I’ve finally managed to integrate JabRef, the powerful but lightweight bibliography organizer/manager/applicator, and LibreOffice on my Ubuntu machine. It was quite bit tricky, especially because I am a new user of JabRef.

Why was it tricky? It was tricky because I was misled by a how-to tutorial written for JabRef users on Mac OS and Windows environments. In the tutorial, the writer (a JabRef on Mac user) provides a download link for the plugin that integrates JabRef with OpenOffice/LibreOffice. In my ignorance, I downloaded the link and installed it manually.

The problem is: you don’t need to manually download (from an external website) and install a separate plugin if you use JabRef on Ubuntu or other GNU/Linux distros. You can do everything from Ubuntu Software Center (or through command line interface).

So, how do you install JabRef and integrate it with LibreOffice if you run Ubuntu?

Here are the steps:

  1. Download and install JabRef through “Ubuntu Software Center” or through command line by typing: sudo apt-get install jabref
  2. Then download and install “jabref plugin for LibreOffice” through “Ubuntu Software Center” (called “jabref-plugin-oo”) or through command line by typing: sudo apt-get install jabref-plugin-oo
  3. If both of them are installed, now you can open JabRef. If you run Ubuntu 15.10 or 16.04, your JabRef version should be JabRef 2.10.
  4. Then open LibreOffice and make sure to activate Java Runtime Environment. Go to “Tools –> Option –> LibreOffice –> Advanced.” Once you’re there, check “Use Java Runtime Environment” and check “Oracle Corporation”
  5. Now go to JabRef and click “Tools” and then “OpenOffice/LibreOffice Connection”
  6. When the OpenOffice panel appears, locate the two “power plug” buttons and click one on the right. When the dialog box pops up, fill out “Path to OpenOffice library dir” (the second line) with “/usr/lib/libreoffice”
  7. Your JabRef and LibreOffice are now integrated!

Enjoy!

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