I am using the following syntax, with no errors or warnings. However, the journal names are still not abbreviated. I compiled the file numerous times, as well as the bibliography. Everything compiles with no errors.

The syntax:


Additional info: I am using BibDesk and TeXStudio on a macbook.

Do you have any idea what might be the issue? and how to solve it? Thank you.


Example entry from the IEEEabrv file:

@STRING{IEEE\_M\_COM        = "{IEEE} Commun. Mag."}

Example entry from my references file:

    Author = {Test, T.},
    Journal = {IEEE\_M\_COM },
    Month = {September}
  • 1
    Please show us (a) a couple of representative bib entries in references.bib and (b) both the actual and desired forms of the journal names. In particular, do your bib entries contain fields such as journal = IEEE_J_AC or, rather, journal = "{IEEE} Transactions on Automatic Control"?
    – Mico
    Commented Apr 10, 2016 at 9:18
  • If you want to use the abbreviation, you should have journal=IEEE_M_COM, (no braces and no backslashes).
    – egreg
    Commented Apr 10, 2016 at 11:05
  • @egreg but then I get the "missing $ inserted" error because of the underscores
    – HappyBee
    Commented Apr 10, 2016 at 11:06
  • related: Underscores in Citation > Error missing $
    – Johannes_B
    Commented Apr 10, 2016 at 11:06
  • @Mico I added an example. The IEEEabrv file is compiled/loaded first then my references file. So it should work. Any thoughts why it isn't working?
    – HappyBee
    Commented Apr 10, 2016 at 11:07

1 Answer 1


A predefined string should not be inside braces; you must use it literally, in this case with no backslash. TeX won't see the underscores, because BibTeX will do the substitution.

    Author = {Test, T.},
    Journal = IEEE_M_COM,
    Month = {September}






I used filecontents just for the convenience of a self-contained example. Fix your references.bib file and use that.

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