I was trying to follow https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/33379/21586 but it seems like i have a problem with the bst file (before i even make any changes in the answer).

I did the following:

  1. kpsewhich plain.bst
  2. cp <path from above> <path where my .tex and .bib files are>/myplainbib.bst
  3. change \bibliographystyle{plain} to \bibliographystyle{myplainbib}
  4. build (i'm using LaTeXTools with Sublime Text 3)

i get the following:

Package natbib Error: Bibliography not compatible with author-year citations. [...mand\NAT@force@numbers{}\NAT@force@numbers]

What's going on? That's without changing the bst at all.

1 Answer 1


I take it you're using the natbib citation management package with the option authoryear.

The plain bibliography style is set up to only produce numeric-style citation callouts. Making a copy of plain.bst and naming it myplainbib.bst -- unsurprisingly... -- does not change the (lack of) capabilities of the plain style with regard to the way citation call-outs can be formatted.

If you're OK with the formatting that plain applies to the typeset bibliographic entries but wish to produce authoryear-style citation call-outs, you should use the plainnat bibliography style, which is part of the natbib citation management package, for the basis of the modifications described in https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/33379/5001.

  • not knowing what i'm doing at all, i followed your suggestion (i think) and did kpsewhich plainnat.bst and copied and modified and referred to that style instead. That seemed to work.
    – Michael
    Sep 11, 2016 at 18:52
  • @Michael - Good to know my suggestion worked for you. :-)
    – Mico
    Sep 11, 2016 at 19:38

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