I have a problem using a tilde in the \bibliography{}. Consider the following code



with "bug.bib" located in my home directory "~/" and defined as

@Manual{ref09:man, title = {Reftex user manual, Version 4.34}, year = 2009 }

Now running "pdflatex" and then "bibtex", give then following error from BibTeX

White space in argument---line 4 of file d.aux
 : \bibdata{\protect
 :                   \unhbox \voidb@x \penalty \@M \ {}/bug.bib}
I'm skipping whatever remains of this command
I found no database files---while reading file d.aux
Warning--I didn't find a database entry for "ref09:man"

This error can be fixed by using \string~ instead of ~, i.e.


However, now there is a problem with RefTeX not finding the BibTeX database. When I enter \cite and hit return in emacs I get:

No valid bibliography in this document, and no default available

(An absolute path would have solved this issue, e.g. \bibliography{/home/userName/bug.bib}, but I cannot use that since I use two machines one at home and one at work with different absoulte path to the home directory)


Create a directory $HOME/texmf/bibtex/bib and put your bib files there. Then you can use just \bibliography{bug.bib}, since both BibTeX and RefTeX search this directory (with the default settings).

| improve this answer | |
  • Thank you this works fine.. I found that I can also use export "BIBINPUTS=~" – Håkon Hægland Mar 12 '13 at 23:24
  • I did not know RefTeX checks BIBINPUTS - of course bibtex does... – Boris Mar 12 '13 at 23:27
  • 1
    No need to specify the file extension (.bib); it's better to write \bibliography{bug}. – Mico Mar 13 '13 at 1:09
  • @boris I think RefTeX also checks BIBINPUTS, see chapter 4.1 of the RefTeX manual. – Håkon Hægland Mar 13 '13 at 6:33

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