How can I update references after editing the bibliography entry?

Hi there!

Writing my text I inserted Bibliography entries that were only rudimentarily filled in in the database.

I now started to complete the entries in the database, however the references in the text do not update automatically. Which means that my List of References at the end of the text stays the same rudimentary one.

Do I have to insert each reference again or is there a way to update them all in one go?

Thanks for any help!

I have exactly the same issue, it’s annoying…

OK, I will try again to explain my problem more clearly.

Writing an academic text with inserting references in the text.


→ tools → Bibliography Database

I opened the database, typed in the entry data in the single fields and allocated a short name to each entry

in the text, when I want to insert a reference I select the short name from a dropdown menu via

→ Insert → Indexes and Tables → Bibliography Entry

voila, the short name in brackets appears in the text.

At the end of the text I select

→ Insert → Indexes and Tables → Indexes and Tables

to insert the List of References which shows all data I filled into the Bibliography Database


when I now change the entries in the bibliography database, e.g. add or delete information, these changes are not taken over by the List of References when I update that field (Rightclick → Update Index/Table)

Any hints on that? Or do I have to insert each reference into the text anew?

See third comment on the question itself.

Take a look in:

That did not work. The entry data of every single reference I inserted in the text is not updated by the data that I added in the bibliography database.

if I click on such a reference and select “edit” it still shows the old rudimentary data, not the data I manually added in the bibliography database. Even if I do edit the fields here, it does not take over the changes.

If I insert the same reference anew, it does.
However I do not necessarily want to insert every reference again…

don’t ask with new answers, use comments.

I can reproduces this on Win 7 64bit with LO and Ubuntu 12.04 with LO - here’s my bug report:

@CCK1: Feel free to emend the bug report or to subscribe it for updates and comments of other users.

Current status of fdo#53165 is NEW. According to the bug report, it’s been a bug in OpenOffice since at least 2005.

For now, it looks like this feature is not supported in LibreOffice. Sorry about that!

fdo#53165 has been marked as duplicate of

Bug 60232 - Possibility to update bibliography references from bibliography database

Status: NEW

This contribution is not an answer, but a comment to the question.
A workaround can be found in bug report 60232. (Bug 60232 exists unmodified since many years but was recently (August 2019) commented.

I found this solution:

I inserted again the entry at the end of the document; it asked me to update the current entry; I selected yes.
So now the entry is updated in the rest of the document.
The same for every entries.

This is kind of the real workaround, but the description is awkward and too short. I Try my own answer. See below.

There are three terms to clarify first:

The “bibliography entry” (bib-entry) in the internal or external bibliography database is describing a cited document by Authors, Title, Journal, Number, Year, etc.

The “bibliography index” (bib-index) is typically a list of formatted bibliography entries listing all cited documents in a paper as index.

The “citation”, typically is a sequence number given in the text in brackets “[1]” pointing as crossreference from the text to the particular bib-entry in the bib-index.

If you need to update the bib-entry because something was missing or mistyped, just do it by “bibliography entry” “edit”.
However updating the index will not reflect your change in the index. (This is the bug!!!)

Go into your text where you’ve cited the document in question, insert the “citation” newly (a second time, the citation is now duplicate “[1][1]” !!!) and remove the old citation (yielding “[1]”). Finally an update on the bib-index will reflect your changed bib-entry in the bib-index.

The same method applies if you are changing entries in an external bib-database and want to have the changes reflect in your bib-index.

OK, this only works for small papers citing only a limited number of bib-entries. There is no solution for big papers or books. The recommendation is to use other tools like Zotero or Mendeley to collect your entries and compile your indices.

(I’m writing this for myself, as I always forget how to fix it.)