a biblatex database, closely follow the specifications in the “Database Guide” section of the biblatex manual (currently 2.8a).

If you use a CSL-YAML or CSL-JSON database, or a CSL-YAML metadata section in your markdown document, follow the “Citation Style Language 1.0.1 Language Specification” (<>). Particularly relevant are <> (which neither comments on usage nor specifies required and optional fields) and <> (which does contain comments).

Titles: Title vs. Sentence Case

If you are using a bibtex or biblatex bibliography, then observe the following rules:

  • English titles should be in title case. Non-English titles should be in sentence case, and the langid field in biblatex should be set to the relevant language. (The following values are treated as English: american, british, canadian, english, australian, newzealand, USenglish, or UKenglish.)
  • As is standard with bibtex/biblatex, proper names should be protected with curly braces so that they won’t be lowercased in styles that call for sentence case. For example:

    title = {My Dinner with {Andre}}
  • In addition, words that should remain lowercase (or camelCase) should be protected:

    title = {Spin Wave Dispersion on the {nm} Scale}

    Though this is not necessary in bibtex/biblatex, it is necessary with citeproc, which stores titles internally in sentence case, and converts to title case in styles that require it. Here we protect “nm” so that it doesn’t get converted to “Nm” at this stage.

If you are using a CSL bibliography (either JSON or YAML), then observe the following rules:

  • All titles should be in sentence case.
  • Use the language field for non-English titles to prevent their conversion to title case in styles that call for this. (Conversion happens only if language begins with en or is left empty.)
  • Protect words that should not be converted to title case using this syntax:

    Spin wave dispersion on the <span class="nocase">nm</span> scale

Conference Papers, Published vs. Unpublished

For a formally published conference paper, use the biblatex entry type inproceedings (which will be mapped to CSL paper-conference).

For an unpublished manuscript, use the biblatex entry type unpublished without an eventtitle field (this entry type will be mapped to CSL manuscript).

For a talk, an unpublished conference paper, or a poster presentation, use the biblatex entry type unpublished with an eventtitle field (this entry type will be mapped to CSL speech). Use the biblatex type field to indicate the type, e.g. “Paper”, or “Poster”. venue and eventdate may be useful too, though eventdate will not be rendered by most CSL styles. Note that venue is for the event’s venue, unlike location which describes the publisher’s location; do not use the latter for an unpublished conference paper.


Andrea Rossato and John MacFarlane.

See Also

pandoc (1).

The pandoc-citeproc source code and all documentation may be downloaded from <>.


2019-11-19 pandoc-citeproc