I'm preparing an application for the NSF GRFP and I'm checking to make sure my research plan conforms to their standards. Looking it over, it looks like LaTeX's thebibliography environment uses a slightly smaller font in the references section. I have the document set to 12 point font, but the references section has a font that looks distinctly smaller. Is this the way thebibliography is supposed to work? How can I find out how small the font is? (I'm using amsart if that helps.)

3 Answers 3


since you're using amsart, you can adjust the size of the font in the bibliography with a single command:

\renewcommand{\bibliofont}{<desired font size>}

the default setting is \newcommand{\bibliofont}{\footnotesize}. if you want the same size type as the main text, then \normalsize is what you should specify.


The amsart document class provides the instruction


and sets up the thebibliography environment as follows:

   \bibliofont % switch to footnote-size text

The amsart also provides the instruction


Finally, if the main document font size is 12pt, \Small works out to be 10pt.


Try this command in your preamble:


And then in a item of your bibliography or where else you want to find the size use the command temporary. You can make it red to find easier like:


Then at the printed bibliography you will see the font size of every place used the \printfontsize command because may be someone have changed font size of title or author etc

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