Unexpected BibLaTeX importing error

I’ve just installed Jabref 5.3 on my Mac (more precisely: JabRef 5.3–2021-07-05–50c96a2 on Mac OS X 10.14.6 x86_64; Java 16.0.1; JavaFX 16+8).

Whenever I try to import a .bib file I get an error like this:

Unhandled exception occurred.
Could not find a suitable import format.
The exception stacktrace was:
org.jabref.logic.importer.ImportException: Could not find a suitable import format.
at org.jabref@5.3.60000/org.jabref.logic.importer.ImportFormatReader.importUnknownFormat(Unknown Source)
at org.jabref@5.3.60000/org.jabref.logic.importer.ImportFormatReader.importUnknownFormat(Unknown Source)
at org.jabref@5.3.60000/org.jabref.gui.importer.ImportAction.doImport(Unknown Source)
at org.jabref@5.3.60000/org.jabref.gui.importer.ImportAction.lambda$automatedImport$1(Unknown Source)
at org.jabref@5.3.60000/org.jabref.gui.util.BackgroundTask$1.call(Unknown Source)
at org.jabref@5.3.60000/org.jabref.gui.util.DefaultTaskExecutor$1.call(Unknown Source)
at org.jabref.merged.module@5.3.60000/javafx.concurrent.Task$TaskCallable.call(Unknown Source)
at java.base/java.util.concurrent.FutureTask.run(Unknown Source)
at java.base/java.util.concurrent.Executors$RunnableAdapter.call(Unknown Source)
at java.base/java.util.concurrent.FutureTask.run(Unknown Source)
at java.base/java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor.runWorker(Unknown Source)
at java.base/java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor$Worker.run(Unknown Source)
at java.base/java.lang.Thread.run(Unknown Source)

If I try to create an entry from plain text (using biblatex syntax), Jabref does not create the entry and says “0 entries was parsed”.

Can anyone help me?

Strangely enough, the problem wasn’t there yesterday: I was able to import some stuff.

If the data in your library-file is non-sensitive, you could upload it here. Maybe the community is able to debug the error. If it is sensitive information … i have seen some developers offering to debug such stuff privately and off the forum. For this you could send a message to developers@jabref.org. Me posting this adress here is no guarantee that they actually will prioritise your issue, as there are many issues to work on and they all work on Jabref during their free-time.

Thanks. In fact I’m doing tests with dummy entries, so that it’s not sensitive at all. For example this:

	author = {autore del libro},
	title = {titolo},
	subtitle = {sottotitolo},
	titleaddon = {aggiunta al titolo}, 
	language = {lingua},
	date = {2021},
	location = {luogo},
	publisher = {editore},
	editor = {curatore},
	translator = {traduttore},
	annotator = {annotatore}, 
	commentator = {commentatore},  
	introduction = {introduttore}, 
	foreword = {prefatore}, 
	afterword = {postfatore}, 
	pagetotal = {153},
	note = {nota},
	keywords = {keyword1,keyword2},
	abstract = {riassunto},
	annotation = {annotazione}, 
	addendum = {addendum}, 

I suspect it’s some installation issue (maybe has to do with Java) and not a problem with the data…

Hmmm looks pretty normal to me.

I was able to import this entry by creating a ‘test.bib’ into Jabref on

JabRef 5.4–2021-11-14–96a4c0e
Windows 10 10.0 amd64
Java 16.0.2
JavaFX 17.0.1+1

Do you maybe have some extraordinary symbols in the file-name? Depending on your operating-system some characters are reserved for the system. I don’t use Mac, so i don’t know if there are any warnings if you try to use such characters when creating your file. Another way how this can happen is, if you use a library file that formerly was created on another operating system and then was moved/copied to your system. See here for a list of reserved characters: Filename - Wikipedia

When you say ‘create a new entry from plain text’ does it mean you used this feature?
This is for data that is formatted in a citation-style already e.g. Dam, Kenneth W. "Self-help in the Digital Jungle." *The Journal of Legal Studies* 28.2 (1999): 393-412.

If so, then there are more suitable methods on how to create an entry with biblatex syntax:

  1. Use new article
  2. Double-click on the new entry that was created and open the entry editor
  3. Open the {} biblatex source tab.
  4. Select the old data and overwrite it by pasting your new entry data (in biblatex syntax) into this field.

Wonderful, I was using the wrong tools!

Also, I imagine that in order to open in Jabref an already existing .bib file I don’t need to import it - just do “open library” and select my file.

Thanks again.

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If you have bibtex/biblatex code for one or multiple entries in your clipboard (e.g. copied and pasted from an article website, you can also paste it directly on the table and JabRef will create the new entries

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Awesome. Yes, both import and open work fine. The difference between the two is that with open, you always open that specific library. With import, you can import the entries to another library, if you do wish so.

T he difference between the two is that with open, you always open that specific library. With import, you can import the entries to another library, if you do wish so.

Yes, but import is also used for importing other library formats (endnote, xml…, )