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I'm using the following to span the bibliography to two columns:


Yet, the section title ("References" in the article document style) also appear as part of the two columns, while I want it to span the whole page. How can I do something equivalent to the following code, but still using BibTeX?



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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Building upon Gonzalo's answer, I suggest to use the etoolbox package to selectively change the definitions of \thebibliography and \endthebibliography. Add the following to your preamble:


EDIT: How does it work? The \patchcmd command needs five arguments, but you may ignore (as I did) the two last ones, which generate patching success/error messages. Argument no. 1 is the command to be "patched" (selectively changed), argument no. 2 is the part of the command definition that should be replaced, argument no. 3 is the replacement. (Because thebibliography is an environment, I had to patch the two commands that define it.)

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Patching using \section*{\refname} has the problem that the solution does not work for report or book classes. You can use \list as the search pattern and replace it with {\list\begin{multicols}{2}}. – Guido Oct 17 '12 at 10:32
@Guido True, but I prefer to use multicols optional second argument because I've had some trouble with regard to spacing if I start multicols after sectioning commands. – lockstep Oct 17 '12 at 10:38

You can redefine the thebibliography environment to use two columns and use the optional argument of multicols to place the title; add the following lines to the preamble of your document:


      \@clubpenalty \clubpenalty
       {\@latex@warning{Empty `thebibliography' environment}}%

Now in the body of your document, simply use

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Works great.. but it is unfortunate to need to redefine everything. I like the solution of lockstep for its brevity (although I am not sure I yet understand how it works) – Ran G. Jun 14 '11 at 22:36
@Ran G. my solution doesn't redefine everything; it only changes two lines in the original definition of the thebibliography environment; lockstep's solution does exactly what I did, but with the help of a package. The idea in both cases is to make two replacements in the original definition: 1) Instead of \section*{\refname} use \begin{multicols}{2}[\section*{\refname}] and 2) Instead of \endlist use \endlist\end{multicols}. – Gonzalo Medina Jun 14 '11 at 22:42
thanks for the explanations. Since I don't really understand the internals I try to avoid low-level hacks (that is, anything that begins with \makeatletter, etc :) – Ran G. Jun 14 '11 at 22:52
How do you with your method change the name from References to e.g. Bibliography ? – chwi Oct 17 '12 at 10:27
@Wilhelmsen there are a number of questions in this site addressing this issue. Depends on whether you use babel or not. Without babel: \renewcommand\refname{The New Name}, with babel you need \addto\captions<language>{\renewcommand\refname{The New Name}}, where <language> is the main language declared. – Gonzalo Medina Oct 17 '12 at 11:54

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