R Sweave will not create a .bbl file on Linux Ubuntu

I revive the message of gentryae (natbib error (no .bbl file created)) because I have a similar problem but on Ubuntu 18.04.2 and not on MacOS : R Sweave does not create automatically the .bbl file necessary to detect citations in the text. I found a solution with compiling in another program (Impossible to cite with biblatex in R Sweave) but it would much more convenient not to compile three times the same file (on two different softwares).

One of the comments here (https://stackoverflow.com/questions/55682811/rstudio-will-not-write-a-bbl-file-when-compiling-rnw-file-with-citations-in-na) mentioned the fact that maybe R Sweave does not run bibtex. Is there something to do to fix this problem ?

(I have already asked this a few weeks ago but since answers are not allowed anymore, I refresh it)

Hi @bretauv!

Sorry to hear about the trouble you're having. There has been at lest one other Sweave/bibtex-related thread here recently:


Does anything in that person's experience help you out?

actually, we've had a conversation on stackoverflow (https://stackoverflow.com/questions/57136664/r-sweave-does-not-compile-bbl-file?noredirect=1#comment101721867_57136664) and his solution (uninstall miktex and install tinytex) does not work for me. Do you know why R does not run biber and if improvements are to come ?

I finally got the solution, here's what I did :

  • based on the comments of this person, I uninstalled MikTeX and the complete TeX distributions on my computer. Since I use Ubuntu, I used purge to remove MikTeX, TeXLive, tex-commons, etc.

  • then, I installed (or re-installed) TinyTeX (details here)

  • I installed manually the packages I needed with tlmgr_install(). Normally, it can be done automatically but that's what I did.

  • finally, I replaced biber by bibtex in \usepackage[backend = biber]{biblatex} (this person explains why it is important)

This last step made it work, but I don't know if the previous ones are important or not. Since he succeeded in compiling the bibliography too, I suppose it is necessary but there's no way for me to prove it.

Anyway, now, when I compile the Sweave document, the bibliography is directly created. Thanks a lot to this person for his/her ideas.

Edit : I re-installed MikTeX after all of this and it works too.

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