Getting the BibDesk TeX preview to work with biblatex and biber.

Since switching from BibTeX to biblatex and the marvelous historian style (an implementation of Chicago/Turabian! with support for archival sources!), I was having difficulty getting the TeX preview function to work properly in BibDesk, my GUI reference manager frontend for BibTeX. The problem: despite the fact that I was telling BibDesk to use biber as the backend for biblatex, it wasn’t getting the message. But today I finally got it working. The key: changing the path in the BibDesk Tex Preview preferences pane (“full path to bibtex”) so that it points to biber instead of BibTeX. For me, that path is:


I’ve also set the BibTex style to biblatex in the same preference pane. The program will warn you that this isn’t one of the 8 included styles, but just go ahead. It works fine.

My LaTeX template looks like this:

% The following command is provided for LaTeX2RTF compatibility with amslatex.


%Required packages
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} %Other encodings also ok, just not utf8x
\usepackage [english,
american] %‘‘american’’ goes last, as main option.
\usepackage [babel=once, %Sets quote style once for whole document
english=american] %American quote style
%Load Biblatex and Historian, with recommended options
[style=historian, %Loads the Historian files
sorting=nty, %Sorts bibliography by name, title
autocite=footnote, %Autocite command generates footnotes
babel=hyphen, %Allows hyphenation rules for foreign languages to
%apply to individual entries.
%(The other language rules should all be American)
mincrossrefs=1, %Includes all x-ref’ed entries in the bibliography
usetranslator=true, %Translator’s name may be substituted for
%author or editor, if the latter are blank
printseries] %Options provided by Historian, see below



I hope this is helpful to people who have run into the same difficulty!


3 thoughts on “Getting the BibDesk TeX preview to work with biblatex and biber.

  1. Ain’t she sweet?
    See her walking down the street!
    Now I ask you con-fi-den-tially…
    Ain’t she sweet?


  2. You are the first light at the end of the tunnel! I was looking for an integration of biblatex with bibdesk for days now. You’re obviously a Mac user, so my question is which editor you’re using.

    I go with Lyx as a convenient WYSIWYM editor and want to include Bibdesk as my database bibliography manager working with biblatex and biber. Then, I can cite from within Lyx referring to Bibdesk.


  3. Hi neo,

    Glad this was helpful to you! I use TeXShop to do my editing, which I’ve found to be a great interface for doing the raw TeX, with good preview functionality. (It’s certainly less glitchy than TeXWorks, which I’ve also used, and abandoned for that reason.) I don’t think I’ve used Lyx since college, though it’s good to know it’s still out there.

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