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I am writing a document, in which I re-use a figure from an article. Some values in the figure are obtained from certain models, and the label (in the figure) for these datapoints contain references to the papers describing those models/results. Editing the citation number in the figure itself is risky, since I might add another citation before the figure, and then forget to adjust the number in the figure again, and I anyway prefer not to edit the figure. My bibliography is sorted by when the entry is first cited in the document, and I found one option where I place a \nocite{ref} in the text at the correct place. The problem with this approach is again the risk of adding another citation before the \nocite entry, which would then give me an incorrect citation number if I am not careful. The ideal situation would be to force the bibliography entry to have a certain number, as this would only be need to set once and forgotten. Is this possible?

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    This seems like a very one-off problem which might warrant a manual fix to the figure at the final stages of the document. But your suggested solution won't really work if the references are supposed to be in order of appearance. But why not use TikZ to annotate the figure; then you can include actual citations in the image that will adjust properly. See Drawing on an image with TikZ. – Alan Munn Jul 14 '16 at 18:36
  • Perfect! Thanks for your reply! Using tikz with a \cite within the text there worked very well. And as you say, this makes it a bit more tidy as the reference comes in the correct order as well. – Pil Jul 14 '16 at 20:39
  • Great. I'll turn my comment into an answer then. – Alan Munn Jul 14 '16 at 20:50
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Your suggested solution won't really work if the references are supposed to be in order of appearance, since fixing a reference number will almost certainly make that reference end up out of order some of the time.

But there's a simpler way to do this: use TikZ to annotate the figure; then you can include actual citations in the image annotations that will adjust properly.

See the following question for how to do this.

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