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Papers by ReadCube is a reference management tool that provides advanced search, annotation, and library management features.

One of things you can do with Papers is export single or multiple selected references as entries in a BibTeX database file (.bib file). This BibTeX file can then be used to generate citations and bibliographies within LaTeX documents written in Overleaf.

A .bib file exported from Papers can be uploaded to your Overleaf project using the Upload or New File button above the project's Menu. Once uploaded, the .bib file can be used with LaTeX's BibTeX, natbib, or BibLaTeX bibliography management packages to create citations and build your project's reference list.

If new entries are added to your Papers library, you will need to export them and update your Overleaf project with the new or updated .bib file.

Things to keep in mind when using Papers by ReadCube with Overleaf

As with the output from any reference management software, it’s important to review BibTeX database entries exported from Papers for any errors or unexpected output. In particular, you should look out for the following:

  • Papers may not support all BibTeX database entry types. Some references in an exported .bib file that should be typed as @book, @online, @inproceedings, etc. may be exported as an @article instead. You may need to manually update the type for some of your .bib file entries.
  • Papers may not handle all field names or values for particular types. Be sure to review the field names and values for exported references to make sure they’re as expected.
  • Generate citeKeys cautiously. In a BibTeX database entry, the citeKey is the unique identifier that is used to in citations for that entry. A citeKey is never shown in the compiled document, but is used in your LaTeX source file and should be easy for you to recognize. Papers provides good options for generating citeKeys. By default, citeKeys may be a hard-to-recognize field like the doi, so it is best to explicitly generate citeKeys based on easy to remember fields (author name and year, for example) before exporting to a .bib file. Be cautious not to unintentionally regenerate citeKeys for entries that you have already cited in your Overleaf project, however.

More about citations and references

Want to know more about citations and references in Overleaf? Take a look at these articles:

Overleaf guides

LaTeX Basics


Figures and tables

References and Citations


Document structure





Field specific

Class files

Advanced TeX/LaTeX