When I compile my tex document, I receive some warnings on all bib entries. The warning is

 LaTeX Warning: Citation `foo' on page N undefined on input line XX.

The commands I use are

 bibtex template.tex
 I couldn't open file name `template.tex.aux'

 pdflatex template.tex
 LaTeX Warning: Citation `foo' on page N undefined on input line XX.

The document is




\title{the tile}


the abs

\bstctlcite{bstctl:etal, bstctl:nodash, bstctl:simpurl}


And the reference.bib file is

  CTLuse_forced_etal = {no},
  CTLmax_names_forced_etal = {3},

  CTLdash_repeated_names = {no},

  CTLname_url_prefix = {Available: },

  author = "some ones",
  title = "{something}",
  booktitle = {proc},
  year = {2011},
  pages = {1-2},

What does the warning mean?

  • 1
    you need to run bibtex to generate the references Jan 7, 2014 at 17:36
  • 1
    @David Carlisle: No I don't see any ?? in the pdf. The reference numbers are set correctly. Let me update the post with the commands
    – mahmood
    Jan 7, 2014 at 17:41
  • See the updated post
    – mahmood
    Jan 7, 2014 at 17:48
  • It is the same issue, you would have ? if you had any \cite commands, presumably \bstctlcite is a version of \nocite which adds entries to the bibliography without a in-text citation Jan 7, 2014 at 18:17

1 Answer 1


bibtex template.tex will never work.

you first need to run latex on template.tex, then just bibtex template and bibtex will look for template.aux.

when you again run latex (it has to be run twice), the citation references should be available.

  • Yes they are gone after the third run of pdflatex
    – mahmood
    Jan 7, 2014 at 18:08
  • Thanks. Can you explain a bit more on that, please. Why it needs 2 runs to make the reference appear? It's kinda redundant?
    – Catbuilts
    Mar 30, 2021 at 12:38
  • 1
    @Catbuilts -- I recommend reading the linked duplicate question (Question mark or bold citation key instead of citation number), in particular item 3 under "How does this all work". Sometimes (maybe even often) a second run isn't needed, but to be sure, it's usually necessary to consult the log file. It's easier to just rerun. Mar 30, 2021 at 14:22

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