I would like the numeric citation call-outs to some of the entries of my bibliography to be in bold. Thus, citations in the main text should look something like:

A nice summary may be found in [7]. See also [1, 3, 7, 26, 38] for further background information.

And likewise, in the bibliography, these entries should appear as:

[1] M. Miller, A not so short introduction to idiosyncracy (2006).

[2] C. Cartwheel, Spinning: clock- and anticlockwise perspectives (1998).


[7] B. Bold, The min-max principle in hereditary convolution (2015).

Specifically, the entries of my .bib-file that I'd like to appear in bold are those of a certain author. But this is not the crucial point—I'm perfectly willing to add some additional special markup to these entries, or to provide a separate list of the entry names.

Is there any way to achieve this?

I am currently using plain bibtex. I would certainly be happy to switch to something more advanced, but rewriting the whole .bib-file in a different format is not an option.

Here's a minimal non-working example document …


  A nice summary may be found in \cite{bb15}. 
  See also \cite{aaaa08,bb15,cc04,mm06} for 
  further background information.


… together with a fairly minimal file minimal.bib:

 author = {Ant, A. and Aunt, A.},
 title = {The Rises and Falls of Fools and Balls},
 year = {2008},
 author = {Bold, B.},
 title = {The min-max principle in hereditary convolution},
 year = {2015},
 author = {Cartwheel, C.},
 title = {Spinning: clock- and anticlockwise perspectives},
 year = {2004},
 title={A not so short introduction to idiosyncracy},
 author={Miller, M.},
  • Using biblatex you might have to add a key field to the entries you want the number of in bold. Is it too much? – Bernard Jul 19 '17 at 18:49
  • No. If that does the job it's definitely not too much. – Communicative Algebra Jul 19 '17 at 19:15
  • 1
    OK. Could you post a minimal code (and .bib file) that we can play with? – Bernard Jul 19 '17 at 19:26

Here is an alternative with biblatex, in case you think it might be an alternative for you.

One possibility would be to create a category and add the entries you like to see in bold and then format the entries of the category:






  A nice summary may be found in \cite{bb15}. 
  See also \cite{aaaa08,bb15,cc04,mm06} for 
  further background information.



Resulting in:

enter image description here

You could also do this using keywords, as suggested by Bernard. In this case, you should add keywords={bold} (or whatever other keyword you'd like, as long as it corresponds to the definitions below) to the entries of interest in your .bib file, and then use:


As far as I remember, I've seen here in this site a way to select the entries by the author's name, but I couldn't find.

  • In correcting my answer, I found moewe's tex.stackexchange.com/a/263057/105447, so I made this CW. – gusbrs Jul 19 '17 at 22:29
  • 1
    This is exactly what I was looking for! I had to add backend=bibtex as a package option to biblatex for the minimal example to compile. With this minor addition, the solution works perfectly (also for the real-world document). – Communicative Algebra Jul 20 '17 at 5:47
  • Glad to hear it. Well, given the bibtex prepared bib file, in your case it makes perfect sense to use backend=bibtex (if you have non ascii content in there, you might be interested too in bibtex8). But, for the sake of others less thoughtful on the matter, I might well recall that backend=bibtex is now a legacy option from the point of view of biblatex and has limited support for its more advanced features. – gusbrs Jul 20 '17 at 11:20
  • Still, I edited the answer to include the backend which worked for you. – gusbrs Jul 20 '17 at 11:33
  • One tiny problem: it seems that the space reserved for the numbers in the bibliography is computed based on the non-bold entries. If you look very closely at the example output above, you'll see that "C. Cartwheel" is moved a tiny fraction to the right because of the additional width of the [3]. This becomes more visible with 2- or 3-digit numbers in long bibliographies. I managed to fix this manually by adding \settowidth\labelnumberwidth{[\textbf{123}]} just above printbibliography, but presumably that's not the best solution. – Communicative Algebra Jul 21 '17 at 8:35

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