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I have a LaTeX folder where I use the same makefile and preamble for building either a part of the report or the entire report. This is achieved by a hack in the makefile where I substitute the file I want to compile into the preamble (this part works fairly well).

But, whenever I build a document without citations, BibTeX fails, and LaTeX writes a warning saying Empty 'thebibliography' environment on input line 5..

I can avoid this problem by doing a \nocite{DummyCite} and having an entry for dummy cite in my .bib file. However, that's a rather nasty hack, and looks ugly when I have citations.

Is there any way I can figure out if there are citations? Can I do an \ifthenelse against the citation counter? How do I find out what the name of the citation counter is?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Apr 3 '11 at 21:48

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

if your <file>.aux does't have any \citation{..} line, then you have no \cite{..} in your document. In this case you should delete an existing <file>.bbl. Then LaTeX gives only a warning about a non existing file, which is not of interest for the LaTeX run.

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Thanks if grep "\\citation" ./bin/$(*F).aux > /dev/null; then if bibtex -terse ./bin/$(*F).aux; then echo "bibtex: OK"; else echo "bibtex: Failed"; fi; fi Pretty much did the trick... Now I only run bibtex if there was any citations... –  jopsen Apr 4 '11 at 11:15
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