It seems that Pandoc is capable of dealing with references given in a .bib file. Yet, I haven't been able to simply ask Pandoc to convert a .bib file into html, markdown or other formats. Is there a way to do so?

As an example of what I mean (since I am not sure I am clear enough...), I would say the following to export myfile.bib to myfile.pdf: Create myfile.tex which contains

\bibliographystyle{abbrv} % or another bibliography style!

and compile it using pdflatex and bibtex.

Is there such a simple way to export myfile.bib to (say) myfile.html?

  • I think the accepted these day should be the one by @AlexanderVonMoll. I.e. as of version 0.4 (Aug 2014), this functionality is built in to pandoc-citeproc.
    – nealmcb
    Jan 27, 2019 at 2:54
  • 1
    Both answers are quite similar I guess: One uses a tex file as input, the other one a markdown file. But both work equally well!
    – Bruno
    Mar 15, 2019 at 13:55

2 Answers 2


pandoc cannot convert a .bib file into another file format1. However, it can convert a .tex file which contains references (called from a .bib file) into a pdf, odt, html, ... If your .tex file just contains the \nocite{*} command, the result is similar (you will have all your references printed).

Here is the magic command:

pandoc test.tex -o output.odt --bibliography /my/bibliography.bib 

or (for pdf)

pandoc test.tex -o output.pdf --bibliography /my/bibliography.bib 

or (for html)

pandoc test.tex -o output.html --bibliography /my/bibliography.bib

Note that several launches of the pandoc command could be necessary to obtain a correct result.





mybib.bib file:

  author =   {Author},
  title =    {Title},
  publisher =    {Publisher},
  year =     2000}



enter image description here


html generated by pandoc test.tex -o output.html --bibliography mybib.bib:

<p><span class="citation">(Author 2000)</span></p>
<div class="references">
<p>Author. 2000. <em>Title</em>. Publisher.</p>

1 The documentation is not very clear about this point. Some phrasings could lead one to believe it's possible to directly convert from .bib to .*. I tested it and it isn't working. You have to use a .tex file if you want to convert a .bib file (today).


As of pandoc-citeproc-0.4 pandoc-citeproc has support for a \nocite{*}-equivalent.

mybib.bib file:

    title={Aircraft Integration Challenges and Opportunities for Distributed Intelligent Control, Power, Thermal Management, Diagnostic and Prognostic Systems},
    author={Behbahani, Alireza R and Von Moll, Alexander and Zeller, Robert and Ordo, James},
    journal={SAE Tech. Pap. 2014-01},
    title={Emergence of bimodality in controlling complex networks},
    author={Jia, Tao and Liu, Yang-Yu and Cs{\'o}ka, Endre and P{\'o}sfai, M{\'a}rton and Slotine, Jean-Jacques and Barab{\'a}si, Albert-L{\'a}szl{\'o}},
    journal={Nature communications},
    publisher={Nature Publishing Group}

    title={Game-theoretic methods for robustness, security, and resilience of cyberphysical control systems: games-in-games principle for optimal cross-layer resilient control systems},
    author={Zhu, Quanyan and Basar, Tamer},
    journal={Control Systems, IEEE},
    title={A hierarchical multi-agent dynamical system architecture for resilient control systems},
    author={Rieger, Craig and Zhu, Quanyan},
    booktitle={Resilient Control Systems (ISRCS), 2013 6th International Symposium on},

Along with the following Markdown skeleton mybib.md:

bibliography: mybib.bib
nocite: '@*'

# Bibliography

Built using pandoc --filter=pandoc-citeproc --standalone mybib.md -o mybib.html

Produces the following output: enter image description here

The HTML that corresponds with this is:

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">

  <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
  <meta http-equiv="Content-Style-Type" content="text/css" />
  <meta name="generator" content="pandoc" />
  <style type="text/css">code{white-space: pre;}</style>
<h1 id="bibliography" class="unnumbered">Bibliography</h1>
<div id="refs" class="references">
<div id="ref-behbahani2014aircraft">
<p>Behbahani, Alireza R, Alexander Von Moll, Robert Zeller, and James Ordo. 2014. “Aircraft Integration Challenges and Opportunities for Distributed     Intelligent Control, Power, Thermal Management, Diagnostic and Prognostic Systems.” <em>SAE Tech. Pap. 2014-01</em> 2161.</p>
<div id="ref-jia2013emergence">
<p>Jia, Tao, Yang-Yu Liu, Endre Csóka, Márton Pósfai, Jean-Jacques Slotine, and Albert-László Barabási. 2013. “Emergence of Bimodality in Controlling Complex Networks.” <em>Nature Communications</em> 4. Nature Publishing Group.            </p>
<div id="ref-rieger2013hierarchical">
<p>Rieger, Craig, and Quanyan Zhu. 2013. “A Hierarchical Multi-Agent Dynamical System Architecture for Resilient Control Systems.” In <em>Resilient Control Systems (ISRCS), 2013 6th International Symposium on</em>, 6–12. IEEE.</p>
<div id="ref-zhu2015game">
<p>Zhu, Quanyan, and Tamer Basar. 2015. “Game-Theoretic Methods for Robustness, Security, and Resilience of Cyberphysical Control Systems: Games-in-Games Principle for Optimal Cross-Layer Resilient Control Systems.” <em>Control Systems, IEEE</em> 35 (1). IEEE: 46–65.</p>
  • 1
    This does not work for me, I consistently get this error: pandoc-citeproc: Error in $: expected product (:*:), encountered Object Dec 12, 2016 at 12:04
  • 1
    Which versions of pandoc and pandoc-citeproc are you using? Do you have your own (non) working example or were you working with the example I provided? Dec 13, 2016 at 13:46
  • Works for me. Using pandoc-citeproc on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic
    – nealmcb
    Jan 27, 2019 at 2:49

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