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These are command line tools that may be beneficial to the user. Many of them can be accessed from within editors, front ends or other GUI tools.



by Oren Patashnik

Open source (other)

Wikipedia page

Bibliography generation program. BibTeX enables the use of bibliographical databases with TeX. The user assigns a key to each entry in the database. When preparing a document, the author uses these keys to refer to the relevant entries. The document must also specify the names of the database files containing the keys and a BibTeX style file. After typesetting the document, the user calls BibTeX which generates citation and reference information by comparing the keys used in the document with the keys in the specified database files, and formatting them in accordance with the instructions in the BibTeX style file. The document must then be reprocessed at least twice in order to incorporate BibTeX's additions into the output. In some cases, another BibTeX run and subsequent reprocessing is required before all of the references are typeset correctly.

Unlike LaTeX's own citation facilities, BibTeX allows users to build up databases of bibliographical entries which can be used in multiple projects and documents.

Many BibTeX style files are available for download from CTAN or elsewhere, especially in the case of formats required for submission to journals in mathematics, logic and the natural sciences. Although humanities subjects are less well served, an increasing number of styles are becoming available and it is not too difficult to generate custom styles with the help of the custom-bib package. These customised styles work especially well in conjunction with the natbib LaTeX package which provides extensive support for the author-year systems popular in many humanities subjects, as well as the numbered references more common in the sciences.

BibTeX is part of TeX Live.


by Nicolas Markey

Open source (LPPL)

Shell script to extract referenced entries from BibTeX database files, resolving abbreviations, cross-references etc. and producing a "clean" self-contained BibTeX database file containing all and only the entries required by a specific document. This might be useful if, for example, you need to send the document source to somebody else and do not want to include your BibTeX database files in their entirety.


by Philipp Lehman

Open source (LPPL)

An experimental but increasingly popular alternative to BibTeX style files. biblatex uses BibTeX to sort the entries and generate labels, but relies entirely on LaTeX macros to control the style of citations and bibliographies.


by Niel Kempson

Open source (GPL)

Although BibTeX itself supports only ASCII, this 8-bit adaption supports a wider range of character sets and customised sorting of entries.

bibtex8bit is part of TeX Live.


by Gerd Neugebauer

Open source (GPL)

A tool to manage BibTeX files.

Available from the homepage, though the version on CTAN seems to be more recent.


by Daniel Gildea and David Kotz

Open source (LPPL)

Scripts to perform various BibTeX-related tasks:

  • aux2bib - create a portable .bib file from an .aux file
  • bib2html - create an html version of a bibliography
  • bibify - may reduce number of typesetting cycles required
  • bibkey - find entries by keyword
  • citekeys - list citation keys for a .bib file
  • cleantex - post-processing clean-up
  • looktex - find entries by regular expression
  • makebib - create a portable .bib file from existing .bib file(s) and an optional set of citation keys
  • printbib - create a DVI from a .bib file


by Chris Putnam

Open source (GPL)

Tools to convert between various bibliographical database formats using the Library of Congress's Metadata Object Description Schema (MODS) as a common intermediary. For example, you can use it as an import filter to BibDesk:

  1. Choose File->Open Using Filter
  2. Enter:
    /usr/local/bin/isi2xml | /usr/local/bin/xml2bib
    in the "Filter Shell Command" field of the open panel. (Note: BibDesk now supports ISI format directly.) This can be any Unix command to preprocess the input, but it needs to send BibTeX to standard output as the result.
  3. Select the ISI file and open it.

Mac OS X binaries available.

See also GUI Bibliography Tools



Open source (LPPL)

Convert to various formats including html, Open Office.

TeX4ht is a highly configurable TeX-based authoring system dedicated mainly to produce hypertext. It interacts with TeX-based applications through style files and postprocessors, leaving the processing of the source files to the native TeX compiler. Consequently, TeX4ht can handle the features of TeX-based systems in general, and of the LaTeX and AMS style files in particular.

