Feature Request - Custom Citation Styles from BST

It would be interesting to have a .bst parser to format citation keys from preset styles. ATM it’s partially possible to be done through the citation key generation config, but the functionality is still limited - and it’s not necessarily compliant with styles in use (e.g.: while [authorAlpha] generates most of the references correctly, it ignores certain rules like ditching name connectors in surnames, and the a/b/n rules for multiple citations from the same author are not flexible enough to accommodate IEEE standards). Citation keys are often used in categorized systematic reviews, but they are only usable if the keys perfectly match the paper/dissertation styles.

Hi Arthur, nice that you asked. Actually we do have a BST parser implemented in JabRef, but only to display Previews (see the Preview Panel in the lower entry editor, see https://docs.jabref.org/setup/preview). You should be able to load a BST style just like a CSL file into the entry preview panel.

However, it is not yet possible to use a BST or a CSL style to directly cite in the specific style in LibreOffice / Word yet, but only in the jstyle format (https://docs.jabref.org/cite/openofficeintegration#the-style-file). Since we are in the long process of improving the citation capabilities in external word processors in general and we are only a small team we cannot say how soon this may be implemented.

But of course, there is always the sledgehammer approach: Use the BST style for preview, then copy’n’paste the preview to the word processor. :wink:

Regards, Carl

Hi Carl,

Thanks for the prompt answer.

If there’s already a BST parser implemented within JabRef, I imagine it could be used to implement a citation format loader… I’ll test it using the preview feature you mentioned, and if it works as expected I think I’ll try to implement a .bst importer on my own, if that’s OK. Are there any coding guidelines guidelines/specific instructions for JabRef contributors? Also, if you have the documented roadmap for the citation capabilities, would it be OK to share it? Just to make sure I move in the right direction.

Thanks again,


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As a general advice for new developers: check out Contributing for a start. Also, guidelines for setting up a local workspace is worth having a look at.

Coding mostly takes place at Github. It would probably be best to create a separate issue there, which references this forum post and if you have any issue related questions we can continue the discussion over there. If your issue touches/fixes other issues along the way, we can link them. If you have questions about how to setup your workspace use JabRef’s Gitter chat. Try to open a (draft) pull-request early on, so that people can see you are working on the issue and so that they can see the direction the pull request is heading towards. This way, you will likely receive valuable feedback.
Contributions are very welcome :slight_smile:

We don’t have an all encompasing fixed roadmap. Developers, but also users push JabRef into a certain direction as soon as problems emerge and/or new features are requested. You will find many feature requests here in the forum and at GitHub.

With regard to citation capabilities, we are currently aiming at broadening JabRef’s compatibility with word processors. There have been explicit calls to support CSL citation styles in LibreOffice, but in general, enhanced integration with other word processors like Microsoft Word, or LaTeX Editors like Overleaf would be great too! :slight_smile:

@casals Yeah, that sounds great!

You can find the implementation for the BSTPreview Layout here:

For reference: The issue on GitHub was Custom load citation styles (.bst) · Issue #9660 · JabRef/jabref · GitHub

Awesome - thank you all for the links/guidance. I’ll give it a go/keep this topic/related GH issue updated.

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