I have a problem with biber (2.1) and german umlauts. My bibliography Thesis.bib has only one entry:

   author = {G{\"{o}}, A.},
   journal = {journal},
   title = {{lalelu}},

And my main.tex file is:


I compile via pdflatex main && biber main. The output of biber is

INFO - This is Biber 2.1
INFO - Logfile is 'main.blg'
INFO - Reading 'main.bcf'
INFO - Found 1 citekeys in bib section 0
INFO - Processing section 0
INFO - Looking for bibtex format file 'Thesis.bib' for section 0
INFO - Decoding LaTeX character macros into UTF-8

with exit code 1. When I remove the umlaut from the author line in Thesis.bib everything is fine. It doesn't make a difference if the umlaut is an another field of the bib entry and I have the same problem with \% and \&.

I'm using OSX 10.11 with texlive2015 from MacPorts.

Has somebody encountered a similar problem?

Best wishes, Peter

  • If you are not happy with daleif's answer, which is the way to go, would it be possible to show the entire .blg file? Can you also make sure that the MWE actually produces the problem. When I copied your code, it worked fine on my machine (both files encoded in UTF8)
    – moewe
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 13:31
  • Did you try downloading and installing MacTeX2015 from http://tug.org/mactex/?
    – Mico
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 14:15

2 Answers 2




to your document, biber runs and outputs in UTF8


Soo.... finally I fixed it! It turned out that there was a problem with the texlive installation. After the upgrade to OSX 10.11 I didn't update the MacPorts installation.

Furthermore I had a problem with the .bib files that are generated by Mendeley. In case the bib entry has a field month, Mendeley exports an abbreviation like March=mar, which causes a problem to biber. biber unfortunately exits without proper error message. That problem is mentioned in the biber manual.

  • Could explain this more detaild? I get the same error, but my Mendeley bib-file contains fields like:month = {jan} Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 23:48
  • Try month={January} (or remove the field at all)
    – hansgans
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 9:25

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