Fix BibTeX error with .bbl file

Sometimes cryptic errors occur if there was a syntax error in a .bib BibTeX bibliography file that doesn’t disappear even when the .bib syntax is corrected. The fix for this is often to delete the auto-generated files:

Example

Suppose the top-level LaTeX file is “main.tex”. Then the compilation generates main.bbl and main.aux among several others. If you keep getting errors when you know the syntax is correct then try:

rm main.aux main.bbl

pdflatex main
bibtex main
pdflatex main
pdflatex main

and see if that clears the error.