do I have to run pdflatex twice after biber, or once is enough?

pdflatex doc
biber doc
pdflatex doc

I could have swear that I read in the documentation that (unlike bibtex) a single pdflatex after biber was enough. This is what I have been doing with no problems. But can anyone confirm this for me?

  • 1
    a second run of latex might be needed if because of the now included citation marks like [1], which is normally shorter than your key, the page layout changes and the entries of the toc have to be updated. – MaxNoe Dec 22 '14 at 20:40

The way that biblatex assigns citation numbers/labels is different from 'traditional' BibTeX as the bibliography data is read in the preamble. As such, the 'minimum' recipe when using biblatex is <engine><backend><engine> both when the <backend> is Biber and when it is BibTeX. This applies to all engines (so pdfLaTeX, XeLaTeX, LuaLaTeX).

Note that there may be other factors which require more runs of either the engine or backend. An obvious one is if you use citations within the text of the bibliography itself, as in a recent example in the chemistry area: How to achieve full compression of references with biber and add comments to grouped citations?.

  • @MaxNoe says in another comment that you need two runs "because of the now included citation marks (...)" -- is this assertion of him true? I know it's true for bibtex, but I could have swear I read it was different for biblatex. Your comment seems to confirm what I have read. Can you confirm either way? – Ricardo Cruz Dec 23 '14 at 1:57
  • @RicardoCruz This answer is consistent with that comment. Why do you think there's a disagreement here? – cfr Dec 23 '14 at 4:00
  • @RicardoCruz The comment on the question is talking about the case where including the citation rather than placeholder causes some other referenced element to move. That's not usually the case, but can happen and require a potentially infinite cycle of compiles. I'm talking about the minimum number of cycles required: traditional BibTeX always needs two after the bibtex run, using biblatex requires only one. – Joseph Wright Dec 23 '14 at 7:24
  • Thank you very much Joseph! By the way, I just noticed that \usepackage[backref=true]{biblatex} requires two runs, in order to insert the back references. – Ricardo Cruz Dec 23 '14 at 13:43

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