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What to do to switch to biblatex?

It seems like biblatex is the way of the future for handling references in latex. The biblatex documentation file is a massive 288 pages, and not an easy read for beginners. Are there any walk-through or general guides out there on how to use biblatex? I have not found any.

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    See: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/5091/… Jul 27, 2012 at 12:57
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    Also, biblatex for idiots and (for customization) Guidelines for customizing biblatex styles Jul 27, 2012 at 13:05
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    I strongly disagree with the (currently two) votes to close this question: The previously posed questions on this subject are not even close to being substitutes to having a good answer (or, better yet, more than one good answer!) to the important question posed here: Is there a general purpose user guide for biblatex that qualifies as being user-friendly -- especially to those not yet familiar with biblatex? The existing reference manual wisely does not claim to be a user guide.
    – Mico
    Jul 27, 2012 at 13:18
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    biblatex comes with a lot of usage examples, from easy to advanced, you can find them in your TeX tree or on CTAN
    – matth
    Jul 27, 2012 at 13:21
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    I think it might be useful here to define what is meant by a 'general guide'. As some of the comments mention, the basics of switching from 'standard' BibTeX to biblatex require only small source adjustments. On the other hand, creating a biblatex style is like creating a .bst file or a LaTeX package something that I would say is a task for 'programmers', not 'users' at all. (I get occasional messages for my siunitx package saying that the user guide is not sufficiently accessible, but this tends to come down to 'the quick start does not cover my particular use case'.)
    – Joseph Wright
    Jul 27, 2012 at 16:21

1 Answer 1


Are there any walk-through or general guides out there on how to use biblatex? I have not found any.

I'm afraid the reason for your lack of success in finding a walk-through or general guide to the biblatex package is rather simple: No such document appears to have been written so far. As you note, the package's main documentation is very complete; however, it doesn't qualify as a user guide. To be sure, the document does not claim to be a user guide; it wisely notes that it is a "systematic reference manual".

That said, there are some online resources that are quite helpful to get beginners going on their way toward using the biblatex package competently. Some of these resources are contained in the questions (and associated answers) previously posted on TeX.SE and mentioned in the comments posted above. I heartily recommend that you study the information provided in those places. There are also quite a few biblatex experts who participate regularly in TeX.SE; questions posted on this site about biblatex specifics always appear to be answered quickly and in very helpful ways.

  • I disagree with this answer. biblatex doesn't need an extra introduction. The basics of bibliographies in combination with bibtex are the same. The differences are explained in the links in the comments above. Jul 27, 2012 at 14:29
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    @MarcoDaniel - Why would one want to deny new users an introductory-level guide?
    – Mico
    Jul 27, 2012 at 14:51
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    Agreed. When people ask for this sort of guide, I think they're hoping for a walk-through of how to implement a style of some sort, and are daunted by the prospect of going from \DeclareBibliographyDriver to a full bibliography style.
    – jon
    Jul 27, 2012 at 15:12
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    To be honest, everything is in the manual in easy to understand form, including examples. What might be nice is just an introduction of form "What section if I want to do X?" as the table of contents is rather high-level, expecially the "customisation" section which doesn't really tell you what's in there. I might look at this.
    – PLK
    Jul 27, 2012 at 17:52
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    @Audrey -- PLK's offer is definitely most welcome. :-) As the user guide project evolves, I'll be glad to offer constructive feedback. For that matter, I sincerely hope that the critiques I've offered up in this exchange will be interpreted as being constructive in nature as well. The biblatex package is great as it is; it just might well be even greater if it came with a user guide-level companion to the reference manual...
    – Mico
    Jul 27, 2012 at 19:21

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