[Tex/LaTex] n (easy) way to create or personalize .bst files


When you prepare an article for a journal (in my case, Quantum Information and Computation, Rinton Press), often they ask you to use some format for your references; in my case, the following:

[1] R. Calderbank and P. Shor (1996), Good quantum error
correcting codes exist
, Phys. Rev. A, 54, pp. 1098-1106.

[2] M.A. Nielsen and J. Kempe (2001), Separable states
are more disordered globally than locally
, quant-ph/0105090.

[3] A.W. Marshall and I. Olkin (1979), Inequalities:
theory of majorization and its applications
, Academic Press (New

The issue is, sometimes (and this is the case) they do not provide a .bst style file for bibtex users. I (and I guess many other people) prefer not to copy all the references of a bibtex file one by one into a tex document. So here is the question I am trying to answer:

What is the easiest way to create a .bst file? (for Rinton or any other publisher)

At first sight, I thought this would be very easy to do: after all, a .bst file is just a mere script to give format to a list. Strangely to me, after a long search I have been unable to find a simple clean solution to this problem. These are the the options I have been looking at:

  1. I have tried to adapt a previous .bst file: concretely, apsrev4-1.bst, which has a similar format. Other people have tried this solution before [1], [2]. However, it is an ugly option. First, it requires going through the script of the .bst and understanding it. Second, the script format used in different .bst files differs (quite annoyingly), so it is not easy to modify them unless you do understand what's written.

  2. The above solution is quite hideous and you really lose time on it, so I was wondering: isn't there any software tool (hopefully with a GUI) that does this job? It should, after all, pretty easy to program for a .bst script expert some sort of program to generate .bst files. There are some related questions in this site asking for something similar [3], [4]; there I have seen a couple of proposed apps, but going through their manuals they seem not so easy to use. Isn't there some software tool available to generate a .bst in less than 1 hour of work?

Remarks: ideally I would like to use/personalize/create .bst styles that support eprint fields (e.g. aps4-1.bst).

Best Answer

As Ulrike said, use makebst tool available in your distribution. Note that the program will ask a long list of questions, so have some time on your hand when you do this. It can be invoked as:

latex makebst
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