If you are/have using/used the same bibliography files across several machines (say a laptop and a desktop machine) of yours...

  • How did you solve the problem of consistency? With a version control system (e.g. git) and/or a web hosting service (e.g. Dropbox) and/or a USB drive?

  • What is your method to manage the bibliography file itself? Editing the .bib-file directly or with a tool?

  • Has anyone run into a problem with this issue as a whole? What did you learn?

  • I use jabref sometimes and edit directly some other time. Almost all editors know how to help in this regard. And using across machines, I always rely on my thumb drive. Internet can be scary some times ;)
    – user11232
    Mar 7, 2014 at 8:13
  • I'm not sure this is really TeX-specific. BibTeX database files are just plain text files, and so can be copied/mirrored by standard tools and edited with any text editor. Many people use a BibTeX-specific editor (e.g. JabRef, BibDesk) but that is not a requirement, nor does it impact on working on multiple machines.
    – Joseph Wright
    Mar 7, 2014 at 8:39

1 Answer 1


I've used JabRef for a long time, then the comment from Joseph above applies, just use standard tools.

Recently, I switched to Mendeley, which takes care of my bibliography now. It's both multi-platform and makes it easy to import publications from the web. Several installations on different machine sync their library automatically and also automatically save the library to a .bib file on your disk, making "managing the same bibliography files across several machines" painless.

  • Interesting, these is indeed a good alternative. I haven't spent much time researching either Mendeley or Zotero but I was aware of them. Considering Biblatex, they both seem to be lacking proper support but I suppose they are leading based on the principle. However they are fully program-based and my question was geared towards the "vanilla" bibliography files.
    – henry
    Mar 7, 2014 at 10:54
  • If you want to work with your "vanilla" bibliography files, I suggest to keep them either under version control or use a Dropbox-like provider to keep one "master" file in sync between all the machines you're working on.
    – Habi
    Mar 7, 2014 at 14:02
  • I use similar approach but I don´t replace jabref for mendeley. I use jabref as a second step, if needed. The bib files generated by mendeley does need some edit to work properly on LaTeX. Well, at least sometimes because the fuc...I mean, not so easy brazilian normatization rules for academic documents. But I agree with Habi. Mendeley does the job to keep the consistency of your entire bibliography database. And for specific documents jabref (or any latex editor directly)+dropbox.
    – Smarzaro
    Nov 19, 2014 at 11:23
  • @Smarzaro I've never needed to Meneleys .bib-File to work with BibTeX or biber, so I must be lucky :)
    – Habi
    Nov 20, 2014 at 9:54

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