I use the BIB list generated by Mendeley, with contains an item called "file" with the path to the PDF of each entry.

I need to generate a compilation of papers and I would like to do it automatically in the following manner.



So, what I'm looking for is a function that given a bib item, it will return the path saved in the file entry of my bib file.

Example of bib entry:

address = {Aachen, Germany},
author = {Masiero, Bruno },
booktitle = {DAGA},
file = {:D\:/Users/masiero/Documents/My Dropbox/Literature/pdf/Masiero, Fels_2011_Equalization for Binaural Synthesis with Headphone.pdf:pdf},
month = mar,
title = {Equalization for Binaural Synthesis with Headphone},
year = {2011}

Some other examples of the file field would be:

file = {:D\:/Users/masiero/Documents/My Dropbox/Literature/pdf/Masiero, Pelzer\_2010\_Study of Phase Reconstruction Methods Employed at Room Acoustic Simulation.pdf:pdf},

file = {:D\:/Users/masiero/Documents/My Dropbox/Literature/pdf/Masiero, Pollow\_2010\_A review of the compressive sampling framework in the lights of spherical harmonics applications to distributed spherical arrays.pdf:pdf},

file = {::D\:/Users/masiero/Documents/My Dropbox/Literature/pdf/Masiero, Pollow, Fels\_2011\_Design of a Fast Broadband Individual Head-Related Transfer Function Measurement System.pdf:pdf},

file = {:D\:/Users/masiero/Documents/My Dropbox/Literature/pdf/Masiero, Qiu\_2009\_Two Listeners Crosstalk Cancellation System Modelled by Four Point Sources and Two Rigid Spheres.pdf:pdf},

file = {:D\:/Users/masiero/Documents/My Dropbox/Literature/pdf/Masiero, Ribeiro, Nascimento\_2008\_Transducer Placement Strategy for Active Noise Control of Power Transformers\_Fortschritte der Akustik -- DAGA.pdf:pdf},
  • 1
    I'm not quite clear on what should be included here: \include is for inputting .tex files containing chapters of a document. Do you want to include the PDF themselves or the links to the PDFs?
    – Joseph Wright
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 16:27
  • Could you add an example of a .bib entry?
    – egreg
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 19:25
  • I´m compiling the code with pdflatex and I have the article in PDF. My example code was oversimplified. But that can be made with \includepdf. Question is updated.
    – bmasiero
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 15:39
  • @bmasiero Uh! Those pesky accents. :(
    – egreg
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 22:34
  • @egreg I updated the examples with papers in English, all without the pesky nice accents. ;)
    – bmasiero
    Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 15:34

1 Answer 1


Assuming you file field brings only the exact location of a file without spaces, a possible solution with biblatex and biber would be:

  1. Remap (following Audrey's answer to Add new field to biblatex entries) the file field into a custom field biber and biblatex can understand (e.g. usera);
  2. Create a bibmacro that calls includepdf (from the pdfpages package);
  3. Append that to cite bibmacro (or create a new cite command).

First, I created a foo.pdf file from the following .tex file (in my /tmp/ dir):


Then I created a MWE:


% This is to create our dummy bib file
    author = {A. Author},
    title = {Title},
    journal = {A Journal},
    volume = {x},
    year = {2012},
    file = {/tmp/foo.pdf}
\end{filecontents}% end bib file
                  % (change the pdf location accordingly)

\usepackage[style=verbose,backend=biber]{biblatex}% I'm used to verbose style;
                                                  % with numeric, the result is weird.
  \addbibresource{\jobname.bib}% Loads the bib file created with filecontents (above)

% This changes a 'file' field into a 'usera' field which biber\biblatex can understand:
\DeclareSourcemap{% I took this from https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/65403/5872

\usepackage{pdfpages}% This package allows us to include pdf files (or pages)

% We create a bibmacro to include the pdf...

\usepackage{xpatch}% This package allows us to patch (bib)macros

% ... and then we tell the 'cite' bibmacro to call it:




And here's the output (Sorry, I don't know how to handle these images very well yet, I tried to at least crop it):

PDF from .bib file example

EDIT: Instead of patching the cite' bibmacro withxpatch`, you can also define a new citation command, say:

  • It depends on the format of the field. I have some ideas, if the field ends with :pdf.
    – egreg
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 17:05
  • Henrique, unfortunately this workaround is not working for me. It seems my problem is on the way Mendeley saves the files, containing spaces and that :pdf at the end, as can be seen in the examplary bib entry I just edited above.
    – bmasiero
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 17:05
  • @bmasiero Is the format always :<PATH>:pdf?
    – egreg
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 17:09
  • @bmasiero Yes, that's why I mentioned l3regex to egreg. You might also have problems when the file location contains spaces.
    – henrique
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 17:15
  • @egreg The format used by Mendeley is always file = {:<fullpath>:ext;:<fullpath>:ext} @henrique Yep, spaces are also a problem for \includepdf.
    – bmasiero
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 17:16

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