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EndNote at MIT: EndNote with LaTeX & BibTeX

Using EndNote with LaTeX and BibTeX FAQ

What is LaTeX?

LaTeX is a typesetting program that takes a plain text file with various commands in it and converts it to a formatted document based on the commands that it has been given.  The source file for the document has a file extension of .tex. It is widely used at MIT for theses and other technical papers due to its prowess with mathematical and foreign characters. For more information on LaTeX, see LaTeX on Athena Basics, provided by the Athena On-Line Help system.


What is BibTeX?

BibTex is a bibliographic tool that is used with LaTeX to help organize the user's references and create a bibliography.  A BibTex user creates a bibliography file that is separate from the LaTeX source file, wth a file extension of .bib.  Each reference in the bibliography file is formatted with a certain structure and is given a "key" by which the author can refer to it in the source file. For more information on BibTeX, see see MIT IS&T's page: How do I Create Bibliographies in LaTeX.


How do I export from EndNote to BibTeX?

Open EndNote, and open the library of references that you would like to export to BibTeX. In the drop-down menu in the toolbar at the top of the screen, click "Select Another Style..." and in the list that appears, chose BibTeX Export. Now you should see the BibTeX-formatted citation in the preview screen.

From the File menu, select Export. Navigate to the directory where your main document is or will be saved. If you're working with EndNote on a PC and your manuscript is on Athena, you'll need to save the BibTeX export to your hard drive and use FTP or another file transfer method to transfer the file to the correct directory in your Athena space. Change the name of the file that you are saving to filename.bib. Then click Save. This will save your references in the correct format for BibTeX to read and create a bibliography from.

To link the bibliography file that you just downloaded to your document, you need to enter two commands:

\bibliographystyle{style} should go just inside your \begin{document} command. style.bst is the name of the style file dictating the format of your bibliography (see How do I change the format of the bibliography? below).

\bibliography{filename} should go wherever you want LaTeX to generate the bibliography. filename.bib is the name of the file that you just downloaded from RefWorks containing your exported references.


How do I cite references in my document?

Insert the command \cite{citationkey} where citationkey is the data in EndNote's Label field of the reference you are citing.

If you do not have any data in the Label field in EndNote (or if the data in the Label field is not unique for all of your references), you have two options:

Create or update the Label field for each reference that you are citing so that there is unique, distinctive data in the field for every reference. Then export the bibliography again (see How do I export from EndNote to BibTex?).

Use a text editor to insert a citation key into each reference in the bibliography file that you exported. Simply enter a unique citation key just inside the opening bracket of each reference in your .bib file. An example of a reference entry where the citation key is "angell:GRL" is:


How can I correct errors I encounter when running BibTeX on my bibliography file?

BibTeX has a 5000 character limit for each field. Most fields will not surpass this limit, but for a reference where the "note" field contains a large amount of information such as the entire table of contents, this limit may be breached. When this problem occurs, you will see an error message saying "Sorry--you've exceeded BibTeX's buffer size 5000." When you encounter this problem, use a text editor to open your bibliography file and shorten the field that contains too many characters.


How can I correct errors I encounter when running LaTeX on my document after compiling the bibliography file?

If the references in your bibliography file contain certain special characters which are used as part of the syntax of LaTeX, you could see a whole host of errors when you run LaTeX on your document after running BibTeX. For example, LaTeX will view any ampersand in a journal title as an alignment character, and you will see an error message saying "Misplaced alignment tab character &." Use a text editor tofind the line that is causing the error (LaTeX should tell you as part of its error message) and replace the trouble-making character with the following commands:

Character LaTeX Command
# \#
$ \$
% \%
& \&
_ \_
{ \{
} \}
~ \~{ }
^ \^{ }
\ $\backslash$


If you receive a warning from LaTeX that references may have changed, simply run LaTeX again. In fact, the correct order for running LaTeX and BibTeX, where document is your document name, is:

latex document
bibtex document
latex document
latex document

This process should correctly create your bibliography and in-text citations for your document.


How can I make an organization name display correctly?

BibTeX reads text in the author field as an author's name or names unless told otherwise. For example, say a reference exported from RefWorks contains the line:

author={Institute of Electrical Engineers},

BibTeX will read this field as a person's name, where the first name is "Institute" and the last name is "of Electrical Engineers," and would format accordingly. Use a text editor and to add quotes around the field so that the line reads:

author="{Institute of Electrical Engineers}",

Now BibTeX will read this all as one piece rather than as a person's name, and will format correctly.


How can I override BibTeX capitalization conventions?

BibTeX attempts to correct the capitalization in the title field such that only the first letter of the first word is capitalized. While this is generally gramatically correct, it can cause problems if the title contains a proper name or an acronym, so that a line in the bibliography file that looks like this:

title={IEE Proceedings},

will appear in the bibliography as "Iee proceedings." Use a text editor and to add quotes around the field so that the line reads:

title="{IEE Proceedings}",

The quotes will prevent BibTeX from applying its capitalization rules to the title of the document and thus will preserve the capitalization for proper nouns.


How do I change the format of the bibliography?

The bibliography format is determined by the style file that you have entered in the \bibliographystyle{} command. Several default styles exist, they are explained in the section of IST's LaTeX Answers page entitled How to make BIBLIOGRAPHIES in Latex. Style files may also be edited to produce a required bibliography style.


Where can I look for additional support?