Note that TeX4ht is part of TeX Live (htlatex filename.tex from the terminal prompt)

Another note: if you install TeX4ht yourself, you will also get a number of specialised scripts including one called 'oolatex' which does a reasonably good job of converting LaTeX to Open Document Format (.odt) which is the native format of OpenOffice. Since the latter offers various export formats, including Word (.doc), TeX4ht and OpenOffice can be used together to convert LaTeX to Word. Although the scripts are not essential, they are rather convenient and useful if you are not familiar with the range of options TeX4ht offers.

Also see SimpleTeX4ht

TeX4ht was developed by Eitan Gurari TeX4ht original site. After Eitan died unexpectedly in June 2009, TeX4ht is maintained by CV Radhakrishnan and Karl Berry.

See also texware and vfware





From the project page:

GasTeX is a set of LaTeX macros which allow to draw very easily graphs, automata, nets, diagrams, etc... under the picture environment of LaTeX. A picture with gastex basically consists of nodes and edges.


by John Hobby

Public domain

Tool for creating graphics in scalable postscript based on Metafont.

metapost is part of TeX Live.

Web based metapost preview



Warning: Reliable sources inform me that the instructions for configuring Adobe Acrobat to work with AcroTeX are highly Windows-centric. Although the AcroTeX eDucation Bundle does not require Acrobat, the AcroTeX Presentation Bundle and most parts of AeB Pro do.

AcroTeX eDucation Bundle

by D. P. Story

Open source (LPPL)

According to the author's description, includes the following components for the production of specialised PDF files:

  • AcroTeX web: a LaTeX package which supports layouts suitable for viewing online (as opposed to printing) with navigational controls etc.;
  • exerquiz: a LaTeX package which supports online quizzes with or without hyper-linked solutions, scripts to automate marking etc.
  • eForms: a LaTeX package which supports the forms in used in exerquiz;
  • insdljs: a LaTeX package which supports JavaScript in LaTeX documents;
  • dljslib: a LaTeX package which provides a library of JavaScript functions for use with exerquiz;
  • eq2db: a LaTeX package and server-side script which support the processing of exerquiz documents.

For further details and complementary packages see the author's AcroTeX eDucation Bundle page.

Dirk Krause's open source (GFDL) PDF forms tutorial concerns the creation of PDF forms using AcroTeX, pdfLaTeX (pdfTeX) and the hyperref package.

AeB Pro

by D. P. Story

Open source (LPPL)

Offers extended functionality in conjunction with AcroTeX. Note that most components require Acrobat Pro, however. In particular, AeB Pro relies heavily on the use of Acrobat Distiller for PDF production.

According to the author, features include:

  • AeB Central (Acrobat Pro not required);
  • comprehensive configuration options for initial document view;
  • support for many document actions;
  • full support for page actions and full screen mode;
  • support for transition effects;
  • support for document attachment;
  • post-distillation document assembly methods;
  • support for attachment linking and launching;
  • support for PDF packages;
  • support for field initialisation using unicode;
  • limited support for layers, rollovers and animations;
  • the demonstration application Robot Man.

For further details and complementary packages see the author's AeB Pro page.

AcroTeX Presentation Bundle

by AcroTeX


Creates presentations. Requires Acrobat Pro version 8 or later.

AcroTeX Exam Assembly System Environment (@EASE)

by AcroTeX


Supports the creation of a database of questions and builds LaTeX-encoded examinations from a set selected by the user for inclusion.

Additional resources


by Jens T. Berger Thielemann
maintained by Baruch Even

Open source (GPL)

LaTeX semantic checker.

See also BBEdit ChkTeX integration and ChkTeX Droplet for GUI interfaces.


by John Collins, Evan McLean and David J. Musliner

Open source (GPL)

From the homepage:

Latexmk is a perl script included with TeXLive for running LaTeX the correct number of times to resolve cross references, etc; it also runs auxiliary programs (bibtex, makeindex if necessary, and dvips and/or a previewer as requested). Please see the home page for documentation.


by Nelson H. F. Beebe and Pehong Chen

Open source (other)

Wikipedia page

Tool for generating indices.

makeindex is part of TeX Live.

Also see TeX Helpers for additional tools not bundled in distributions

See also TeX Live Manager

Personal tools