I am trying to learn how to use bibtex. I found this article and created two files:

% Untitled.tex 


\title{BibTeX in action}
\author{Martin J. Osborne}


This document illustrates the use of BibTeX\@.  You may want to refer to
\cite{ahu61} or \cite{ab94} or \cite{m85}.  Or you may want to cite a
specific page in a reference, like this: see \citet[p.~199]{m85}.  Or
perhaps you want to cite more than one paper by Maskin: \cite{m85, m99}.
Or you want to make a parenthetical reference to one or more articles, in
which case the \verb+\citealt+ in the \texttt{te.bst} bibliography style
omits the parentheses around the year (\citealt{ahu61}).




% bibl.bib
       author={Arrow, Kenneth J. and Leonid Hurwicz and Hirofumi Uzawa},
       title={Constraint qualifications in maximization problems},
       journal={Naval Research Logistics Quarterly},
       year = 1961,
       pages = {175-191}

       author = {Charalambos D. Aliprantis and Kim C. Border},
       year = {1994},
       title = {Infinite Dimensional Analysis},
       publisher = {Springer},
       address = {Berlin}

       author={Maskin, Eric S.},
       title={The theory of implementation in {N}ash equilibrium: a survey},
       booktitle={Social Goals and Social Organization},
       editor={Leonid Hurwicz and David Schmeidler and Hugo Sonnenschein},
       publisher={Cambridge University Press},

Now the question arises what should I do with them? I didn't find any manual for BibTex with TexWorks.

I compiling Untitled.tex into pdfLaTeX and see ? instead of citations. I compiling bibl.bib into BibTeX and see error

I couldn't open file name `bibl.aux'.
  • 3
    Are you running BibTeX on the .tex file or the .bib one. You should not be doing latter.
    – Joseph Wright
    Nov 29, 2013 at 8:22
  • You should also take a look at the modern package biblatex in conjunction with the bibliography processor biber. This gives you full utf8 support.
    – Johannes_B
    Nov 29, 2013 at 9:26
  • @Johannes_B, do I have biblatex in texworks? I see only bibtex compilation.
    – klm123
    Nov 29, 2013 at 9:33
  • Biblatex is a package, see the link above. Biber is the modern BibTeX equivalent, but you have to add it manually. See add biber to Texworks as a starting point.
    – Johannes_B
    Nov 29, 2013 at 9:37

2 Answers 2


Thanks to Joseph Wright I made it work this way:

  1. Compile with pdfLaTeX to get know which pieces you cite and store it in .aux file.
  2. Compile with BibTeX to create the .bbl file (which contains the formatted references) from information stored in the .aux and .bib files.
  3. Compile with pdfLaTex to incorporate the .bbl file in the typeset document (to include references list in the document).
  4. Compile with pdfLaTex to rid of ? marks and get citations in your text.
  • The bib file is your database, it is not generated by BibTeX. BibTeX generates the bbl, which is read by LaTeX.
    – Johannes_B
    Nov 29, 2013 at 9:24
  • What do you mean by store it in the .aux file? Apr 25, 2018 at 9:15
  • yes. could you explain more please. it looks like the TexWorks does not have a solution in the GUI ? Jan 24, 2019 at 0:27
  • Great background info can be found in tex.stackexchange.com/q/63852/35864
    – moewe
    Dec 8, 2019 at 12:17

Thank you so much to share this, I am searching on the net for how many days just to get this work.

Maybe some others will meet this problem as well, if this way mentioned above won't work just try this:

  1. Compile with pdfLaTeX

  2. Compile with biber

  3. Compile with pdfLaTeX if necessary
  4. Compile with pdfLaTeX again

Which way you have to use depends on the '\usepackage' instructions on the beginning of the .tex file.

If you work on a template for example for your bachelor or master thesis, I'm pretty sure you will meet this problem as well

  • Welcome to TeX.SX! I'm not sure this really answers the question.
    – egreg
    Feb 5, 2018 at 23:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .