I was trying to follow an example of how to use BibTex, which gave the below files:


AUTHOR="John Doe",
TITLE="The Book without Title",
PUBLISHER="Dummy Publisher",

and test.tex



Random citation \cite{DUMMY:1} embeddeed in text.




I use vim as an editor, with pdfLaTeX to compile from the command line and am wondering how to use BibTeX with my current system. This suggestion doesn't seem to work for me, though I didn't understand beyond the 4 steps listed.

  • 2
    (1) welcome, (2) remember you have to run bibtex on the generated .aux file. In general it is pdflatex, bibtex, pdflate, pdflatex
    – daleif
    Sep 14, 2018 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


If you use the command \bibliography{lesson7a1} in your LaTeX file, then your bibliography file must be named lesson7a1.bib (and not test.bib). The idea behind this is that some users have just one bibliography file that they use in many different LaTeX documents. Therefore, the filename of the .bib file is not always the same as that of the .tex file. (However, if you want your .bib file to be called test.bib, you could of course change the above command to \bibliography{test}).

The website you linked to has the correct information. In your case, you have to run:

 pdflatex test.tex
 bibtex test
 pdflatex test.tex
 pdflatex test.tex

Note that the second command to run is bibtex test and not bibtex lesson7a1; the bibtex command will read the file test.aux and then lesson7a1.bib, and generate the file test.bbl.

  • Thank you very much, I didn’t cop that at all though I should have. Works perfectly now.
    – BitFlow
    Sep 14, 2018 at 15:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.