In order to create a citation, press C-c [. RefTeX then prompts for a regular expression which will be used to search through the database and present the list of matches to choose from in a selection process similar to that for selecting labels (see Referencing Labels).
The regular expression uses an extended syntax: ‘&&’ defines a
and for regular expressions. For example
‘Einstein&&Bose’ will match all articles which mention
Bose-Einstein condensation, or which are co-authored by Bose and
Einstein. When entering the regular expression, you can complete on
known citation keys. RefTeX also offers a default when prompting for
a regular expression. This default is the word before the cursor or the
word before the current ‘\cite’ command. Sometimes this may be a
good search key.
RefTeX prefers to use BibTeX database files specified with a
\bibliography macro to collect its information. Just like
BibTeX, it will search for the specified files in the current directory
and along the path given in the environment variable
If you do not use BibTeX, but the document contains an explicit
thebibliography environment, RefTeX will collect its
information from there. Note that in this case the information
presented in the selection buffer will just be a copy of relevant
\bibitem entries, not the structured listing available with
BibTeX database files.
In the selection buffer, the following keys provide special commands. A summary of this information is always available from the selection process by pressing ?.
reftex-highlight-selection, Options - Misc.
\citemacro referring to them.
\citemacro for each of it.
In order to define additional commands for this selection process, the
reftex-select-bib-map may be used.
Note that if you do not use Emacs to edit the BibTeX database files, RefTeX will ask if the related buffers should be updated once it detects that the files were changed externally. If you do not want to be bothered by such queries, you can activate Auto Revert mode for these buffers by adding the following expression to your init file:
(add-hook 'bibtex-mode-hook 'turn-on-auto-revert-mode)