LaTeX & BibTeX

LaTeX: What, Where, How & Why


  • What:  LaTeX is a software system for document preparation, especially used as an editor for scientific documents while it makes easy to typeset complex mathematical formulas.
  • Where: There are many LaTeX editors freely available on the internet, one of which, Overleaf (used to be called ShareLaTex), is a widely used  because it is a collaborative cloud-based version.
  • How: You type the content (with LaTex commands) into a LaTeX editor's document  - any document created by LaTex editor ending with file extension .tex - then LaTex system can compile the source code in the .tex document, and finally generate a PDF file.  In a sense of its finished product, the LaTex system is acts like MS-Word, but with the help of LaTex coding. 
  • Why with BibTeX:  Within a LaTeX .tex document, through the use of a package called BibTex, you can automatically generate and format a bibliography (the reference list) in the chosen style, with corresponding in-text citations. 

While this Libguide is intended for any users, we can’t assist non-members of University of Texas at San Antonio with any specific questions about using BibTeX and LaTex software programs or coding.

BibTex: What, Where, & How

BibTeX stands for a file format - with file extension of .bib -  that contains a bibliography or a list of references.  

  • What -- it can be viewed as "transitory" as, in the end, the file would be uploaded / imported into a LaTeX editor program. 
  • Where - as an external, flat-file containing all of your references/works cited - can be initially saved and transitorily stored within the EndNote software program, while each of reference entries in the bib file could come from different sources you have used. 
  • How to interact with LaTeX in organizing in-text citations and creating a bibliography. 
    • Each reference in .bib file is automatically formatted with first line having a "key" (key = unique identifier of a bibliographic entry)
    • by this KEY you can refer to a reference that is contained within "behind the scenes" .bib file from a LaTex source code doc - a .tex file,
    • Plus, citing references in-text (that is in the body of your paper)  is corresponding to your reference list (that is located at the end of your paper)..
    • For detailed info on how to use .bib file within a .tex document, please see more details in the box titled "How to Use: BibTeX-related Commands

Video: What is LaTeX

Video: LaTeX Tutorial pt 1 - Creating Your First Document