The JabRef main window
Note: most menu actions referred in the following have keyboard shortcuts,
and many are available from the toolbar. The keyboard shortcuts are found in the
This is the main window from where you work with your databases. Below
the menubar and the toolbar is a tabbed pane containing a panel for
each of your currently open databases. When you select one of these
panels, a table appears, listing all the database's entries, as well
as a configurable selection of their fields.
- You decide which fields are shown in the table by checking the fields you want
to see in the Preferences dialog.
- Fields can be edited directly in the table, by simply clicking on a cell and
typing the contents
(this edition mode is possible only if "Allow editing in table cells"
is selected in Options --> Preferences --> General).
Double-click a cell to enter a more powerful edit mode.
You can navigate the table with the arrow keys.
- The table is sorted according to a set of fields of your choosing.
The default sort order is set up in Preferences -> Entry table,
but to quickly change the order,
click the header of a column to set it as the primary sort criterion, or
reverse the sorting if it is already set. Another click will deselect the column
as sorting criterion. Hold down CONTROL and click a column to add, reverse
or remove it as a sub-criterion after the primary column. You can add an arbitrary
number of sub-criteria.
- Adjust the width of each column by dragging the borders between
- In the Preferences dialog, toggle whether the table should be
resized to fit the window. Enable this to ensure visibility of the whole table,
and disable it to make room for displaying more information.
- Color codes can be toggled in the Preferences dialog, and
they help you visualize the completeness of your database by coloring cells as
- A red cell in the leftmost column denotes an
- A yellow cell in the leftmost column denotes an entry
that doesn't define all required fields by itself, but that contains a
- A blue cell denotes a required field.
- A green cell denotes an optional field.
- An uncolored cell denotes a field which is not used by the bibtex
program for this type of entry. The field can still be edited in JabRef.
Adding a new entry
There are several ways to add a new entry. The New entry menu
action shows a dialog where you can choose the type of the entry from a list. To
bypass this dialog, there are also separate menu actions for each entry type, and
keyboard shortcuts for the most common types.
When a new entry is added, by default an
editor dialog for the entry will be
opened. This behaviour can be toggled in the Preferences dialog.
Note: We strongly recommend learning the shortcuts for
the entry types you use most often, e.g. CTRL-SHIFT-A for adding an
Editing an entry To open an editor dialog for an existing entry,
simply double-click in the leftmost column of the appropriate line, or
select the entry and press ENTER.
If "Allow editing in table cells" is not selected in the dialog window
Options --> Preferences --> General, a double-click anywhere
on the appropriate line will open the editor dialog.
Referencing a bibtex string in a field
In JabRef you write the contents of all fields the same way as you
would in a text editor, with one exception: to reference a string,
enclose the name of the string in a set of # characters, e.g.:
which will be interpreted as the string named 'jan' followed by ' 1997'.
See also: string editor.