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I'm using TexShop on Mac and have a .bib file with references exported by Zotero. One disadvantage of this method is that CiteKeys where I can use in-text referencing \cite{citekeys} cannot be modified to my own custom keys.

I tried using BibDesk but realised a problem where the letter cases of authors and documents are not always capitalised correctly. Furthermore more, when I re-import my .bib file to Zotero, it labels all websites as "books" which is very inconvenient for me to change back to the correct label.

There are dozens of other pieces software online but I don't know which is the best, also I have been using LaTeX for a week only, so my expertise is very limited on the topic.

Similar to Zotero and BibDesk, I'm looking for a program that has these features:

  • GUI to enter reference details (author - date etc)
  • A way to assign custom Citekeys
  • Easy integration with BibTeX
  • Compatible with Mac OS X
  • Does not have complications (similar to BibDesk)
  • Does not need emacs or vim etc..

Is there such a program that is considered 'one of the best' out there that I haven't found ? Please let me know.

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Thanks @AlanMunn for the edits :) – Razor Apr 15 '13 at 1:50
See also Workflow for managing references. – Alan Munn Apr 15 '13 at 2:11
up vote 4 down vote accepted

While I was waiting for an answer, I stumbled upon this great program.. This is probably the 6th I've tried, and I can happily say it's the best one out of all of them!


  • It can sync with a .bib file automatically (no need to keep exporting manually)
  • You can add entries with a nice GUI
  • Compatible with Mac OS X
  • You can manually edit citekeys (you also get to enter it while adding entries)
  • No problems with formatting
  • Has many Citation styles (including IEEE)
  • Has an online reference manager and journal finder
  • Can be synced with multiple devices (if you actually use that)

I hope other people find it useful as much as it is for me.

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I've had good results from Mendeley, too. Jabref is a good offline tool, but IMOendeley is the 'least imperfect' for online and collaboration. – Brent.Longborough Apr 15 '13 at 5:00
I'm a user of Mendeley for last year - great software! Was going to post about it here, but... :) – m0nhawk May 1 '13 at 16:04
For Fedora users there is this unofficial repository: github.com/hmaarrfk/mendeley-rpm/releases – alfC Jul 22 '15 at 6:42

You may consider Bibfilex. It's far less complete that JabRef, but is simple, fast and runs natively on each platform.

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I personally use BibDesk which I find very useful and convenient. Maybe if your are new with it you can experience a few frustrations the first times.

The problem of capital letters can be handled with the use of { }.

An online reference manager is available. I personally use Google scholar but different services are available to import automatically your references.

Concerning the syncing, I save my *.bib files on my Dropbox.

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