The solution provided here

Make one author's name bold every time it shows up in the bibliography

does unfortunately not work, as soon as the Author's name contains special characters, e.g. Hans M{\"u}ller? How can this problem be solved?

2 Answers 2


The following modification of this answer seems to work if you use the plain bib style:

  \StrSubstitute{#2}{Hans M{\"u}ller}{\textbf{Hans M{\"u}ller}}\par}


author={M{\"u}ller, Gerd},
title={Scoring goals},
journal={J. Applied Soccer},
author={M{\"u}ller, Hans},
title={Splitting hairs},
journal={J. Abstract Tetrapiloctomy},



  \StrSubstitute{#2}{Hans M{\"u}ller}{\textbf{Hans M{\"u}ller}}\par}





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  • Well, the simple example indeed works, but if I use a more complex example, e.g. with the web.sty and URLs, I receive the error message(s): unaway argument? ... ! Paragraph ended before \BR@c@bibitem was complete. <to be read again> \par Mar 13, 2012 at 21:26
  • @PatrickJöckel This is not a forum, but a "question and answers" site. Please, edit the original question, rather than adding "non answers". You need to register, though. A moderator will merge the "different identities".
    – egreg
    Mar 13, 2012 at 21:29
  • Thank you, @egreg! This is an excellent answer. Jan 12, 2019 at 5:02
  • @egreg I'm hoping to use this method with the \makebold command (tex.stackexchange.com/questions/470783/…) instead of StrSubstitute. However, only the last bibliography entry works. Any suggestions? Jan 19, 2019 at 3:37
  • @AdamErickson You probably are not separating a \bibitem from the next with a blank line.
    – egreg
    Jan 19, 2019 at 9:34

I finally found a straightforward solution by modifying the .bbl-file with sed:

bibtex mydoc

mv my.bbl my.bbl.ori 

cat my.bbl.ori | tr '\n' '\t' | sed 's/\(M{\\\"u}ller, *\t* *H.\)/\\textbf{\1}/g'  | tr '\t' '\n' > my.bbl

The trick is to convert newlines to tabs in order to enable sed to wrap the name into \texbf{...}, even if there is a newline in between.

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