I apologize if I'm not asking this question correctly. Basically, I have a paper written in latex and I'm submitting it to a new journal. The journal has a specific style they want me to use, and provide a .sty file along with an example .tex file and .bst file. I'm using Overleaf, if that matters.

I just copied the packages at the top of their example .tex file to mine (and got rid of my old ones), but I'm having trouble with the bibliography.

In my original paper, I did the following. I used the package \usepackage[numbers,compress]{natbib}. I had a file, mybiblio.bib, with reference items in this format:

  title={Filtering Color Images in the xyY Color Space.},
  author={Lucchese, Luca and Mitra, Sanjit K},

In the text, I included a reference by doing \cite{lucchese2000filtering}, for example. To include the bibliography, I did:


And it handled it all very nicely. The reference items in my .bib file were in an arbitrary order, but it listed the references at the end in the order they were cited.

Now, this new format seems to do it in a different way. In their reference section, the code they use is:

\bibitem{bib1}P. J. Harshman, T. K. Gustafson, and P. Kelley, ``Title of paper," J. Chem. Phys. {\bfseries 3}, (to be published).

And they have a .bst file that appears to be a bibliography style file.

My question is, how can I use my current .bib file to insert the references in this new format? I have ~50 references and thus really, really can't manually type them out in their new format.

Is there an easy solution I'm missing, especially using Overleaf?

  • 1
    Remove the thebibliography stuff and use natbib like you used to. Use their bst file by changing bibliographystyle accordingly. But i would ask the editors for advice as well, they know best what is needed. – Johannes_B Nov 14 '16 at 17:22
  • Aside: You shouldn't include the extension .bib in the argument of \bibliography. – Mico Nov 14 '16 at 17:39
  • Please tell us (a) the name of the bibliography style file you are being asked to use and (b) what kind of citation call-outs are required by the publisher -- numeric, author-year, or something else? – Mico Nov 14 '16 at 18:20
  • @Johannes_B thank you for the advice. Now it appears to be giving me a compile error, Runaway argument? ]{elliot2007color,mehta2009blue,maier2008mediation,morrot2001color,ro\ETC. Paragraph ended before \@citex was complete. I googled it but it seems like there are many possible causes... Do you know what might be causing it? – YungHummmma Nov 14 '16 at 18:38
  • @Mico Ahh, thank you, I didn't know that. I've gotten rid of the .bib. – YungHummmma Nov 14 '16 at 18:41

In principle, the only thing you should have to do is to replace the line




where xxxx is the name of their .bst file (without the .bst).

The \begin{thebibliography}{99}...\end{thebibliography} stuff is what you get after running bibtex in a .bbl file. Maybe they want you to include that in your main file instead of the bibliography line.

  • It's probably worth stating explicitly that after changing the argument of \bibliographystyle, it is necessary to rerun LaTeX, BibTeX, and LaTeX twice more to fully propagate all changes. (I'm confident that you know this; however, the OP may not be.) Moreover, depending on the citation callout style required by the journal, it may be necessary to load natbib with either the numbers or the authoryear option. – Mico Nov 14 '16 at 17:37
  • Hi, thank you for the response. I changed it to what you said but it's still a little of and I'm confused. For example, in their template document (with the code in my OP), there's a horizontal line above and below the references, that I assume is automatically placed there or something. I'm not very familiar with these Latex reference programs... So if I'm using natbib, which seems to automatically choose and sort my references, do I have to use bibtex instead, to work with their system? Thank you. – YungHummmma Nov 17 '16 at 22:43
  • Hi, I read a thread here which explained to me that natbib uses bibtex, but I'm still a little confused. I don't have a .bbl file, I only have my one .bib file and the journal's .bst file. Do I need to produce that .bbl file or something? Thank you. – YungHummmma Nov 17 '16 at 23:01
  • @YungHummmma - natbib does not use BibTeX, at least not directly. natbib is a LaTeX package; its code is used by LaTeX. At the end of a LaTeX run, various pieces of information are written to the aux file; among these are (a) the name of the bibliography style to the employed by BibTeX, (b) the name(s) of the bib file(s) containing the raw bibliographic entries, and (c) the keys of the entries that are to be cited in the body of the document and to be formatted and typeset in the bibliography. BibTeX uses these three pieces of information to create the bbl file. (... continued ...) – Mico Jul 16 '17 at 8:29
  • (cont'd) During the next run of LaTeX, when the \bibliography statement is encountered, LaTeX looks for the .bbl file and -- assuming it is found and can be read -- inserts the contents of the .bbl file into the input stream to be processed. LaTeX also reads and stores pieces of meta information about each bib item in the bbl file and associates them with the \cite commands contained in the body of the document. During the next LaTeX run, the citation call-outs are completed. This is why a complete compile cycle involving bib items means running LaTeX-BiBTeX-LaTeX-LaTeX. – Mico Jul 16 '17 at 8:36

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