I am writing a paper in IEEEtrans format using Tex, and I use \cite{cmm1,cmm2,cmm3,cmm5}, but when compiling, Latex show them in separate brackets as [1], [2], [3], [4].

How can I fix that?

  • Most likely if you posted a minimum working example (a "MWE") it would attract more answers. meta.tex.stackexchange.com/questions/3343/what-makes-a-good-mwe – A Feldman Jul 31 '16 at 1:52
  • Are you using a citation management package such as cite or natbib? – Mico Jul 31 '16 at 2:01
  • I'm not using anything...just the regular \cite given the IEEE style. – Tina J Jul 31 '16 at 2:06
  • You should try loading the cite package. If you do that, issuing the command \cite{cmm1,cmm2,cmm3,cmm5} should produce [1-4] as its output. – Mico Jul 31 '16 at 2:21
  • 2
    This is by design: the IEEE specify that each reference number should have brackets, rather than the brackets appearing around the entire set of numbers. – Joseph Wright Jul 31 '16 at 6:40

In order to generate the refereces with in a pair of square bracket, you can use the package natbib with option numbers. If you need sorting of reference and compressing using ndash, then the option sort&compress can be used.


A MWE which will work:






\blindtext. This shows how to cite \cite{cite1,cite2,cite3,cite4} in text.

\bibitem{cite1} First bib.

\bibitem{cite2} Second bib.

\bibitem{cite3} Third bib.

\bibitem{cite4} Fourth bib.


Output when sort&compress option is used:

enter image description here

Output when sort&compress option is not used:

enter image description here

There is also cite package when used \usepackage{cite} by replacing \usepackage[numbers,sort&compress]{natbib} in the above MWE will yield the following output:

enter image description here

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks. But I don't know why when I use \usepackage[numbers,sort&compress]{natbib} it increases the font size of the references, so I get out of page limits! – Tina J Jul 31 '16 at 4:17
  • @TinaJ: For that you need to update either you question with a MWE as show in my answer, which replicate exactly the problem. – Jagath Jul 31 '16 at 5:29

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