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I have spent a rather frustrating few hours trying to get TexWorks to work with either or both of BibTex or biber.

I tried running the minimal example

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\usepackage{natbib}

\begin{document}

\title{BibTeX in action}
\author{Martin J. Osborne}
\date{2008-1-13}

\maketitle

\section{Introduction}
This document illustrates the use of BibTeX\@.  You may want to refer to \cite{ahu61} or \cite{ab94} or \cite{m85}.  Or you may want to cite a specific page in a reference, like this: see \citet[p.~199]{m85}.  Or perhaps you want to cite more than one paper by Maskin: \cite{m85, m99}. Or you want to make a parenthetical reference to one or more articles, in which case the \verb+\citealt+ in the \texttt{te.bst} bibliography style omits the parentheses around the year (\citealt{ahu61}).

\bibliographystyle{plain}

\bibliography{bibl}

\end{document}

with .bib file

@article{ahu61,
   author={Arrow, Kenneth J. and Leonid Hurwicz and Hirofumi Uzawa},
   title={Constraint qualifications in maximization problems},
   journal={Naval Research Logistics Quarterly},
   volume={8},
   year = 1961,
   pages = {175-191}
 }

@book{ab94,
   author = {Charalambos D. Aliprantis and Kim C. Border},
   year = {1994},
   title = {Infinite Dimensional Analysis},
   publisher = {Springer},
   address = {Berlin}
 }

@incollection{m85,
   author={Maskin, Eric S.},
   year={1985},
   title={The theory of implementation in {N}ash equilibrium: a survey},
   booktitle={Social Goals and Social Organization},
   editor={Leonid Hurwicz and David Schmeidler and Hugo Sonnenschein},
   pages={173-204},
   publisher={Cambridge University Press},
   addess={Cambridge}
 }

called bibl.bib and in the same directory. Running pdfLaTeX gives me a perfectly good file with missing citations, but when running BibTeX it responds I couldn't open database file bibl.bib.

I think this might be some kind of bigger configuration issue with TeXWorks, because earlier on in the troubleshooting process I tried similar things with biber and biblatex. They were similarly unable to find my .bib file when it was named sources.bib. However, when I called it something else (I think references.bib), biber was able to find a completely different list of sources, which appears to be part of an example in the documentation.

This makes me think that biber/BibTeX/TexWorks doesn't know to look in the current directory before trying other places when looking for a file. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to fix that, or even how it happened in the first place.

I am running Windows 10. I also relatively recently uninstalled TexLive and switched to MikTex.

EDIT: My problem was Windows renaming my file with a .txt extension, then hiding it from me. Since extension hiding is the default behavior, I figure I should leave this question up as another thing to check with this problem.

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    Welcome! Can you compile successfully at the command line? Is your editor configured to put build files in a different directory? – cfr Dec 10 '15 at 2:50
  • I am able to produce a bibliography when running your code on my system (MacTeX2015 on MacOSX 10.11.2), with bibl.bib in the same directory as the "driver" tex file. However, there are two errors: the reference m99 is missing, and \citet[p.~199]{m85} generates a citeauthor slug as the plain bibliography style is not compatible with authoryear-style citation call-outs. (The second error can be fixed by switching to the plainnat bibliography style.) – Mico Dec 10 '15 at 6:15
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    Have you verified that the bib file (bibl.bib, right?) and the main tex file are indeed in the same directory? – Mico Dec 10 '15 at 8:15
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    Did you check if the bib-file has perhaps a hidden extension? Wenn you run on the command line dir *.bib is your bib in the list? – Ulrike Fischer Dec 10 '15 at 11:44
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    @UlrikeFischer That seems to have been the problem: Windows renamed the file to bibl.bib.txt (presumably after I opened it in Notepad) and wasn't telling me. At least this motivated me to turn off file extension hiding... – Calvin McPhail-Snyder Dec 10 '15 at 18:24
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Windows 10 has extension hiding in filenames turned on by default, and as a result my .bib files had extensions like .bib.bib and .bib.txt, which was preventing biber from finding them.

I've resolved the issue (and turned off extension hiding).

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