I use biblatex and \printbibliography to add a bibliography at the end of my document. I would like the references in a smaller fontsize than the document's default.

{\small \printbibliography} does not work. It merely shrinks the space right above "References".

A minimal working example:




Al lot fo atextas ljfa slkafj se je kfjaeijfa sdjf aiewjmfcajef studies~\cite{Savit1999,Nowak2004}

{\small \printbibliography}


It assumes you have following BibTex file, named library.bib:

author = {Savit, Robert and Manuca, Radu and Riolo, Rick},
doi = {10.1103/PhysRevLett.82.2203},
issn = {0031-9007},
journal = {Physical Review Letters},
number = {10},
pages = {2203--2206},
publisher = {American Physical Society},
title = {{Adaptive Competition, Market Efficiency, and Phase Transitions}},
url = {http://link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevLett.82.2203},
volume = {82},
year = {1999}
author = {Nowak, Martin A. and Sigmund, Karl},
doi = {10.1126/science.1093411},
issn = {1095-9203},
journal = {Science},
number = {5659},
pages = {793--799},
pmid = {14764867},
publisher = {AAAS},
title = {{Evolutionary dynamics of biological games}},
url = {http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14764867},
volume = {303},
year = {2004}

2 Answers 2


Use \AtNextBibliography{\small} or in the preamble \AtBeginBibliography{\small}

  • 24
    One could also use \renewcommand*{\bibfont}{\small} to reduce the font size for all bibliographies.
    – moewe
    Commented Jan 14, 2017 at 15:39
  • 4
    @moewe Do you want to add your comment as answer? I'd be happy to vote up.
    – Boern
    Commented May 22, 2019 at 7:13

If you want to change the font size for all bibliographies in your document it is preferable to redefine \bibfont instead of hooking into \AtBeginBibliography.


That is because \bibfont is used to measure the label lengths for the margin in a numeric bibliography. See Biblatex/Biber \AtNextBibliography and \fontsize{}{} for an example where that becomes important. (If you make the bibliography font size smaller, you may only see an excessively large margin. But if you make the font size larger, the alignment might no longer be as nice.)

  • 1
    Why is \normalfont needed there? I am just curious (and I'm not an texpert). Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 10:09
  • 1
    @CyriacAntony In many cases it probably is not necessary. The redefinition here is based on the original definition from biblatex.def, which has \newcommand*{\bibfont}{\normalfont\normalsize}. In any case it makes sure that most local font settings don't affect \printbibliography.
    – moewe
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 10:51

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