I have created a custom .bst file with makebst. I managed to reformat the thebibliography-environment entries look by editing the .bst file by hand. This wasn't a hard task.

But, now I would like to reformat the look of the \cite[]{}-entries in the actual text.

I am using csquotes package and managed to change the look of \textquote entries with:

\renewcommand{\mkcitation}[1]{~\rm \small #1}

\textquote[{\cite[1]{Foobar01}}]{Blah Blah.}

But when I use ordinary cites:

Blah blah.\cite[1]{Foobar01}

I can't find a part in the .bst file that defines how these are formatted. Also I could not find a parameter in the csquotes package that would change the format of all cites, as \cite is not a csquote command.

I could go around this problem by using \textquote everywhere, but I feel that it's semantically incorrect. After all, citations are NOT quotes.

So I would be very grateful if someone could tell me how I can reformat the look of \cite entries even in documents that don't use csquotes or other packages, just a custom .bst style.


I am not using cite nor natbib packages.

My \cite entries are formatted as [Foo01] or [Foo01, 15-39] with page numbers in the PDF. All I want to do is to change their formatting, not contents. I would like all \cite to appear in the final PDF with a certain font size (for example with size \tiny and with color red).

With csquotes I was able to do \renewcommand{\mkcitation}[1]{~\rm \small #1} which changed all csquotes cites into small roman font.

What would be the way to format all normal \cite in a similar way?

If this is not enough I'm not sure if I understand what kind of additional information you need.

  • @user1942: Please provide more information. Do you use packages like cite or natbib? What is the general citation style you're using (numeric, author-year, ...)? How should the different parts of the \cite-output (numeral, author name, year, page numbers) be reformatted? (A complete example would be even better.)
    – lockstep
    Nov 16, 2010 at 20:06
  • @user1942: The .bst file does not affect how \cite works, so as lockstep says we need more detail on what output you need.
    – Joseph Wright
    Nov 17, 2010 at 6:59

1 Answer 1


One approach to changing the formatting of a part of a document is to save the original macro and then create a new definition. In this case, you might try


Here, I've grabbed both of the arguments for the \cite macro, and then set up the text formatting before using the 'real' \cite to do the actual citation. I'd point out that this will work if you do switch to something like the cite package for superscript citations. However, you say that you are not doing that, so hopefully it will work.

  • I'd point out that while this should work, I'm not really sure why you want to do these odd things with your citations. The usual requirements are superscripts or hyperlinks, which can be handled using the cite and hyperref packages, respectively.
    – Joseph Wright
    Nov 17, 2010 at 18:55
  • I've used it merely as typographic sugar for more appealing citation markings (colors, oldstyle numbers etc.).
    – piksi
    May 28, 2011 at 22:37

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .