I'm trying to make a customized bibliography style, and I have downloaded makebst. I open the makebst.tex file in my TeXMaker-editor, and press LaTeX (F2) to compile. But then I get this error:

! Emergency stop.
<read 1>
l.214 Do you want a description of the usage? {NO}
** *(cannot \read from terminal in nonstop modes)

And for you to know: 214 says:

\ask{\yn}{Do you want a description of the usage? (NO)}

I'm not sure what I am supposed to do?? Can anyone help me? As I read it, some kind of dialog box should appear?

  • Welcome to TeX.sx! A tip: If you indent lines by 4 spaces, they'll be marked as a code sample. You can also highlight the code and click the "code" button (with "{}" on it). Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 17:04
  • 2
    I know the following hint isn't related to your question. Instead of makebst I really recommend the usage of biblatex. It is more flexible and allows you to specify your requirements. Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 17:05
  • I concur with Marco Daniel, biblatex is the way to go! :)
    – nickpapior
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 17:10
  • 4
    You must run TeX over makebst.tex in interactive mode from a command shell.
    – egreg
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 17:20
  • (I know I should avoid writing for clarification, but I'm very new into this board.) egreg - can you rewrite that in a "very easy way". I'm not really into "programming". I'm using mac btw. (I'll look at biblatex too) Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 17:42

1 Answer 1


(From an old comment.)

Using makebst is about as straightforward as it can get. Simply open a terminal and type:

tex makebst

At that point you will be prompted to answer a number of questions to determine what style you need.

It does a surprisingly good job, but you are likely to find the resulting style more suited to your needs if you are not expecting to conform to the more complex demands that humanities styles tend to expect and require. If you work in the humanities (and even if you don't), you will find biblatex (and biber) much more suited to your needs. There already exist a great variety of 'base' styles as well as more specialized ones (e.g., APA, Chicago, MLA).

biblatex is fairly easy to customize, if you find a base style that is fairly close to what you require, but if you are not 'into 'programming"', you will need to use an existing style or rely on the kindness of strangers. Luckily there are many kind strangers here who like tweaking biblatex.

You must log in to answer this question.

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