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I want to keep a single central bibtex file that is shared across all my machines. My approach has been to set up a local tex-tree in a dropbox folder, and just store the file there. So far this has worked great. From all my machines (after "installing" the tex-tree) I can now access this file, and within all my documents i can simply reference the bibtex-file as \bibliography{references}.

However, I'm using TexMaker and one of its great features is auto-suggestion/auto-completion of entries in the bibtex file. In order for this to work TexMaker parses all bibtex files in the project folder. But since I don't keep any bibtex files in the project folders TexMaker is not able to reach it.

To circumvent this problem, I've created a hard-link (I'm mostly on Windows btw) in the project folder of all my different machines, and link it to the central bibtex file in dropbox. This seemed to work on a single machine, but unfortunately, changes in the reference file are not synced between machines. E.g. if I add a reference to the bibtex file (either through the hard-link or to the dropbox file directly), it is not reflected in the hard link on the other machines.

I know this is probably a problem with how Windows handles hard-links, but the hard-link approach is just a poor-mans synchronization-hack anyway. What I would like to know is:

  1. What's the best practice for keeping a single central bibtex file?
  2. How can this be achieved, while still allowing TexMaker to parse the file so that it can provide the auto-suggestion feature?

I know that this problem can be solved using version control, but I would prefer to do without it for the bibtex-file.

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    I use WinEdt, and if I set the variable BIBINPUTS to the folder where I have my personal bibliographies, it is able to find entries in those files. You can check if the same feature is implemented in TeXMaker, too. – karlkoeller Jun 27 '13 at 14:42
  • @karlkoeller Yes I also thought about that, but it doesn't seem like TexMaker supports that :( – hakoja Jun 27 '13 at 15:25

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