References using BibTeX

This page have some tips and trix on how to use BibTex and how to write citations to references in the text.

When compiling your paper, do not forget to read through the output of the reference list to see that everything in the output of the reference list looks like it should and make sense! This is even more important for reference entries you have entered yourself and not exported from a publisher, database etc. As a reader, you should be able to find the reference based on the reference list in the paper.

Citing references in text and ‘natbib’ package

For citation in text it is possible to use the cite-command in LaTeX. When using \cite{...}, one or more references can be put into one citation.


For references, especially when writing using a (name, year) system (e.g. APA Style), there are some help you can get from the bibliography management add-on “natbib” and its citation styles (there are alternatives to the commands below when there are several authors on a publication) .



\citep{REF_1}        (parenthetical citation)
\citep*{REF_1}       (parenthetical citation with all authors printed in the text)
\citet{REF_1}        (textual citation)
\citet*{REF_1}       (textual citation with all authors printed in the text)
\citeauthor{REF_1}   (only name of author in citation)
\citeyear{REF_1}     (only year of publication in citation)


LaTeX code:
According to \citet{Mejtoft:2009} many firms using this strategy fail. However, according to the study carries out by \citeauthor{Mejtoft:2009} in \citeyear{Mejtoft:2009}, failure is not the only option. Firms that break through the market might survive \citep{Mejtoft:2009}.

BibTeX entry:
   Author = {Thomas Mejtoft},
   Title = {The survival in any industry},
   Publisher = {The publishing Co.},
   Year = {2009},
   address = {New York: NY}

Output (bibstyle: apacite):
According to Mejtoft (2009) many firms using this strategy fail. However, according to the study carries out by Mejtoft in 2009,  failure is not the only option. Firms that break through the market might survive (Mejtoft, 2009).

Using BibTeX

When compiling the reference list, it is important to be careful and be sure all information is correct. Below are some tips on how to create a correct output and some of the common problems that can occur.

ACM Digtal Library
Taylor & Francis Online

When using BibTeX (or other systems) you can often export the correct reference directly from the journal/database. This is done by using the “Export/Download Citation” button on the journal’s/database’s website. To the right are two examples from ACM Digital Library and Taylor & Francis Online. Using this feature generates a citation of the article. If you are using BibTeX, all information needed for a correct entry is (usually) exported.

If this feature is not available for your reference, then you need to fill out all the fields by yourself.

Understanding BibTeX Entries

A BibTeX entry consist of three parts – Entry type, citekey, and a list of key-value pairs. All these things need to be present for the entry to work. The entry starts with the entry type, the other parts are surrounded by curly brackets (or quotation marks) and separated by commas (see example below).

The entry type is the type of refence used. There are ~14 different BibTeX entry types and the entry starts with “@”. The most common entry types are e.g. “@article“, “@book” and “@inproceedings“.

The citekey is a unique key that is used to cite the reference in the text. When creating a larger list of references in BibTeX it is important to structure the list by giving each entry an appropriate citekey. This is important for easier referencing later on. A simple way to solve this is to use e.g., “author:year” or “DOI name” as citekey. However, the citekey can be anything e.g., “reference1”, “smartphone-stats” etc. The most important thing is that you can easily remember which citekey corresponds to a certain entry.

The key-value pairs are different for different entry types but some of the most common ones are e.g. “author“, “title“, and “year“. The key-value pairs should be separated with comma (the comma after the last pair is optional and it does not matter if present or not).

This is the structure of a BibTeX entry:

  key-1 = {value-1},
  key-2 = {value-2},
  key-3 = {value-3}

In the example below, the entry type is “@article“, the citekey “mejtoft:2016“, and the key-value pairs “author“, “title“, and “year” (note that this is not a complete BibTeX entry, for examples, see below).

  author = {Thomas Mejtoft},
  title = {Moving closer to the customers},
  year  = {2010},

For examples of BibTeX entries, see below.

Common problems with references

Some of the common problems when writing references is that not all the needed information is entered.

  • Missing page number on journal articles, book chapters etc.
pages = {xxx-yyy}
  • Missing volume or issue on journal articles.
    Missing volume or issue of a article might make it more or less impossible to find. For an article this information should be included. Check the publisher, all information is available! The most important is the volume, this cannot be missing.

