I'm compiling my PhD dissertation in ShareLaTeX and today was my first, "Oh no!" moment. I followed lockstep's guide to switching to biblatex. Seemed very clear and straightforward. After commenting out the bibtex command I added the necessary pre-amble to my document. My pre-amble currently looks like this:

\usepackage[backend=bibtex, citestyle=authoryear]{biblatex}

After this material I have the document and the bibliography commands:


This contains an error that says: "Package biblatex error: File output.bbl not created by biblatex.


This contains an error that says empty bibliography on input line 162.


I've thoroughly researched proposed solutions. I tried to paste code from this ShareLaTeX template but it didn't work for me---in fact my document wouldn't compile at all.

What I might do next if I don't hear from anyone is try to rebuild based on the ShareLaTeX template. Ugh I don't have time for this.




Edit: added tags

  • A complete minimal (non-)working example would help to help.…
    – Bernard
    Aug 31, 2015 at 22:29
  • 1
    Mhhh, our only guess so far is that you don't cite anything. As far as I know sharelatex supports Biber, so you can use backend=biber. Also it is very unusual to set only a citestyle and no bibstyle, maybe just go with style=authoryear. And please give a full MWE so we can examine what is going on - but make it minimal.
    – moewe
    Sep 1, 2015 at 5:15

2 Answers 2


sharelatex works fine with biblatex and supports the biber backend. So you could/should change backend=bibtex to backend=biber.

The error message "Package biblatex error: File output.bbl not created by biblatex. means that you still had an old bbl. It should disappear at the next compilation - if biber can create a new bbl.

Delete all old auxiliary files from older compilation by clicking on the "log" icon beside the recompile button and then on the small bin.

Then compile as test this document




If it works try again with your document. If it still fails check in the "other logs & files" the content of the blg-file.

``I always thought something was fundamentally wrong with the universe''~\cite{adams1995hitchhiker}


And in another file, for instance: references.bib have your references:

  title={The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy},
  author={Adams, D.},
  publisher={San Val}
  • 2
    Normally, one uses \addbibresource, not \bibliography
    – Bernard
    Aug 31, 2015 at 22:31
  • And if you want to use \bibliography (which you can, but the command is considered a legacy command and is deprecated in favour of \addbibresource) you need to drop the file extension, so just \bibliography{references}. With \addbibresource you need the extension: \addbibresource{references.bib}.
    – moewe
    Sep 1, 2015 at 5:12

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