Bibtool - Recreate .bib from .aux

How to recreate a bib file with only the references that were used?


  1. Check .aux file contains \citation commands instead of \abx@aux@cite. If it is the later case, simple replace all \abx@aux@cite with \citation using your favorite text editor.
  • Note that one can download the .aux files from Overleaf > Logs and output files > Other logs & files.
  1. Setup the bib tool configuration throught the resource file ( bibtool-cfg.txt).
  • If you want the key to preserve case, add = on
  1. Run bibtool from terminal
bibtool -x <aux file> -r <bibtool config> <source bib> -o <output bib>
  • Sample:
bibtool -x output.aux -r bibtool-cfg.txt main-full.bib -o main.bib

Post bibtool hints

  1. To remove unnecessary entries, one may use notepad++ to delete the lines using the appropriate regex string.
  2. URL entry: url.*},\n
  3. Arxiv entry: archiveprefix.*},\n.*},\n

Alternative tools

  1. JabRef
  2. Emaxs + Reftex


Luke Sy
PhD Candidate

My research interests include state estimation, robotics, wearable sensors, machine learning, and biomedical engineering.