Alexandre M. Savio

Thu 27 February 2014


Using BibLatex with Lyx and JabRef


For publishing articles with Lyx I’ve used Zotero, JabRef and Lyx during my PhD. I’ve always had problems with the encoding of the BibTex files and ended up editing them in JabRef, removing/replacing strange characters.

Today my beloved girlfriend (are you happy now?) indicated me BibLatex. She showed me that we can configure Lyx to use it through biber.

This is a list of steps that you should perform to be able to use BibLatex on Lyx.

Step 1: Reconfigure encodings in Zotero and JabRef

Setup Zotero to export to UTF-8.

Setup JabRef to use the default encoding as UTF-8.

Step 2: Install biblatex and biber

In Ubuntu I installed the packages: biblatex texlive-latex-extra texlive-bibtex-extra

Step 3: Create the biblatex.module file

Create a file named biblatex.module with the following content:

#A prerequisite for using the biblatex package. This module
#enables the author/year citation styles without actually loading natbib.
#Biblatex itself needs to be loaded manually. Cf.

Format 11

# this is biblatex actually
Provides natbib    1

Put the file biblatex.module in the layouts folder in your user directory (Help→About LyX tells you where you can find this directory; in the latest versions of OSX the correct layouts folder is in the applications folder).

In Ubuntu: ~/.lyx

Run Tools→Reconfigure, restart LyX.

Step 4: Creating the .lyx file

Add the biblatex module

Add to “Selected” the module “Biblatex-citation-styles” from Document→Settings→Modules.

Load biblatex in the preamble

In the document preamble (Document→Settings→Preamble) you have to load biblatex manually, with:

\usepackage[natbib=true,style=numeric,backend=biber,maxnames=1, doi=true, url=false,bibencoding=utf8]{biblatex}

Load the bibliography in the preamble

Load your bibliography database in the preamble:


You must load the databases must using \addbibresource commands.

Please refer to the biblatex documentation for further options.

Set biber as the BibTex processor

In Document→Settings→Bibliography, set the Processor as biber.

Load the bibliography in a note

In the document, insert the BibTeX inset (Insert→List/TOC→BibTeX Bibliography… ) in a LyX note or comment, such that LyX finds the citations, but no \bibliography command is output to LaTeX.

It does not matter which style you chose here, so you can stick with “plain”. To use the citation dialog, you’ll have to choose the correct databases (i.e. those you loaded above in item (3)).

You must do this if you are going to use the citation dialog. I use JabRef to push the citations instead.

Put the printbibliography command

In the document, enter \printbibliography in ERT (TeX mode) at the place where you want the bibliography to appear.

View the file in PDF

And this should do it.





  4. The biblatex.module file:

  5. The bibtexall script:

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