I've been writing articles with Google Docs and Zotero. Recently, I tried Org-mode with Org-ref package, but the output was not so good.

My Problems:

  • The citation is verbose without any rule. I expected it will be concisely expressed in numbers, etc., following some rule or style of a certain scientific journals, but it was not.
  • The bibliography is not numbered. It is difficult to find out which part of the text the reference is cited.

I don't use LaTex. What I want is only HTML output following some style of a specific scientific journal.

Question: Can my problems be fixed by some advanced configuration of Org-ref? If possible, how can it be fixed?

Many Thanks.

My "~/.emacs" configuration (Windows 10 pro 64bits)

    (use-package org-ref
      :after org
      (setq reftex-default-bibliography '("C:/Users/k/Documents/emacs_practice/news.bib"))
      (setq org-ref-bibliography-notes "C:/Users/k/Documents/emacs_practice/notes.org"
            org-ref-default-bibliography '("C:/Users/k/Documents/emacs_practice/news.bib")
            org-ref-pdf-directory "C:/Users/k/Documents/emacs_practice/pdf/")
      (setq helm-bibtex-bibliography "C:/Users/k/Documents/emacs_practice/news.bib")
      (setq helm-bibtex-library-path "C:/Users/k/Documents/emacs_practice/pdf/")
      (setq helm-bibtex-pdf-open-function
            (lambda (fpath)
              (start-process "open" "*open*" "open" fpath)))
      (setq helm-bibtex-notes-path "C:/Users/k/Documents/emacs_practice/notes.org")
      (key-chord-define-global "uu" 'org-ref-cite-hydra/body)
      ;; variables that control bibtex key format for auto-generation
      ;; I want firstauthor-year-title-words
      ;; this usually makes a legitimate filename to store pdfs under.
      (setq bibtex-autokey-year-length 4
            bibtex-autokey-name-year-separator "-"
            bibtex-autokey-year-title-separator "-"
            bibtex-autokey-titleword-separator "-"
            bibtex-autokey-titlewords 2
            bibtex-autokey-titlewords-stretch 1
            bibtex-autokey-titleword-length 5))

Emacs captured
enter image description here

HTML output
enter image description here

1 Answer 1


org-ref does not play well (natively) with docx, odt or html export. Its creator (J. Kitchin) explains why in several blog posts.

I don't know if this is the canonical (or even a good) way to proceed, but here is the workaround I use when I want clean references for an html export.

  1. Install ox-bibtex (i.e., put it your load-path and add (require 'ox-bibtex) into your .emacs file) if you still don't have it. You can find it here for example. (Let's take a look at its embedded documentation.)

  2. As explained in the documentation of ox-bibtex, you'll also need to install the external software bibtex2html. It seems that there is a Windows binary available on its web page.

  3. This is almost done! Let's consider the following org file:

    #+TITLE: My html output
    #+AUTHOR: Philopolis
    * Headline
    cite:tao2016_Analysis is a great book about analysis.
    #+BIBLIOGRAPHY: biblio plain limit:t option:-nobibsource
    * Biblio                                                           :noexport:

    You'll note that here, we'll need a #+BIBLIOGRAPHY keyword, where you must at least indicate your bib file, your desired style (here, "plain" style). Some other options (such as limit:t which I use here) are described within the documentation. Finally, I place the bibliography:biblio.bib statement within an Org section which is not exported (you still need that for org-ref to work).

Here is my output: enter image description here


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