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Carry your BibTeX libraries with you on your iPad and iPhone

Carry your BibTeX libraries with you on your iPad and iPhone


by Benjamin Burton

What is it about?

Carry your BibTeX libraries with you on your iPad and iPhone!


App Details

Productivity Education
Last updated
November 16, 2020
Release date
November 6, 2019
More info

App Screenshots

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App Store Description

Carry your BibTeX libraries with you on your iPad and iPhone!

A BibTeX library is a collection of bibliographic references (papers, books, reports, etc.), designed to work with the LaTeX typesetting system. Each library is stored in a specially-formatted text file (typically ending in .bib), which you can create with your favourite text editor.

The References app gives you an easy way to browse through and interact with your BibTeX libraries. You can scroll, search, follow links, and view file attachments. In particular:

- The app creates links from DOIs, MathSciNet references, ACM IDs, and of course URLs.
- The app understands elementary LaTeX, so if your titles and/or abstracts contain markup or mathematics (and if your LaTeX is simple enough) then the app can display them nicely.
- If you used BibDesk or JabRef to create your library, the app can view your file attachments (e.g., PDFs that you have attached to your references).
- You can view references grouped by keywords, if you use the Keywords field in your BibTeX libraries. You can also view all of your smart/static groups from BibDesk, and your dynamic/static groups from JabRef.
- The app supports BibLaTeX libraries as well as classic BibTeX.

The References app can open BibTeX libraries from anywhere on your device. In particular, you can use iCloud Drive to keep them synchronised between your devices.


To view file attachments (e.g., PDFs), the path to each file should be included in the corresponding entry in your BibTeX library. You can do this using the specially encoded Bdsk-File-* fields (as used by BibDesk), or the plain text File field (as used by JabRef). If you are writing your BibTeX files by hand, just add a File field giving the location of the attachment, such as File = {../PDFs/foo.pdf}.

All paths are relative to the location of your BibTeX library (so if your BibTeX library is Documents/BibTeX/papers.bib and you encode an attachment as ../PDFs/foo.pdf, then the app will look for the file Documents/PDFs/foo.pdf). If your attachments are stored somewhere different, then you can just add their location as a new linked folder in the app, and the References app will still be able to find them.

You can view attachments from many places, including Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Nextcloud or OneDrive (all iOS versions), or iCloud Drive or anywhere on your iPhone/iPad (iOS 13+ only). If you are having trouble viewing attachments from a third-party provider, please mail the References developer with the details.


To learn more about BibTeX, see .

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