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 can I tell LaTeX that it should use an existing bbl file foo.bbl, say, without running bibtex?

share|improve this question

LaTeX attempts to read a .bbl file when you use the \bibliography command. If the file does not exist, you get an empty bibliography. LaTeX doesn't 'know' if you run BibTeX, it only knows if a .bbl file exists. (You can make a .bbl file by hand, and it will work.)

share|improve this answer
Yes that's exactly what I meant. I have a .bbl file (created "somehow", let's say) and I want LaTeX to use it without biblatex coming into play. – lpdbw Feb 24 '13 at 17:16
up vote 7 down vote accepted

OK, I see, just use \input{foo.bbl}. The bbl file just contains the bibitems and thus can be included like any other content.

share|improve this answer
maybe \InputIfFileExists{foo.bbl} ? – yo' Feb 25 '13 at 22:21
This is a great solution for making the "References cited" file for an NSF grant proposal. – Bjørn Kjos-Hanssen Sep 22 '14 at 0:10

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.