My supervisor wants a special style (I could not find any journal which uses such a style...) for the bibliography and I'm not able to modify the .bst file in the right way.

It should look like this:

Schramm F, Müller A, Hammes H 2011, Epoxide and thiirane toxicity in vitro with ciliates. Environ. Sci. Technol. 45(Journal volume number - this number should be underlined): 5812-5819.

I've created a .bst file with a bst generator from the internet (http://www.podoblaz.net/cml/?id=39) and it works relatively well, but there is no option for underlining the volume number! I've tried to modify the .bst file manually, but without success. It would be really great if anybody could help me!

  • Hi and welcome, the easiest way would be to share a minimal example including a bib-entry and the bst file. – Johannes_B Mar 5 '15 at 16:12
  • Another way would be to use biblatex where you can modify the appearance of the citations and bibliography using LaTeX commands. Just in case you are german, please have a look at Erstellung von Literaturverzeichnissen – Johannes_B Mar 5 '15 at 16:12

It looks like the website you've referenced in your posting, bst generator, is a handy GUI front end to the makebst utility, which is a part of the custom-bib package. That's good.

I understand your main question is how to set up an instruction to underline (rather than, say, italicize) the volume number.

  • Start by creating the bst file using the web utility. When you get to question 58, select "Volume italic" (the second option). Complete the rest of the process.

  • Let's assume your new bst file is called underline.bst. Open it in an editor; the one you use for your tex files will do fine.

  • Find the function called emphasize. It probably looks like this:

    FUNCTION {emphasize}
    { duplicate$ empty$
        { pop$ "" }
        { "\emph{" swap$ * "}" * }
  • Create a new function called uline as follows

    FUNCTION {uline}
    { duplicate$ empty$
        { pop$ "" }
        { "\uline{" swap$ * "}" * }

    and insert it in the bst file immediately below the emphasize function.

  • Find the function called format.vol.num.pages, which probably looks like this if you chose "italics" as the option for highlighting the volume number (and also told the utility to omit the issue number):

    FUNCTION {format.vol.num.pages}
    { volume field.or.null
      duplicate$ empty$ 'skip$
          "volume" bibinfo.check
      eid empty$
        { format.journal.pages }
        { format.journal.eid }

    In this function, replace emphasize with uline.

  • Save the file underline.bst either in the directory where your main tex file is located or in a directory that's searched by BibTeX. If you choose the second option, be sure to update the filename database of your TeX distribution.

  • You'll need to load the ulem package -- preferably with the option normalem so that the ordinary meaning of \emph doesn't get clobbered -- in your tex file in order for the instruction \uline to be recognized:


After switching (or updating) bibliography styles, be sure to rerun LaTeX, BibTeX, and LaTeX twice more to fully propagate all changes.

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