I am contemplating setting up org-ref to use within org mode for drafting scientific texts. However, as I go through various blogs etc. on the subject, it seems that org-ref is tailored for the bibtex-format. Also, I expect to use helm, which also seems to be targeting bibtex.

I believe I will need the UTF-8 encoding of biblatex, as I will work with sources from different languages. But I am in doubt if I should try to bend around the limitations of the bibtex format because org-mode is tailored for that - or try to make org-ref bend around the biblatex-format instead. Any pros and cons to these approaches would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time!

  • The underlying formats for bibtex and biblatex are very close. I am not familiar with org-ref, but the comments on emacs.stackexchange.com/q/51855/2710 suggest that it understands biblatex out of the box. Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 7:51
  • Andrew thank you for your insight! I think you are right. However, the maintainer of the org-ref package states here: kitchingroup.cheme.cmu.edu/blog/2014/05/13/… that the package was written with bibtex in mind - I am wondering what setup makes most sense here.
    – troelsgk
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 9:28
  • Either way should work. Bibtex is much more tested, but as far as I know standard biblatex works fine too. Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 13:12
  • @JohnKitchin thank you very much for your time!! And your huge efforts into helping everyone out with your programming. If you make your comment into an answer, I will accept that.
    – troelsgk
    Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 9:00

1 Answer 1


Org-ref supports standard bibtex and biblatex as far as I know. So far neither of those has been a limitation.

  • Thank you so much! Will add any useful experiences here when I have my setup with biblatex ready.
    – troelsgk
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 14:48

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