I have a main.bib file called that I am trying to incorporate into an amsart document. I orginally had


but I wanted to switch plain to amsplain. I was under the impression that amsplain gives square brackets for bibliography items, but it gave me numbered (1., 2., etc.) instead. Are the default settings for it to be in square brackets? How can I change the nunbering to square brackets? I can't post my code right now as the document is personal, but I will try to make a MWE in another file. In any case, I'm happy with how the rest of amsplain format looks, so I really just want a way to change to square brackets.

EDIT: I played around with the code. It seems that using article gives the correct output for amsplain but if you use amsmath, everything is identical except [1] becomes 1. (e.g.). I would have thought that amsmath and amsplain together would give the desired output, but apparently not. I've seen papers submitted to AMS journals with the desired formatting of both amsart and amsplain so this should be possible. Any idea how to give square brackets when loading both amsart and amsplain?


2 Answers 2


Using amsref will give you square brackets, cf. http://mirrors.ctan.org/info/amscls-doc/Author_Handbook_Journals.pdf:




Alan Sokal~\cite{Sokal96} recommends Bourbaki’s
text~\cite{Bourbaki70} for a gentle introduction to set theory.



enter image description here

The amsplain output -- for comparison -- looks like this:

enter image description here


amsart defines the default label style for bibliographies thus:


I haven't checked amsplain.bst to see if it overrides this, but I suspect it may not. Therefore, if you put this in your preamble, it should add the brackets you are expecting:


Not tested.

  • Works with amsart + amsplain
    – DG'
    May 2, 2023 at 20:26
  • 1
    @DG' -- Thanks for the confirmation. May 2, 2023 at 20:37

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