I would like to have a way for people to download an article from my document, and I thought of adding a hyperlink to the title of the article as follows:

download link

But I guess it could be done in a better way, so I thought I could do the same and add a 'download' button or something at the end of the reference. There are so many symbols out there that I was wondering if there's a convention on how to do what I'm trying to do or if there are particular symbols that are used for this.

  • I've been sent here from tex.exchange since my question seems to be off-topic in the LaTeX world. Since I'm asking about a reference style, this is definitely the right exchange forum.
    – aaragon
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 15:46
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is about user interface design, not about academia.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 16:22
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    Where else in the world do you see the formatting of bibliographic entries as we do it in academia?
    – aaragon
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 16:24
  • PDFs have hyperlink functionality. Typically, I would say that you do it in-line and with a blue font/underline as necessary.
    – Compass
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 16:31
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    Can you please specify: 1) What kind of document are we talking about here? E.g., a thesis, a paper, etc.? 2) What are your restrictions on the citation style and place. 3) who is going to read your document in what format? 4) What’s wrong with the standard blue colour?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 17:18

4 Answers 4


If I'm doing to link to an article, I typically do it with its title.

Make sure that you get the permanent link for the article, however: many sites differentiate between a guaranteed permanent link (often DOI-based) and the way that things happen to be presented and organized at present, which is the URL you end up at and which may not persist.


You can certainly link the title of the article. However, I suggest you have a PDF icon with your article info, and link that instead (or perhaps in addition to) the title.

Why? Because the icon catches people's attention, everyone knows what it means, and you want to encourage people to download it. Suppose I'm a fellow researcher, and I'm looking at your list of articles. Maybe I came across your page while looking for something else, maybe I just want cite one of your other articles, or maybe I'm looking for one of your other articles. In any case, I'm not necessarily intending to download this article, so I'm not actively looking for a link, and I might overlook the link that you provided. But when I see the PDF icon, I realise that the article is there for me if I want it. So I'm likely to take a second look at the article title to see if it might be of interest to me.

enter image description here

  • It's a proposal document, not a website. Do you think it's professional enough to put a pdf logo on it?
    – aaragon
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 16:43
  • Sorry, I should have read more carefully. In that case, you probably don't want any icons in your document.
    – mhwombat
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 17:30

If you don't have tight space constraints, the best solution might be adding a field DOI:10.xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx at the end of the reference, and make it a link to dx.doi.org. In this way even people who get a paper copy of your article can "follow" the links and everyone has a stable permalink for your paper.

Biblatex formats the DOI field like this automatically (link included) if your .bib file includes DOI fields.

  • Very tight space constraints, and I actually can't do the DOI with the style I'm using...
    – aaragon
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 16:44

If you keep the title in a different colour or with a coloured border, everybody will understand it's a link. If a reader wants to reach the article, he'll first try to click on it, expecting a webpage containing the article or a PDF of it directly. I don't think you need to add anything to what you have.

  • In the end I didn't.
    – aaragon
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 20:56

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