Add Bibliography Latex

How do I create bibliographies in LaTeX?

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There are two methods for creating a bibliography. The first can be used for short documents with only a few sources, and is fairly simple. The second method is used for large documents and theses, and involves using a program called "bibtex".

Simple method

If all of this seems complicated, there is a simpler way to produce a quick bibliography for your document. This can be used for smaller papers, ones that don't need a very extensive bibliography. Something like this will work fine:

You can put this at the end of your LaTeX file. If you want to refer to something from your bibliography you can put something like this in yourfile:

which would produce something like


Pretend that the file that we are using is called 'foo.tex'. To make a bibliography, we should put all our sources into a file called 'foo.bib'. The structure of foo.bib is as follows:

For our sample document, we will use the following:

Quotation Marks
BIBTeX uses REAL quotation marks (") and NOT the opening and closing quotation marks (`` and '') that LaTeX normally uses.

Now, everytime you refer to the book Foo Bar Baz in foo.tex, you refer to it in the following manner:

This will match the citation number with the number of the book in the list of references.

If you have a few references that you did not explicitly cite in the text of your document, but you would like to include it in the list of references, you use the following (in foo.tex):

where baz, fuzz, and bong are abbreviations for the other texts.

To actually create the bibliography, you need to use the following commands in foo.tex (these are usually at the end of the document - where you want the References section to appear):

There are several options for \bibliographystyle:

plainnormal style - listed in ABC order and labeled numerically
unsrtsame as plain except entries appear in order of citation
alphasame as plain except entry labels are used
abbrvsame as plain except uses abbreviations for first names, month names, and journal names

Now that you have the basis for a bibliography, you have to run both latex and bibtex on the document. First, you should run latex (to create a foo.aux file, which bibtex reads). Then run bibtex once to get some of the citations and create a .bbl file. Then run latex again so that the cross references between the text file and the bibliography are correct. You may want to repeat running bibtex and latex on the file to make sure that all cross references are correct. Be warned that adding/deleting citations and sources will require running bibtex again.

For more information on this topic, please refer the following pages in the LaTeX manual by Leslie Lamport:

\begin{thebibliography}{1} \bibitem{notes} John W. Dower {\em Readings compiled for History 21.479.} 1991. \bibitem{impj} The Japan Reader {\em Imperial Japan 1800-1945} 1973: Random House, N.Y. \bibitem{norman} E. H. Norman {\em Japan's emergence as a modern state} 1940: International Secretariat, Institute of Pacific Relations. \bibitem{fo} Bob Tadashi Wakabayashi {\em Anti-Foreignism and Western Learning in Early-Modern Japan} 1986: Harvard University Press. \end{thebibliography}
This is obvious \cite{norman}.
@BOOK{<some abbreviation that you make up>, AUTHOR = "author", TITLE = "book title", PUBLISHER = {publishing company}, ADDRESS = {where published}, YEAR = year published}
@BOOK{bar, AUTHOR = "Star, R. M.", TITLE = "Foo Bar Baz", PUBLISHER = {MIT Press}, ADDRESS = {Cambridge, MA}, YEAR = 1989}
\bibliography{foo} \bibliographystyle{plain}
72-74 Bibliography and Citation 74-74 BibTeX 140-147 Format of the .bib File (also gives info on other entry types) 187-188 Bibliography and Citation

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.


[View example on Overleaf]

  1. Creating a .bib file
  2. Using BibTeX
  3. Autogenerate footnotes with BibLaTeX
  4. BibTeX Format
  5. BibTeX Styles

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.

Creating a .bib file

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:

@BOOK{DUMMY:1, AUTHOR="John Doe", TITLE="The Book without Title", PUBLISHER="Dummy Publisher", YEAR="2100", }

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.

Using BibTeX

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.

\documentclass{article} \begin{document} Random citation \cite{DUMMY:1} embeddeed in text. \newpage \bibliography{lesson7a1} \bibliographystyle{ieeetr} \end{document}

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:

pdflatex lesson7a1.tex bibtex lesson7a1 pdflatex lesson7a1.tex pdflatex lesson7a1.tex

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:

\documentclass{article} \usepackage[backend=bibtex,style=verbose-trad2]{biblatex} \bibliography{lesson7a1} \begin{document} Random citation \autocite[1]{DUMMY:1} embeddeed in text. \newpage \printbibliography \end{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.


@ARTICLE{ARTICLE:1, AUTHOR="John Doe", TITLE="Title", JOURNAL="Journal", YEAR="2017", }


@BOOK{BOOK:1, AUTHOR="John Doe", TITLE="The Book without Title", PUBLISHER="Dummy Publisher", YEAR="2100", }

Inbook (specific pages)

@INBOOK{BOOK:2, AUTHOR="John Doe", TITLE="The Book without Title", PUBLISHER="Dummy Publisher", YEAR="2100", PAGES="100-200", }


@MISC{WEBSITE:1, HOWPUBLISHED = "\url{}", AUTHOR = "Intel", TITLE = "Example Website", MONTH = "Dec", YEAR = "1988", NOTE = "Accessed on 2012-11-11" }

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.

BibTeX Styles

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: Lesson 8


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