I am having some difficulty using French letters in my LaTeX document. In my bibliography, I have this reference:

  title={A Cinematography System for Virtual Storytelling},
  author={Nicolas Courty and Fabrice Lamarche and Stéphane Donikian and Éric Marchand},
  journal={Lecture Notes in Computer Science},

But what I get in the references section of my document is this:

[CLDÃM03] C OURTY N., L AMARCHE F., D ONIKIAN S., ÃL'RIC M ARCHAND: A cinematography system for virtual storytelling. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (2003), 30–34.

Obviously, the abbreviation is incorrect. It should be CLDM03 (the first letter of the last names of the authors), but also there are some strange letters in the names!

Any idea how that could be fixed?

By the way, just in case you are wondering, I already have texlive-full installed.

1 Answer 1


Which BibTeX are you using? BibTeX8 is an 8-bit implementation, but the original BibTeX is only 7-bit and will not cope with accents at all well. Even if you do use BibTeX8, there are lots of accents it cannot cope with, and you'll need to give them in escaped form, for example

{\'E}ric Marchand

This is why there is so much interest in BibTeX replacements which are UTF-8 capable, in particular biber.

  • I executed bibtex --version on command line and I got: BibTeX 0.99c (TeX Live 2009/Debian) kpathsea version 5.0.0 Copyright 2009 Oren Patashnik. What version is that?!
    – Rafid
    Dec 14, 2010 at 14:22
  • @Rafid. That's just 7-bit BibTeX: you need to use bibtex8, either at the command line or from your editor.
    – Joseph Wright
    Dec 14, 2010 at 14:43
  • @Joseh, Oh, I see, I thought the 8 is something like a version. Oh, yeah, I do have bibtex8. Thanks man!
    – Rafid
    Dec 14, 2010 at 15:55
  • Both BibTeX and BibTeX8 don't play well with {\"{u}}, right?
    – Kit
    Jan 20, 2011 at 16:54
  • @Kit. Usually this is fine. If you've got a particular issue, post a separate question with an example.
    – Joseph Wright
    Jan 20, 2011 at 19:44

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