Convert back from biblatex to bib


Hi, after cleaning up my bib file from bibtex to biblatex format, I’d like to go back. It’s causing a lot of trouble with my collaborators who do not use biblatex, and continue to use natbib. Is there a tool that converts back my bib file back from biblatex format?

(Tobias Diez) #2

Sadly this is not possible at the moment but we have it on our radar. For now, you have to use replace & find of your favorite text editor to revert the biblatex fields like journaltitle back to bibtex journal (and dates are a bit harder).

(Tobias Diez) #3

Forget my previous message. It was easier to implement a proper solution than you fiddling around with find & replace. The “convert to BibTeX” functionality is now in the pipeline and will be (hopefully) included in version 4.1, which will be released in a few days (around Christmas). I would love to give you a link to the preview version so that you can directly try it out, but we have troubles at the moment with our build system so need to be a bit patient.


I looked through the code a little bit, and it’s a bit hard to figure out exactly what the cleanup script is changing.

  1. There is some ordering change in the fields. This is irrelevant.
  2. journal -> journaltitle
  3. year -> date (in the correct format)

Is there anything else that is changed? If these are the only things, I’ll find/replace with regexp.

(Tobias Diez) #5

Yes, essentially that’s it. For the conversation in the other direction, all new fields like journaltitle are converted to the old ones (journal) and, moreover, the date is split into year/month and stored in the corresponding fields.If you have some experience with git, you can also checkout my branch and build the new version locally.


I built it and ran it. It works pretty well from what I can tell. There were some inversion errors: going from bibtex -> biblatex -> bibtex doesn’t quite work, but I could figure out a minimal example. One bibtex entry that it seemed to have trouble with was this:

@article {MR0062127,
    AUTHOR = {Frame, J. S. and Robinson, G. de B. and Thrall, R. M.},
     TITLE = {The hook graphs of the symmetric groups},
   JOURNAL = {Canadian J. Math.},
  FJOURNAL = {Canadian Journal of Mathematics. Journal Canadien de
    VOLUME = {6},
      YEAR = {1954},
     PAGES = {316--324},
      ISSN = {0008-414X},
   MRCLASS = {20.0X},
  MRNUMBER = {0062127},
MRREVIEWER = {D. E. Littlewood},

Maybe my bibtex file is too messed up now to fix all of these errors.

(Tobias Diez) #7

For me this entry works perfectly well and the round-trip bibtex -> biblatex -> bibtex produces exactly the same item. Can you please describe in more detail what your problems are. Thanks!

(Tobias Diez) #8

The biblatex -> bib conversation is now included in the latest development version. If you still have problems or have suggestions for further improvements, please open a new issue at github.