In previous years I used to rely on good old (tm) BibTeX for my bibliography files. But nowadays, one should use BibLaTeX with biber as replacement for BibTeX. Hence, I would love to convince my emacs, to use BibLaTeX as its default.

I read get emacs to automatically use biber instead of bibtex and Customising emacs to use biblatex-biber instead of bibtex but those didn't answer my questions/didn't work for me sufficiently.

For example, I would love to open a new, fresh and empty bibliography file new.bib. In that buffer, Emacs still assumes to use BibTeX, as one can easy check in the menu-bar "Entry-Types". It presents the classical set of BibTeX entry types. @Online and other new types from BibLaTeX are missing or not presented.

Choosing the "BibTeX dialect" sub menu in the said menu proves, that Emacs still uses BibTeX as dialect. I would be pleased, if the other option "BibLaTeX" would be chosen automatically instead.

My .emacs file contains this:

(setq LaTeX-biblatex-use-Biber t)
(setq TeX-command-BibTeX "Biber")

which seems not to be sufficient enough.

What did I miss?


Customize the variable bibtex-dialect to biblatex:

bibtex-dialect is a variable defined in bibtex.el.
Its value is BibTeX

This variable is safe as a file local variable if its value satisfies the predicate symbolp.
You can customize this variable.

Documentation: Current BibTeX dialect. For allowed values see bibtex-dialect-list. To interactively change the dialect use the command bibtex-set-dialect.

If you don't like the customize interface, add

(setq bibtex-dialect 'biblatex)

to your init file. The advantage is that customize will not overwrite this variable once bibtex.el is loaded. Hence, you don't need a construct like:

(with-eval-after-load "bibtex"
  (bibtex-set-dialect 'biblatex))

You can add

(bibtex-set-dialect 'biblatex)

to your Emacs initialization.

  • Thank you @pst, that did the trick! – Jan Dec 4 '19 at 12:59
  • Addendum: you should also add (require 'bibtex) before (bibtex-set-dialect 'biblatex) into your .emacs file. – Jan Dec 4 '19 at 13:46

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