In some areas of maths, it is advised to cite mathematical and drawing software you use to make your computations and drawings. Since I draw in TikZ, I would like to know how officially cite the package in my article. I use BibTeX, in this case with amsalpha style, as in MWE below.

(Related to How do I properly cite TeX.SE for its help in typesetting? which, however, treats citing this site rather than packages themselves.)


TITLE = {Dummy Software},
AUTHOR = {John Doe},
YEAR = {2013},




I want to cite \cite{dummy}, and I want to cite \cite{tikz} as well.



3 Answers 3


I would (and I do) cite it as a @manual:

   author    = {Till Tantau},
   title     = {The TikZ and PGF Packages},
   subtitle  = {Manual for version 3.0.0},
   url       = {http://sourceforge.net/projects/pgf/},
   date      = {2013-12-20},

The same goes for other packages.


For software it would be relevant to include the information about the version/release of the software. With Bibtex this information can be stored in the howpublished field.

TITLE = {Dummy Software},
AUTHOR = {John Doe},
YEAR = {2013},
HOWPUBLISHED = {Version 0.1},

Biblatex offers the entry type software (though unsupported, i.e., standard style will treat it as misc), has the field version.

title = {Dummy Software},
author = {John Doe},
year = {2013},
version = {0.1},

Specifically for the TikZ graphdrawing library, I would recommend citing the following formally archived peer-reviewed article.

    author = {Tantau, Till},
    title = {Graph Drawing in {TikZ}},
    booktitle = {Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Graph Drawing},
    series = {GD'12},
    year = {2013},
    isbn = {978-3-642-36762-5},
    location = {Redmond, WA},
    pages = {517--528},
    numpages = {12},
    doi = {10.1007/978-3-642-36763-2_46},
    publisher = {Springer-Verlag},
    address = {Berlin, Heidelberg},

This will also help the package's author get appropriate recognition in bibliometric studies.

  • 2
    In that article the content is only related to one library which is graphdrawing. The manual is the one that should be cited.
    – percusse
    Jul 29, 2014 at 17:50

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