I have to use apa6 with biblatex and bibtex as the backend. Unfortunately, that doesn't really work although my approach seems ok (according to tons of other posts here).


  author = {Claude E. Shannon},
  title = {A Mathematical Theory of Communication},
  journal = {The Bell System Technical Journal},
  year = {1948},
  volume = {27},
  pages = {379--423},
  keywords = {information, entropy, informationtheory, statistics, communication},
  url = {http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/ms/what/shannonday/shannon1948.pdf},


\title{Test Document}
\shorttitle{Test Document}


Citing Shannon is cool: \cite{Shannon1948}



The error message:

! Undefined control sequence.
l.231 \DeclareStyleSourcemap

When I switch the backend to biber the document compiles just fine but unfortunately I have to use bibtex (arXiv doesn't like my biber-generated bbl).

1 Answer 1


biblatex-apa requires Biber from version 4.5.

Page 2 of the manual states:

4.5 biber is now required. This is because APA style needs a custom sorting scheme and only biber supports this. bibtex support is going away in biblatex eventually anyway so it’s best to switch.

  • 1
    It may be that using one of the historical versions of biblatex-apa would solve this particular problem even if the general solution is to use Biber as required.
    – jon
    Feb 2, 2016 at 4:10
  • Annoying but thanks for providing the answer. I solved the problem by switching to apacite which reminded me why biblatex is so incredibly great. It's beyond me why arXiv is not doing a better job supporting recent versions of biblatex. Well, another few hours wasted for nothing.
    – tmalsburg
    Feb 2, 2016 at 4:22

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