I'm attempting to make my bibliography numbering style begin with the section number followed by an arabic number for each entry. For example:

25.7      REFERENCES

25.7.1    First Reference
25.7.2    Second Reference

Similar to my previous question on aligning section headers, I would want the bibliography item numbers also in the left margin.

Here's my MWE, which has obvious issues. This is as close as I can get.



%Set page margins

\renewcommand\thesection{25.\arabic{section}}   %Add "25." before section numbering
\setcounter{section}{6}   %Set first section number to "7" for this MWE

\usepackage{etoolbox} %Patch bibliography style to it doesn't go to the next page

\setlength\parindent{0pt}   %no indent for all paragraphs



\renewcommand{\bibname}{} %Remove "Bibliography" header

\renewcommand\bibitem{25.\arabic{section}. }   %Add section number before reference numbering


    \bibitem{Reference 1}

    \bibitem{Reference 2}



enter image description here

  • I assume you're interested in using some kind of numeric style for citation call-outs. Should the citation call-outs continue to appear as [1], [2], etc. in the body of the document, or should they appear as [25.7.1], [25.7.2], etc?
    – Mico
    Apr 6, 2017 at 20:59
  • Citations should appear 25.7.1 in the text, no brackets.
    – grfrazee
    Apr 6, 2017 at 21:01
  • And if cited material is used twice in different sections, I guess it should get the number of the first section it was used in?!
    – Skillmon
    Apr 6, 2017 at 21:05
  • Not entirely sure what you mean, but there is only one References section in the entire document.
    – grfrazee
    Apr 6, 2017 at 21:07
  • Oh. Now I think I get it... You just want them all to be 25.7.xx (where 25.7 is the section 'REFERENCES'). First I thought you wanted them to be numbered after the section they were cited in.
    – Skillmon
    Apr 6, 2017 at 21:18

1 Answer 1


You can do this by patching the internal command \@bibitem, which as standard uses only a simple list counter, and changing the \@biblabel command as follows:

\patchcmd{\@bibitem}{\the\value{\@listctr}}{\thesection.\the\value{\@listctr}}{}{Bib patch failed}

Note that you have already loaded etoolbox and you have already set-up \thesection to produce the information you wish. In the code below, I have removed much of your other formatting set-up that is not relevant to this problem. Further to your comment, I have now added hyperref to show it works with this (you just need to be careful about the execution order) and have added further adjustments to the bibliography environment and \@biblabel so the labels are printed in the margin.

Sample output




\patchcmd{\@bibitem}{\the\value{\@listctr}}{\thesection.\the\value{\@listctr}}{}{Bib patch failed}
\def\@biblabel#1{\llap{[\thesection.#1]\ }}




\cite{R1} and \cite{R2}


\bibitem{R1} Reference 1

\bibitem{R2} Reference 2

\section{More text}


\section{More references}

\bibitem{S1} Reference 3


The above prints the labels right aligned followed by a space before the left margin. If you wished to copy your section labelling style exactly then use the following definition for \@biblabel instead:

  • This does work, but I realized that it conflicts with the hyperref package that I'm using if I don't load hyperref after your additions for the bib numbering. However, it doesn't account for the margin spacing concerns I brought up via reference to my previous question. Any thoughts on that?
    – grfrazee
    Apr 11, 2017 at 13:36
  • Thanks for the update. Where you have \labelwidth as the width of the left margin, how would one change this to be 0.75in? I have the section numbers in a 0.75in-wide margin in the rest of the document, and having the reference numbers align left with these is the desired effect.
    – grfrazee
    Apr 13, 2017 at 15:29
  • You misunderstand, the \labelwidth is in code that is being deleted from the standard definition. Anyway all you need is a different definition of \@biblabel now added to my answer at the end. Apr 16, 2017 at 12:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .