JabRef: Free, Open source Reference manager for Windows, macOS, & Linux

JabRef: Free, Open source Reference manager for Windows, macOS, & Linux

What is Reference Manager?

Reference manager allows researchers and authors to organize their references by building a local digital library. Researchers are managing a huge amount of data that is collected from many sources, Reference managers help in keeping track of the collected references.

What is JabRef?

JabRef [src:JabRef]

JabRef is an open-source bibliography reference manager, It's built with Java which means it works on Windows, Linux, & macOS. JabRef is a desktop application, easy to install and use, has a rich list of features that saves researchers time and improve the quality. It uses BibTeX as his native format.


  • Free
  • Open source released under MIT license
  • Cross-platform works for Windows, Linux, & macOS.
  • Seamless system integration
  • Multi-lingual support
  • Multiple search options
  • Supports multiple formats


  • Simple customizable UI
  • Reference: Sorting, filtering, group listing
  • Full-text search support
  • Advanced search for external databases like arXiv, CiteseerX, Google Scholar, Medline, GVK, IEEEXplore, and Springer.
  • Firefox extension
  • Pattern search support
  • Entries classification
  • Metadata support
  • Built-in and custom export formats:HTML, Docbook, BibTeXML, MODS, RTF, Refer/Endnote, and OpenOffice.org as well as LibreOffice
  • BibTex field customization
  • Automatic lookup of Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)
  • Open documents with external viewers
  • Export filters with a powerful export editor
  • JabRef-LibreOffice integration
  • Compatible with many text-editors and document processor (Emacs, Lyx/Kile, WinEdt, Texmaker, Vim)
  • Compatible with OpenOffice and LibreOffice
  • Automatic download of full texts

External tools

1- JabFox; Mozilla Firefox extension

If you use Mozilla Firefox to browse papers, JabFox helps you to create and manage references then importing them to JabRef.

2- Bibtex4word

With this Microsoft Word Add-in, you can insert bibliography directly into the document.

Documentation & Support

JabRef offers rich documentation and manual for end-users, and well-written FAQs (Frequently asked questions). It also provides flexible support as well as developer documentation.


JabRef has been translated into many languages to help researchers all over the world. It is available in Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese (simplified), Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Persian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, & Vietnamese.


JabRef is available to download in 2 versions: the latest stable release and a development snapshot version. It provides 2 versions for Windows 32bit & 64bit. JAR file is also available but requires Java 8+ to run.


JabRef is a free and features-rich reference manager that runs for all popular operating systems. It supports multiple formats, and word processors programs including LibreOffice/ OpenOffice, Microsoft Office, Latex, Emax & Texmaker. We would recommend it for researchers who use multiple operating systems also for who use one operating system.

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Hamza Mu

Written by Hamza Mu

A physician with programming skills, Linux user since late 1990s, Open-source supporter. Created several medical products EMR/ DICOM and more.
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