volume = {XX},
number = {YY}
  • Different style on the output of authors on different sources.
    From time to time some authors have full name and some only have initial. This is due to lack of information in the BibTeX entry. The best way to solve this is to include full names (or at least make all entries of a single author similar), then the output in LaTeX changes your BibTeX entry into the correct reference.
    If you have several authors, write the authors in the correct way in the BibTex entry, meaning using “and” (both upper case and lower case works) between the authors names (either way of the example below is fine and will produce the same result):
author = {Thomas Mejtoft AND Ulrik Söderström AND John Doe}

author = {Mejtoft, Thomas AND Söderström, Ulrik AND Doe, John}
  • Missing part of last name in reference
    If a author has a two part last name or if the author is e.g. an organization, the references might display incorrectly.
    Solution: Words that should be seen as “one word” should be marked with { }.
author = {Sven Gunnar {Jonsson Wilklund}}
  • Abbreviation of company name
    A entry with company as the author of a document (common for e.g. web pages) might be treated as a human with first name and last name and be abbrivated. The solution it to.
    Solution: Treat the company name as “one word” and use curly brackets around the company name.
author = {{Goldman Sachs Group}}
  • Missing book title on book chapter.
    Both the title of the chapter and the title of the book need to be in the entry.
title = {Xyz},
booktitle = {Zyx}
  • Missing editor on book with book chapter.
    If you reference a book chapter from a book with different authors on the chapters, both the author(s) of the chapter and the editor(s) of the book also need to be included.
author = {Xxx},
editor = {Xxx AND Yyy}
  • Missing year or date.
    Add the year (or date) that the material were published to the entry. If no year or date is available, write “n.d.” for “no date”.
year = {2010}

year = {n.d.}
  • Incorrect source of the published paper.
    Researchgate, private web pages, and university websites are (most often) not official places of publication, but rather parallel publication of a published paper (otherwise it is to be regarded as unpublished or self-published and you should be careful and probably not use that source).
    Solution: Find the real source (journal/proceedings/book etc.) and use that for writing your citation. This information is most often noted on the copy of the paper


Some of the more common BibTeX styles are @article, @inproceedings, @incollection, , @book, @online, and @techreport. Here you can find more examples and how to use the different styles.

Key-value pairs in red is needed to create a useful references (in most cases). The other key-value pairs are information that is useful for retrieving the reference. Please observe that not all optional key-pair values are present in the examples below. For more optional values, please refer to the manual.


This is the common style for a published journal article. This article is written by Thomas Mejtoft and published in volume 18, issue 7 of the Journal of Strategic Marketing in 2010 on the pages 599-611. To cite this entry in your document you use the command:

  author = {Thomas Mejtoft},
  title = {Moving closer to the customers: effects of vertical integration in the Swedish commercial 
  printing industry},
  journal = {Journal of Strategic Marketing},
  volume = {18},
  number = {7},
  pages = {599-611},
  year  = {2010},
  publisher = {Routledge},
  doi = {10.1080/0965254X.2010.529153},
  URL = {},


This is the common style for a published conference paper. This paper is written by Thomas Mejtoft, Sarah Hale & Ulrik Söderström and presented at the 31st European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics, it is published in the conference proceedings on pages 41-44 (a total of 4 pages) by ACM in New York, NY.

  author = {Thomas Mejtoft AND Sarah Hale AND Ulrik S\"{o}derstr\"{o}m},
  title = {Design Friction: How intentionally added friction affect users level of satisfaction},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the 31st European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics},
  series = {ECCE 2019},
  year = {2019},
  isbn = {978-1-4503-7166-7},
  pages = {41--44},
  numpages = {4},
  url = {},
  doi = {10.1145/3335082.3335106},
  publisher = {ACM},
  address = {New York, NY, USA},

Other examples

Here are some other examples:

Book chapter:

  author = {Thomas Mejtoft},
  title = {Building Relationships for Survival: Coping Media Industry Dynamics},
  booktitle = {Field Guide to Case Study Research in Business-to-business Marketing and Purchasing},
  year = {2014},
  chapter = {3},
  pages = {39-59},
  volume = 21,
  editor = {Arch G. Woodside AND Hugh M. Pattinson AND Roger Marshall},
  publisher = {Emerald Group Publishing Limited},
  isbn = {978-1-78441-080-3},
  issn = {1069-0964},
  doi = {10.1108/S1069-096420140000021000},
  URL = {},


  Author = {Yvonne Rogers AND Paul Marshall},
  Title = {Research in the wild: Synthesis lectures on human-centered informatics},
  Publisher = {Morgan \& Claypool},
  Year = {2017},
  address = {San Rafael, CA, USA},

Online article:

  Author = {Steve Selze},
  Year = {2016},
  Month = {apr},
  Day = {3},
  Title = {The fiction of no friction},
  url = {},
  lastaccessed = {February 13, 2019},


  author       = {Thomas Mejtoft}, 
  title        = {The cost of digital printing in newspaper production},
  institution  = {STFI-Packforsk},
  year         = {2005},
  number       = {111},
  month        = {05},

(First published by Thomas Mejtoft: 2020-03-11; Last updated: 2021-12-01)