asciidoc-bib is a program to add references from a bibtex file to an asciidoc file.


  • simple syntax for adding a citation within text and placing bibliography

  • formatting of references and reference list according to range of styles supported by citeproc-ruby

  • supports some styling of citation text (page numbers, bracket placement, and pretext)

  • multiple references within a single citation

  • groups consecutive numeric references, e.g. [1,2,3] → [1-3]

  • use by transforming source text to include references and full reference list

(Note: if you are using asciidoctor, instead use asciidoctor-bibtex.)


$ gem install asciidoc-bib --source

Installs the executable:

  • 'asciidoc-bib' for transforming source text into asciidoc

asciidoc-bib depends on bibtex-ruby, citeproc-ruby and csl-styles. (You may need to install 'ruby-dev' and 'libxslt1-dev', so the dependencies compile.)


'asciidoc-bib' works by transforming an asciidoc document containing syntax to include citations and a bibliography. The transformed document will contain a complete reference and bibliography list where indicated, and can then be processed further by asciidoc’s toolchain to produce a completed document.

Styles must be one of those supported by CSL.

Include a citation

Syntax for inserting a citation is [cite|citenp:(pretext:)ref(,pages)] where 'pretext' and 'pages' are optional. The ref and optional pages may be repeated multiple times, separated by ';'. A citation must be complete on a single line of text.

Examples of chicago-author-date style:

[cite:Lane12] becomes "(Lane 2012)"

[citenp:Lane12] becomes "Lane (2012)"

[cite:Lane12,59] becomes "(Lane 2012, 59)"

[cite:See:Lane12,59] becomes "(See Lane 2012, 59)"

[cite:See:Lane12,59;Lane11] becomes "(See Lane 2012, 59; Lane 2011)"

For apa (Harvard-like) style:

[cite:Lane12] becomes "(Lane, 2012)"

[citenp:Lane12] becomes "Lane (2012)"

[cite:Lane12,59] becomes "(Lane, 2012, p.59)"

For ieee, a numeric style:

[cite:Lane12;Lane11] becomes "[1, 2]"

[cite:See:Lane12,59;Lane11] becomes "See [1 p.59, 2]"

Place bibliography in text

[bibliography] on a line by itself.

Processing text: Asciidoc

> asciidoc-bib filename.txt

Looks for a bib file in current folder and in ~/Documents.

Outputs a new file: filename-ref.txt which includes your references.

Check the new file, and process in the usual way with asciidoc.

Command-line options:

> asciidoc-bib -h
Usage: asciidoc-bib filename
    -h, --help                       help message
    -b, --bibfile FILE               location of bib file
    -n, --no-links                   do not add internal links
                                     sort numeric styles in alphabetical order (DEFAULT)
                                     sort numeric styles in order of appearance
    -s, --style STYLE                reference style
    -v, --version                    show version
All styles available through CSL are supported.
The default style is 'apa'.


  • no automatic use of et al

  • no asciidoctor options in asciidoctor-bib

  • bracketed citations should not be placed in footnotes

Notes on Using

There is a sample document and bibliography in the folder 'samples'; build "sample-1.txt", which includes "sample-2.txt".

If you make a Bibliography/Reference heading, a2x interprets this specially, and will fail to make a pdf. To prevent a2x treating a heading specially, place a section template name, [sect1], before it.