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I am writing a document in two column format and the last two pages are devoted to the bibliography, which I generate with BibTeX. I need to finish the last page with the two columns having the same size. I am lost at that point.

I have tried to use \enlargethispage{-X cm} finding X by trial and error. The problem is that when using that command after the call to \bibliography{MyBib}, the outcome is not the expected one: bibliography items span along all the first column and there is no column adjustment. I found out that if I write the command before \bibliography{MyBib} everything works as expected, but the problem is that the bibliography takes two pages so I can't do that, the only possibility is writing \enlargethispage afterwards. Could you please help me on that?

I self-answer :-) I suceeded by manually editing the .bbl file. If you have a smarter solution please let me know. Thanks.

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Welcome to TeX.sx! It would be very useful to know what document class you're using and how you get two column format. –  egreg Mar 16 '13 at 11:05
Hi, thank you. I use \documentclass[conference]{IEEEtran} and inside the template IEEEtran I found these options \ExecuteOptions{letterpaper,10pt,twocolumn,oneside,final,journal} –  Carlgar Mar 16 '13 at 11:13
Is the paper to be submitted? In this case I wouldn't bother if the submission instructions don't ask for balancing the columns in the last page. –  egreg Mar 16 '13 at 11:15
It is a camera ready version, which is not going to be edited because it directly goes to a conference proceedings. The two columns issue is indicated by the conference guidelines. Up to the date I never had any problem in achieving that with \enlargethispage but this case is special for the rather long bibliography section. I am wondering if the only solution is not using bibtex, and instead of that, write each bibitem individually and then I write the command in the middle of them... –  Carlgar Mar 16 '13 at 11:22
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1 Answer

The IEEEtran class has a trick for doing what you want in a simple fashion; here's an example, where I used a large bib database available in TeX Live.


\usepackage{lipsum} % some mock text

% the following commands are just to avoid errors

\author{A. U. Thor}




% this will issue a column break just before reference 68


A couple of attempts gave a quite good result. The columns are not perfectly balanced, but doing it would split a reference.

enter image description here

Alternatively you could try



which gives the following "balancing"

enter image description here

The \IEEEtriggeratref command places, by default, a column break before the specified bib entry; with \IEEEtriggercmd you can change the default command.

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Brilliant, that is definitely what I was looking for, I wasn't aware of those commands in IEEEtran. Thanks so much. –  Carlgar Mar 16 '13 at 12:18
Happy to have helped. Please, have a look at the site's faq –  egreg Mar 16 '13 at 13:43
@Carlgar: you might consider to mark this answer as solution. –  lmsasu Nov 13 '13 at 16:36
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