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I want to switch to biblatex but despite the rather minimal changes suggested in some answers to switching from natbib, there's really a lot that seems to need changing. For example, the "In:" needs to go. The order of entries needs to change. The book edition field needs to change as well as move. Basically, there's a lot more to do than suggested in the answers to the first question.

Is there a simple way that I can start with a biblatex style that behaves exactly like plainnat (modulo the incompatible changes to the various fields like edition) and then tweak it from there?

It's not worth my time right now (deadlines, you understand) to start from numeric-comp and then try to figure out what needs to change in order to match plainnat. This is exacerbated by needing to have two slightly different versions of the .bib (again, for things like edition) to test for differences.

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Does anyone actually use plainnat? Like every 'standard' style I've ever seen, it's a nice model but not useful, as you should always be matching some published style, which inevitably is not the same as any of the 'standards'. –  Joseph Wright Mar 22 '11 at 17:55
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@Joseph: I've published mostly with ACM, IEEE, and USENIX. IEEE provides a BibTeX style file. The others do not. (It may depend on the particular conferences, so others may have different experiences.) For ACM and USENIX, the plain style is used. So I find it pretty useful. –  TH. Mar 22 '11 at 18:55
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I'm afraid the short answer is: Simple, biblatex, exactly like plainnat -- choose two out of three.

Longer answer: As soon as you provide exact specifications in what way, say, the numeric-comp style needs to be modified in order to pass as an exact plainnat replica, it should be possible to provide these modifications. (There's also the possibility that a custom style is a better starting point.) However, if you have to meet a deadline right now, I would advise to postpone the switch to biblatex.

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If I knew what needed to be changed, then I could probably do it. But part of the problem is that I don't know for sure. I listed things that I found with two references. Since I don't know for sure how many things need to be changed, I'm hesitant to make the switch. And there's always another deadline. –  TH. Mar 22 '11 at 18:49
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This solution gives you a format very similar to plainnat.

\usepackage[style=authoryear-comp,firstinits=true,citestyle=authoryear,natbib=true,backend=bibtex]{biblatex}
\renewcommand\nameyeardelim{, }
\DeclareNameAlias{sortname}{last-first}
\renewcommand*{\multinamedelim}{\addcomma\space}
\renewcommand*{\finalnamedelim}{\addcomma\space}
\setlength{\bibitemsep}{\baselineskip}
\renewbibmacro{in:}{}
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The option firstinits=true would seem to run counter to the plainnat approach. At least I've never known it to abbreviate first and middle names. –  Mico Sep 29 '13 at 20:41
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