I write the bibliography in Jabref using bibtexkey as a reference. When I call it in LaTeX using \cite{1}, in the PDF file I have [9].

The problem is that I can't arrange an order to the references. Do you know how to do it?

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    – user31729
    Feb 18, 2015 at 10:09
  • 5
    JabRef doesn't influence the ordering of the references at all, the bibliography style decides that. Most styles organize references alphabetically I believe, while e.g. unsrt sorts them after order of citation. Feb 18, 2015 at 10:14
  • 4
    The order (and the naming of the keys) in jabref is irrelevant. It doesn't matter if you use \cite{blub}, \cite{a} or \cite{47}: The output and order in latex will depend on your bibliographystyle. Feb 18, 2015 at 10:14
  • I had the same issue mentioned in the original question. That issue was solved by putting biblatex package after hyperref package. May 10, 2019 at 12:06

1 Answer 1


Do not use the BibTex keys as final numeric references in text.

Is better left to JabRef generate automatically meaningful author-year BibTeX keys like Smith2005 instead of simple numbers. As commented by Torbjørn and Ulrike Fischer, the final reference number in the PDF is not the BibTeX key. According to the bibliography style, the number of the reference citation could be order of citation in article, and the bibliography is ordered by this number. For example:

   text \cite{Solano2009}
   text \cite{Miro2008} 
   text \cite{Morales2012}
   text \cite{Arce2013} 
   text \cite{Pennisi2013} 
   text \cite{Miro2008} 

This should produce in the PDF:

 text [1] text [2] text [3] text [4] text [5] text [2]


 [1] Solano, A ... 
 [2] Miro, G.  ...

But the instead of IEEEtrans, if you use the plain style the is number reference is the position in the alphabetically ordered references:

text [5] text [2] text [3] text [1] text [4] text [2]


[1] Arce .....
[2] Miro ...

And using the style alpha you can have the biobliography alphabetically ordered with references in text based in authors and years, but unrelated with the BibTeX keys. For example, a paper of Pennisi, Hartmann and Lloid in 2013 with the key Pennisi2013 generate the reference [PHIL+13] based in the initials of the three authors and the year, so that the results is some like:

text [SGKM+09] text [MCP+08] text [MYMMDS+12] text [AEO+13] text
[PHL+13] text [MCP+08]


[AEO+13] Arce, ... 
[MCP+08] Miro ...

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