I'm editing a book written by multiple authors. We ha agreed on formatting the bibliography using bibtex with the style \bibliographystyle{spmpsci}. However, some of the authors used the thebibliography environment directly in the main file.


G.~Aggarwal, M.~Bawa, P.~Ganesan, H.~Garcia-Molina, K.~Kenthapadi, R.~Motwani,
U.~Srivastava, D.~Thomas, and Y.~Xu.
\newblock Two can keep a secret: {A} distributed architecture for secure
  database services.
\newblock In {\em Proc. of CIDR 2005}, Asilomar, CA, USA, January 2005.

I can't find a way to change the bibliography style of the references produced by thebibliography (they are stet in style "plain").

I tried to add the comman \bibliographystyle{spmpsci} before the beginning of thebibliography environment and it clearly doesn't work (I really did'nt think it would have, but who knows). I read through the documentation and around the internet but couldn't find anything really helpful.

Am I missing something really easy? Is it possible at all? or I should lose hope and devote half a day to rewrite the bibitems into a bibtex file?

Any input will be much appreciated.

  • Does changing the 10 to Xyz12 help?
    – wilsonw
    Feb 15, 2019 at 10:56

1 Answer 1


I'd recommend to save the contents of thebibliography into a .bbl fikem convert the bibliography to bib using one of the methods listed here Convert .bbl file to .bib file, (I especially like http://text2bib.economics.utoronto.ca/) and then reprocess with bibtex. It is a cumbersome process, but you are trying to recreate a cow from steaks...

  • Thanks! I already saved the thebibliography entries into a bbl but wasn't able to find a way to convert them back to a bib file.The link you provided is precious!
    – Any
    Mar 17, 2015 at 18:03

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