Preference not opening in JabRef and other strange problems

Hi there.
This is my first question in this community. Please let me know if I am making any mistake.
I have been using JabRef for around 1 year. The problem started with updating JabRef to latest 5.0 version. Due to some problem, which I may tell later, I switched back to earlier version (JabRef 4.3.1;
Windows 10 10.0 amd64 ; Java 1.8.0_172).
So when I installed and opened up, it was showing windows like this:


  1. As one can see, there is prior to column name there is “field” in it. I dont know how it comes.
  2. I thought I could see what is happening if one opens “Preferences” in “Option”. But, I cannot see access it. In the left bottom corner, you can see that "Opening preferences … ", unfortunately, nothing comes out (I cannot post screenshot of that as I am allowed to post only one).
  3. I opened my earlier bib file which had 242 entries and with which I compiled my thesis.
    In the BibTex source tab, one can see that I have listed out author, year, journal etc, but in the columns, it is not seen.

I am facing these type of strange problems. Kindly let me know what I am doing wrong.
Waiting for a solution.

See the FAQ:

Thank you for your time.
For my case, I guess the command will come as jabref-4.3.1.exe -d all -n? I am not getting where to execute this ? In the cmd prompt?

@sreerajt90 yes
Open a command line windows in the JabRef folder and type java -jar JabRef.jar -d all


Thanks once again for the prompt reply. But it is giving errors as shown below:

Did you try typing “dir” - it should display all entries in the directory. There you can identify your JabRef-executable.

You could also try “java -jar jabref-4.3.1.jar -d all -n”.

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Thank you. It worked…

Out of curiosity, what could have caused this problem? I was so revealed to see that my problem got solved that I forgot to ask the reason in my previous reply.

It’s because of how JabRef stores the preferences in the system. There was a change between v. 4.3.1 and 5.0. we now store the width of the main table colums as doubles. But v. 4.3.1 tried to parse ints there. Secondly we changed the way JabRef stores column names. In earlier versions JabRef provided some hardcoded colums which couldn’t be resized, reordered etc. Like the link column, file column, some extra file colums, the groups column. There were some checkboxes to enable or disable them, but it was all hacky, did not always work as expected, forgot it’s size after restart etc. So we changed that to a more generic solution. Now every column name is stored in the preferences with it’s width etc. But we had to distinguish the special columns from the field columns. So we introduced an internal prefix in the preferences ‘field:’. Earlier versions of JabRef were unable to understand this prefix, so they just printed that out.

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