.BIB File Extension

Bibliography Document

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What is a BIB file?

Bibliography saved in ASCII text format; contains a list of references cited within an article, book, or other publication.

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Programs that open BIB files


BibTeX Bibliography Database

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A BIB file may also be a text document created by a LaTeX program, such as MiKTeX or TeXworks. It contains a list of bibliographic citations in BibTeX formatting. BIB files enable bibliographies to be searched and published using standard commands and are often used in combination with LaTeX (.TEX) documents.

More Information

Screenshot of a .bib file in TeXworks 0.6.6 (MiKTeX 21.3)
BIB file open in TeXworks 0.6.6 (MiKTeX 21.3)

LaTeX is a typesetting system commonly utilized in academia to prepare documents with content that is formatted separately before it is published. This system is beneficial for publishing documents in fields such as engineering, economics, mathematics, statistics, philosophy, and linguistics.

Unlike word processor documents, which contain inline text formatting, LaTeX documents contain plain text with tags and other LaTeX syntax. The visual formatting is handled by a LaTeX processing system. Therefore, a LaTeX document may look different depending on which LaTeX application is used to display the file.

BibTeX is a system for managing bibliographic references included in the LaTeX documents. The bibliographies may be stored in the LaTeX document but are typically stored in BIB files. Examples of items included in bibliographies are books, articles, research papers, and technical reports.

Example BibTeX formatting

A sample BIB file entry may be formatted as follows:

@BOOK{citation key,

AUTHOR = {Author name},
TITLE = {Title of book},
PUBLISHER = {Name of publisher},
ADDRESS = {Location published},

How to open a BIB file

You can open BIB files with various LaTeX applications and bibliographic managers, such as MiKTeX (Windows), BibDesk (macOS), TeXworks (multiplatform), and JabRef (multiplatform).

Since BIB files are saved in plain text, you can also open and edit BIB files with a plain text editor, such as Microsoft Notepad (bundled with Windows) or Apple TextEdit (bundled with macOS). However, these text editors do not provide helpful formatting features like LaTeX applications and bibliographic managers.

Programs that open BIB files


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