I recently had an article accepted in a scientific journal. However, the LaTeX template provided by the journal does not match their style guide. The editors have asked me to 'manually' change the latex document so it matches their style. They do not have a latex template which matches their referencing style guide.

How would you recommend approaching this problem? Would it be easiest to manually write the bibliography by hand, matching their style, without using Bibtex at all? Or is it relatively straightforward to create a custom .bst. Looking through some existing .bsts, they are often thousands of lines of code and quite intimidating!


  • 1
    I would first report the discrepancy to the journal's editorial office, and ask for advice there. Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 18:35
  • @barbarabeeton apologies, see my edits. The editorial office were not able to supply a bst file or other template.
    – tom
    Commented Mar 21, 2023 at 20:40

1 Answer 1


To answer my own question...

In the end, the easiest approach was the manual one. First, I compiled the code with the incorrect bibliography style. This generated a bunch of supplementary files, including a .bbl file we will use in a second. Next, I deleted the lines in the tex file referencing the .bib and .bst files:


and replaced these lines with the entire content of the .bbl file. This file contains formatted references. If I compile the latex document, I now get the same result as before. Finally, I made manual changes to the formatted references I had copied from my .bbl file to my .tex file, so that the formatting matched the journal's requirements. This took about an hour for 60 references: it's not too time-consuming a task if it only needs to be done once.

I should also note that you can make custom .bst files by running:

latex makebst

in the terminal. I found this helpful in generating a .bst file that was close to what the journal wanted, but I still needed to do a little manual tweaking to get things exactly right.

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