TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

How do you reference (in your document) enumerated items listed in your reference list? i.e. I have the code:


In the body of my document and:


In my reference list after my first reference. For some reason (that I hope you'll explain to me) this doesn't suffice in helping me back-reference the first item in my reference list.

For additional information or clarification this is how the section with my ~\ref tag in it looks:

\section*{Symptoms: Influenza}
The flu has the following symptoms:~\ref{itm:ref1}

Whereas in my reference list, I have:


\item{BETTER HEALTH CHANNEL, 'Flu (influenza)', \textit{Better Health Channel} [web page] (2012), \hyperref{http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/flu_influenza?open}{}{}{Flu (influenza)}, accessed 10 Mar. 2013.}
share|improve this question
Is there any reason why you don't use bibtex to manage your references? This would make your live waaaaaay easier. – Dominikus K. Mar 10 '13 at 10:00
Here you can read an introduction to bibliographies in LaTeX. en.wikibooks.org/wiki/LaTeX/Bibliography_Management -- I recommend biblatex. – Marco Daniel Mar 10 '13 at 10:08
up vote 5 down vote accepted

There are automatic ways to create bibliographies using bibtex or biblatex. However, sometimes in a small document, some people prefer to do this "by hand". The mechanism provided by LaTeX is

  • \cite instead of \ref
  • thebibliography instead of a enumerate and the heading, and
  • \bibitem instead of \item

Using this your example would be:

Sample output



\section*{Symptoms: Influenza}
The flu has the following symptoms:~\cite{ref1}

\bibitem{ref1} BETTER HEALTH CHANNEL, 'Flu (influenza)',
  \textit{Better Health Channel} [web page] (2012),
  \hyperref{http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/flu_influenza?open}{}{}{Flu (influenza)}, accessed 10 Mar. 2013.

The argument to \bibitem corresponds to the label, and is the key used in \cite.

Note the argument {9} to the bibliography environment, this is a placeholder indicating the widest label. If you have between 10 and 99 \bibitems it should be set to {99} instead.

share|improve this answer

Try the code below:

\item\label{itm:ref1} First item 
\item\label{itm:ref2} Second  item 
In ~\ref{itm:ref1} and ~\ref{itm:ref2} ...
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.