For my writing I am using MS Word and Zotero as bibliography manager. But now I think I am going to move to LaTeX on a Linux box. I just toyed with Texmaker to generate my documents and it works fine so far. But I do not know how to manage my citations.

I found BibDesk and nice integration with TexMate, but it's for Mac.

Are there any similar tools which I can use in Ubuntu ?

  • 2
    I'd be surprised if this question hasn't been asked before, but I can't find a duplicate.
    – Caramdir
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 3:28
  • @Caramdir I also tried :) but didn't find anything, hence my answer.
    – percusse
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 3:31
  • Welcome to TeX.sx! Your question was migrated here from Stack Overflow. Please register on this site, too, and make sure that both accounts are associated with each other, otherwise you won't be able to comment on or accept answers or edit your question.
    – Werner
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 3:35
  • A list of BibTeX tools can be found on CTAN: ctan.org/topic/bibtex-util
    – koppor
    Commented Mar 11 at 20:35

10 Answers 10


JabRef is your Java-based friend.


If you know how to use Zotero and you like it, then you can just stick with it for your citation management. Zotero only needs Firefox, so you can use Zotero with Windows, Linux and Mac (and even sync your files with the Zotero server). Zotero allows export in the .bib format which you want for your LaTeX writing. Go to Zotero->Preferences->Export and change the Default Output format to BibTeX. Exporting your complete bibliography or just some selcted entries to a .bib file is then done with two clicks. How to integrate that .bib file into your LaTeX document and how to cite is a different question, but it is easy and you will find many examples here on this site.

  • 2
    Zotero (by now) also offers a stand-alone version; so you wouldn't need Firefox. Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 18:45
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    +1 for Zotero, for automation of bibliogrpahy using Biblatex + biber + TexStudio, you may want to have a look at my answer here
    – doctorate
    Commented May 18, 2013 at 18:15
  • @nuttyaboutnatty That's useful to know since the Firefox addon always creates hard-to-track down bugs which force me to uninstall it. (I then reinstall after a while, it seems fine and I forget about it until the next issue which I spend ages pinning down before being forced to uninstall it again.)
    – cfr
    Commented Jan 17, 2014 at 0:00

JabRef has already been mentioned, so I'll recommend CiteULike. I have a script that downloads a fresh copy of my BibTeX library, or just citations with a particular tag pertaining to whatever paper I'm writing. A one liner for one of my tags (nv_notes) is

curl "http://www.citeulike.org/bibtex/user/MarkEveritt/tag/nv_notes" > bibliography.bib

The site has tools for culling BibTeX from article pages and editing entries etc, as well as storing papers for access from the internet. I highly recommend it.

  • If you mention CiteULike, you should also mention Connotea and BibSonomy
    – matth
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 9:38
  • True, but I found those to be much less useful for one reason or another. Mendeley and Papers (mac) were also tried. The long and short is that CiteULike has its quirks, but its much more of a BibTeX manager than the others are, and it's easy to handle said quirks.
    – qubyte
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 9:45
  • That is funny, because I had just the opposite impression... :-) I especially like the BibSonomy-JabRef plugin.
    – matth
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 9:54
  • One of those things I guess! I have been using CiteULike for a long time, so it may simply be that I'm biased against the shift it would require.
    – qubyte
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 9:56
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    If you use biblatex and \addbibresource[location=remote]{} you don't even need your one-liner curl command, but can directly use the remote bib-file, as described in the related question tex.stackexchange.com/questions/21439/…
    – matth
    Commented Nov 9, 2011 at 13:43

You can use Zotero on Linux as well, though I haven't used it myself, so how one would integrate it with e.g. TeXmaker, I do not know.

Another option is Mendeley. Just as in JabRef, you can copy citation commands directly from the Mendeley database with Ctrl + K and paste this into your editor of choice, but I do not know if you can get the kind of integration as seen with TextMate and BibDesk. I can also mention that Mendeley allows you to search and add documents from a variety of databases, and you can sync your library with one or more BibTeX-files (which can be set up in the Tools --> Options).


I'm working on a university class for years, and answer request every day to improve the class and keep it up to date! So every month I try all tools to manage your bib and all latex editors. I have created a great introduction about mendeley (it's definitely running on ubuntu). Mendeley is the most powerful tool today. Reason could be that it was created by some brainy last.fm team members and then bought and now distributed by Elsevier which is the major journal for medical, technical works worldwode. So if you wanna check out my introduction and an ultimate citing workflow, see on my website: http://maltehelmhold.com/ultimate-latex-cite-guide/

good luck with all your latex work out there;)

  • 3
    Went looking, but: 404 - Not Found The page you are trying to access does not exist. If this error persists, please contact the website webmaster.
    – sgmoye
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 12:28
  • While the link is down I did find a bibliography tutorial by Malte Helmhold on tu-dresden.de/bu/wirtschaft/winf/digital-health/ressourcen/… (starting around page 50). However it uses JabRef and it is in German.
    – Marijn
    Commented Nov 14, 2023 at 10:01

On Linux, there is also the GNOME Referencer which is maybe not as powerful as Jabref, but 'look-and-feel' quite close to BibDesk. Still, BibDesk is esentially the only application I'm missing from switching from Mac to Linux.

  • JabRef is powerful? That's news to me...
    – einpoklum
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 22:44

For those users who are not limited by Ubuntu, I would add bibMacros for WinEdt, the TeX editor for Windows. IMHO, bibMacros is the best bibtex tool of those which can be integrated into WinEdt. bibMacros can be downloaded from winedt.org but unfortunately only for WinEdt v.5.6. It is known though that bibMacros works also under WinEdt v.6.0 after some durty dancing.

  • This does not answer the question...
    – qubyte
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 5:02
  • @MarkS.Everitt: one more evidence of Ubuntu users bellicosity. It is general practise for this forum to provide wider answer than initially requested. Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 11:21
  • I use mac and windows for the most part actually, although, admittedly, I am typing this comment on Ubuntu since I'm at home and working. The original comment was from a mac I use at work. I down voted you because you didn't answer the stated question, which specified Ubuntu.
    – qubyte
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 12:37

For KDE, there is KBibTeX and KBib, as well as the Desktop-agnostic possibilities offered by some of the options mentioned in other answers. I should say that I haven't used either. I just use .bib files in whatever TeX editor I happen to be using (Kile at the moment, TeXShop before that) so I can't comment on how well they work.

Note that KBib seems to have originated as a project for Ubuntu but now seems to be independent of that distro? (Is that right? I'm just guessing from web search results.)


I'm not entirely sure whether this answers the question, but I'm using tkbibtex (https://github.com/petercorke/tkbibtex) to edit my BibTeX entries, so maybe you want to try this one. Requires Tcl/Tk (wish).


I had a really good time using "LyX – The Document Processor". The latest edition is from Nov 2013. It is a Latex editor that follows the WYSIWYM paradigm of document creation, which can be a little weird at first but allows much greater flexibility, and works pretty well for Latex, in my opinion.

The best part is that some good souls created LyZ, the Lyx-Zotero integration, also as an add-on for Firefox. This way you one can continue using the great software that is Zotero while writing in Latex.

  • Such programs take away the advantage of LaTeX, it being not what-you-see-is-all-you'll-ever-get.
    – vonbrand
    Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 7:50

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