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Command line application to convert .bib files to glossaries-extra.sty resource file

Related resources: bib2gls FAQ and bib2gls gallery.

Related TUGboat articles:

(This application was developed as a follow-up from my answer on TeX on StackExchange.)

The bib2gls tool forms part of a LaTeX document build, performing two functions in one: glossary information is fetched from one or more .bib files by examining the .aux file (similar to BibTeX) and the terms are then sorted hierarchically and the locations collated into compact lists (similar to Makeindex/Xindy). A .glstex file is then created containing the data defined in terms of \longnewglossaryentry* or \newabbreviation (provided by glossaries-extra.sty) in the appropriate order. This file is input by \GlsXtrLoadResources (which also writes the required settings to the .aux file for bib2gls). The glossary can then simply by displayed with \printunsrtglossary. The .bib files can be managed in an application like JabRef. You may prefer to start with the introductory guide before moving on to the main user manual.

This application requires at least Java 8 and at least v1.12 of glossaries-extra.sty (2017-02-03) and at least v4.04 of glossaries.sty. (Although newer versions are recommended, and may be required for some features.) The main home page is

The latest stable version of bib2gls is available from CTAN. The code in this GitHub repository may be for an unstable version. Stable versions have a version number in the form major.minor. Unstable versions have a version number in the form major.minor.YYYYMMDD.

If you already have a .tex file containing lots of definitions using \newglossaryentry, \newacronym etc, you can convert it to a .bib file using the supplementary command line application convertgls2bib. For example, if the original definitions are in entries.tex then

convertgls2bib entries.tex entries.bib

will create the file entries.bib containing all the definitions found in entries.tex. Other information in entries.tex should be ignored, but command definitions will be parsed. (Avoid any code that's overly complicated. The TeX parser library isn't a TeX engine!)

The .bib format doesn't support spaces in labels, so if your .tex file has spaces in labels use --space-sub replacement to substitute the spaces with replacement. For example

convertgls2bib --space-sub '-' entries.tex entries.bib

will replace spaces with hyphens or

convertgls2bib --space-sub '' entries.tex entries.bib

will strip spaces. The values of the see, seealso and alias fields will also be adjusted, but any references using \gls etc will have to be replaced manually (or use your text editor's search and replace function).


The files should be installed as follows where TEXMF indicates your local or home TEXMF path (for example, ~/texmf/):

  • TEXMF/scripts/bib2gls/ (Unix-like systems only)
  • TEXMF/scripts/bib2gls/bib2gls.jar
  • TEXMF/scripts/bib2gls/ (Unix-like systems only)
  • TEXMF/scripts/bib2gls/convertgls2bib.jar
  • TEXMF/scripts/bib2gls/texparserlib.jar
  • TEXMF/scripts/bib2gls/resources/bib2gls-en.xml
  • TEXMF/doc/support/bib2gls/bib2gls.pdf

For Unix-like systems, add a symbolic link called bib2gls somewhere on your path that links to the bash script. For example:

cd ~/bin
ln -s ~/texmf/scripts/bib2gls/ bib2gls

To test the installation run the following from your command prompt or terminal:

bib2gls --version

If you get the following message:

Fatal error: Can't find language resource file.

then check that the resources sub-directory has been correctly copied over.

Windows users may find that their TeX distribution has converted the bib2gls.jar file to an executable bib2gls.exe. If not, you can create a batch script analogous to called bib2gls.bat that contains the following:

FOR /F "tokens=*" %%I IN ('kpsewhich --progname=bib2gls --format=texmfscripts bib2gls.jar') DO SET JARPATH=%%I
java -Djava.locale.providers=CLDR,JRE -jar "%JARPATH%" %*

(Similarly for convertgls2bib.jar.)

Compile Source Code

Create sub-directories src/lib, src/classes/com/dickimawbooks/bib2gls and src/classes/com/dickimawbooks/gls2bib

Requires texparserlib.jar which can be compiled from texparser.

Copy texparserlib.jar to src/lib.

Compile from src using:

cd java/bib2gls
javac -d ../../classes -cp ../../lib/texparserlib.jar *.java
cd ../classes
jar cmf ../java/bib2gls/Manifest.txt ../lib/bib2gls.jar com/dickimawbooks/bib2gls/*.class

Similarly for gls2bib. The actual .jar file is called convertgls2bib.jar to reduce the chances of accidentally using the wrong application.

cd java/gls2bib
javac -d ../../classes -cp ../../lib/texparserlib.jar *.java
cd ../classes
jar cmf ../java/gls2bib/Manifest.txt ../lib/convertgls2bib.jar com/dickimawbooks/gls2bib/*.class

License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.


Command line application to convert .bib files to glossaries-extra.sty resource file




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