Using Bibtex to manage references in LaTex

BibTeX is a useful reference management tool for academic writers. The Wikibooks provides a detailed description on how to use BibTeX. For most references you only need to search the article on GoogleScholar and select “import into BibTeX” to get the codes.

If you are using WinEdt like me, follow this procedure (I imagine the procedure should be similar for other editors) to link BibTeX with Latex and generate the bibliography.

After compiling your .bib file and adding the relevant Latex commands in your .tex file, hit the following key combinations while you’re in .tex file:

  1. CTL-SHIFT-L: runs LaTeX2e. Since the program is designed to work with BibTeX, and you have used the code in your TeX file, it generates an .aux file called which contains all of the citations which you used in the document.
  2. CTL-SHIFT-B: runs BibTeX. This command searches for the “.aux” file, searches your BibTeX file for the relevant citations, and creates a .bbl file containing all information for the works cited in your .tex file. This is a crucial step; without it the citations will appear as question marks and the bibliography won’t be generated.
  3. CTL-SHIFT-L: runs LaTeX2e to let LaTeX create the bibliography inside the document with the bibliography (.bbl) file.
  4. CTL-SHIFT-L: runs LaTeX2e again to make sure all of the references match up.

After every change in your .bib file, you have to do 2-4 again.


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