# How to use the IEEEtran style for \printbibliography

I need to comply with a certain paper template,

\documentclass[conference]{IEEEtran}
% I do not know what the command below does but it was present in the template file.
\def\BibTeX{{\rm B\kern-.05em{\sc i\kern-.025em b}\kern-.08em
T\kern-.1667em\lower.7ex\hbox{E}\kern-.125emX}}

\begin{document}
Content with citation \cite{key}
\begin{thebibliography}{00}
\bibitem{key} Manual citation text
\end{thebibliography}


However, I have used a more automated approach with a separate bibliography file,

\documentclass[conference]{IEEEtran}
\usepackage[backend=biber,sorting=none,style=ieee,url=false]{biblatex}

\begin{document}
Content with citation \cite{key}
\printbibliography
\end{document}


This works well, except that the formatting is completely different (much larger text, different margins). How can I apply the style used in the thebibliography environment to the \printbibliography command?

• Pretty much a duplicate of tex.stackexchange.com/q/386709/35864 (I should have searched for a duplicate before I wrote the answer), but the answer here is more detailed. – moewe Oct 29 at 20:45
• Maybe a reverse dupe might be more appropriate given that the answer here now covers everything the other answer mentions? – moewe Oct 29 at 20:52

If you are submitting a paper to IEEE transactions, journals or proceedings, you should not be using biblatex (and its \printbibliography command) at all.

The IEEEtran package comes with several BibTeX styles that you can use if you want to generate your bibliography from .bib files. The package documentation explains

Bibliographies are most easily (and correctly) generated using the IEEEtran BibTeX package [IEEEtran BibTeX package documentation] which is easily invoked via

\bibliographystyle{IEEEtran}
\bibliography{IEEEabrv,mybibfile}


A document for IEEE submission might look like this

\documentclass[conference]{IEEEtran}

\begin{document}
Content with citation \cite{IEEEexample:articlelargepages}

\bibliographystyle{IEEEtran}
\bibliography{IEEEabrv,IEEEexample}
\end{document}


Note that it is recommended to replace the line \bibliography{IEEEabrv,IEEEexample} with the copy-and-pasted contents of the .bbl file for submission.

Note also what the author of biblatex-ieee has to say about the aim of his project in https://github.com/josephwright/biblatex-ieee/pull/22

[biblatex-ieee] should never be used with IEEEtrans. The latter has an official BibTeX style which (like all journal-type submissions) must be used as specified by the publisher. The biblatex-ieee bundle is for users of biblatex who want an IEEE (like) bibliography style. The most obvious use case to me is theses, though grant proposals, book chapters, etc. would also fall into the same potential spectrum.

That is, incidentally, one of the reasons why biblatex-ieee does not change the font size for the references, see also https://github.com/josephwright/biblatex-ieee/issues/37 and https://github.com/josephwright/biblatex-ieee/issues/49. biblatex-ieee only emulates the bibliography style (in the sense of presentation of bibliography information) and not the exact typography of the bibliography.

If you still want to use biblatex-ieee and want to emulate the typography of the bibliography more closely, you will want to change \bibfont as well as \biblabelsep and \bibitemsep.

\documentclass[conference]{IEEEtran}

\usepackage[backend=biber, style=ieee, url=false]{biblatex}

\renewcommand*{\bibfont}{\footnotesize}
\setlength{\biblabelsep}{\labelsep}
\setlength{\bibitemsep}{\IEEEbibitemsep}

\begin{document}
Content with citation \cite{IEEEexample:articlelargepages}

\printbibliography
\end{document}


The typographic formatting of the bibliography is usually controlled by the document class via the implementation of thebibliography. Since BibTeX generally produces a thebibliography environment, both manually generated bibliographies as well as BibTeX-generated bibliographies will have the same typographic style.
biblatex, on the other hand, has a completely different way of typesetting the bibliography and does not use thebibliography at all. That means that IEEEtran's typographic bibliography settings are not automatically applied to biblatex-generated bibliographies.