I need to create a manual bibliography, in order to follow very precise layout guidelines. Here's what I'm wrote to the end of my .tex file:

         Balassy Z., Huszar I., Csizmadia B. (1989): Determination of Poisson’s ratio in elastic oedometer, 4th ICPPAM Int. Conf., Rostock, Proceeding, Vol. 1, pp. 26-30.

How can I textually cite from this manually bibliography like: (Balassy et al., 1989)? (and I would like to number the element of the bibliography with brakcets- e.g. [1])

Thanks for your help!

  • You should use either authoryear or numerical citation call-outs, but not mix up the two styles. With an authoryear citation call-out style, there is no point in providing numbers in the bibliography -- other than to provide distracting clutter.
    – Mico
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 10:41

2 Answers 2


You seem to want to manually format citations, and also to have them numeric, while being able to cite some sort of author or other aspect. The below idea is not generally recommended but I think does occasionally have its uses in unusual documents.

You mean like this? -- here is how to use free format bibliography items (the file example.bib would normally be external but here it is embedded within the example). However you are going to find it impossible to extract parts of it as you suggest. It is surely a lot easier just to craft an appropriate output for properly entered data, than to parse your free-form entry.

If your text citation is going to be consistent for each entry you could manually insert that into a different field and use that directly. I have appropriated the abstract field for this purpose below.

\documentclass [12pt]{article}

    sorting=none] % List citation in order they appear




  note = {Smith, P \& Benn, J 2012, This is a freeform reference, Panamanian Journal of Toenail Clippings},

  note = {This is just a note but could be a reference if you like and bits could be \textbf{bold for} example},

  note = {Blogs, P \& Frog, J 2012, This is a freeform reference, Panamanian Journal of Hairball Research},
  abstract =  {(Blogs \& Frog, 2012)}




Beware the Jabberwock my son\cite{note:note44}, the jaws that bite\cite{note:bassnote,note:alien}. 

This takes the abstract field for\cite{note:note44} and punches it out \citeabstract{note:note44}.



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  • I think the OP wants authoryear-style citation call-outs.
    – Mico
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 10:24
  • But he also seems to want to manually enter the exact form of each citation. Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 10:28
  • The material for the citation call-outs can be provided manually as well, in the optional argument of each \bibitem.
    – Mico
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 10:38
  • Thanks your reply Aubrey, that is what I find, but this code is not running on my computer... I've win7 x64, TeXLive 2015 distribution and TeXStudio 2.10.4
    – Feri
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 13:23
  • What do you mean not running? - how are you running it, and what is the error message? You need to run biblatex. Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 15:22

You'll need to

  • load the natbib citation management package with options round and authoryear:

    \usepackage[round, authoryear]{natbib}
  • add an "optional" argument, in square brackets, to each and every bibitem, e.g.,

    \bibitem[Balassy \emph{et~al.}(1989)]{balassy}
     Balassy Z., Huszar I., Csizmadia B. (1989): Determination of Poisson’s ratio in elastic oedometer, 4th ICPPAM Int.\ Conf., Rostock, Proceeding, Vol.~1, pp.\ 26--30.


  • use \citep{balassy} to generate the desired "parenthetical" citation call-out; use \citet for "textual" citation call-outs.

Notes: (a) no space before (1989) in the optional argument of \bibitem; (b) leave a blank one above and below each \bibitem; (c) if you must number the bib entries, say from [1] to [n], the formatted numbers can be entered immediately after each bibitem key (the argument in curly braces).

  • Thanks for the help Mico, it's working! :D One little problem more: The numbering of bibitems: If I write the numbers in square brackets after the bibitem key, it isn't so nice in case of two-digit numbers... Is it the correct way for numbering? Thanks a lot!
    – Feri
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 13:19
  • @Feri - Please be a bit more specific about what "isn't so nice". Also, have you tried to replace \begin{thebibliography}{1} with \begin{thebibliography}{99}?
    – Mico
    Commented Feb 10, 2016 at 15:11
  • I tried \begin{thebibliography}{99} but nothing changed... The problem is: I would like to get a normal numerated list format (like in case of \enumerated{} environment). In this way the horizontal space between the number and a bibitem not equal in all cases. Actually, if I have multilined bibitem, the start of 1st line is not in the same horizontal position than the 2nd an 3rd lines... Thanks for your help! ;)
    – Feri
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 7:03

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