I am new to using LaTeX and not that familiar with Linux either. I have written a LaTeX file and saved it as a .tex file using TexMaker. My prof sent me a .bib file, I guess as a sample for what my references section should look like, but I'm not sure how I can see it in PDF format. Am I supposed to compile my .tex and the .bib file together, so I can then see the whole thing as a PDF? If so, how do I do it?

  • Welcome to TeX.SE! This site works best if queries state specific concerns or problems and show what's been tried so far. LaTeX and friends (including BibTeX) do feature a bit of a learning curve for new users, and it's very important to become familiar with the terminology. It's probably a good idea to start with a basic introduction, such as the The not so Short Introduction to LaTeX, in part because you'll have a better sense after going through this material what your specific questions may be.
    – Mico
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 4:43
  • For BibTeX, the book referred to in the previous comment, while still very useful for learning the basics of LaTeX, will not help you get started with BibTeX. For that task, a good starting point is Tame the BeaST. If you are using TeX Live, the document may already be present on your computer and accessible with the command texdoc ttb. It is not a comprehensive reference, but covers the essentials (minus biblatex, though, so you should confirm with your professor that s/he is using traditional BibTeX!).
    – jon
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 5:58
  • 1
    Can you show us two entrys of this bib file? Then perhaps we can see if biblatex is used by your prof or not.
    – Mensch
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 12:06

1 Answer 1


Use the package natbib. If your professor has sent you the .bib file, you now have to tell the .tex document where to cite from. You can add code like this to the bottom of your document, before \end{document}:


Read up on how natbib and citing works. You will have to change your citations to the bibtex key. So for example, if you were previously writing Smith (1999), you would now insert the key, that could look something like


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