I have a problem with below title in my bibliography. For some reason it won't linebreak correctly and instead runs into the margins of my document. I have found posts dealing with how to add linebreaks for URLs but nothing about article titles in the bibliography. Does anybody know what I might be able to do here?

Here is a picture of what I get as output: enter image description here


\hoffset=-25.4mm \textwidth=170mm \oddsidemargin=20mm
\voffset=-25.4mm \textheight=245mm \topmargin=13.5mm
\headheight=6mm \headsep=6.9mm \footskip=6.9mm


author = {Debnath, Mainak and Dutta, Arpan and Biswas, Surajit and Das, Kalyan Kumar and Lee, Hon Man and V{\'{i}}cha, Jan and Marek, Radek and Marek, Jaromir and Ali, Mahammad},
doi = {10.1016/j.poly.2013.07.013},
file = {:D$\backslash$:/pmj27/Mendeley/Library/Debnath et al. - 2013 - Catalytic oxidation of aromatic hydrocarbons by mono-oxido-alkoxidovanadium(V) complexes of ONNO donor ethylened.pdf:pdf},
issn = {02775387},
journal = {Polyhedron},
keywords = {benzoic acid,ethylenediamine- bis,phenolate,terpenes,toluene},
mendeley-tags = {benzoic acid,terpenes,toluene},
month = {oct},
pages = {189--198},
publisher = {Elsevier Ltd},
title = {{Catalytic oxidation of aromatic hydrocarbons by mono-oxido-alkoxidovanadium(V) complexes of ONNO donor ethylenediamine-bis(phenolate) ligands}},
url = {http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S027753871300538X},
volume = {63},
year = {2013}


  • Your minimal document seems to work properly. But you could simply add \sloppy before the \printbibliography command. – Alan Munn Jul 20 '17 at 16:45
  • 1
    Does "alkoxido\-vanadium" sort the issue? – gusbrs Jul 20 '17 at 16:49
  • Strange. I have added a screenshot to show the problem. – P-M Jul 20 '17 at 16:50
  • I have no problem: the word that has to be hyyphenated is complexes. – Bernard Jul 20 '17 at 16:55
  • @Bernard, if you use \textwidth=150mm you'll get something similar to the image included by the OP. – gusbrs Jul 20 '17 at 17:05

You basically have three possibilities for solving this, since TeX doesn't know how to hyphenate these long chemical names.

  1. Add discretionary hyphens \- in the appropriate places in the .bib entries of problematic titles.

  2. Set the bibliography unjustified by putting \raggedright before your \printbibliography command.

    1. Keep the bibliography justified but put \sloppy before your \printbibliography command.

I would try (1) or (2) first, and only resort to (3) if you absolutely must have the bibliography justified.

| improve this answer | |
  • Adding in hyphens unfortunately makes no difference. \sloppy seems to work. Are there any negative consequences in me using \sloppy? – P-M Jul 20 '17 at 17:15
  • @P-M, I tested your example with the manual hyphenation points added, and it does work. As Alan suggested, you will get better results if you don't have to resort to \sloppy. – gusbrs Jul 20 '17 at 17:20
  • For the bibliography, I would really say none at at all. What \sloppy does is increase the interword space slightly to try to avoid overfull boxes. For regular text, this might be noticeable but for the bibliography I don't think it's much of an issue. – Alan Munn Jul 20 '17 at 17:21
  • 2
    @gusbrs Well I would definitely try to add some more discretionary hyphens as well, but personally I wouldn't be too concerned about this. My use of LaTeX has never really been driven by a perfectionist desire for beautiful typography; it has many other independent advantages to me. Heretical, I know :). – Alan Munn Jul 20 '17 at 17:28
  • 1
    Often using \raggedright in front of the bibliography is better looking than making it \sloppy and have one or two entries looking really bad. – Frank Mittelbach Jul 21 '17 at 6:51

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