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I have been working on a custom biblatex style, for which I want the bibliography to display at most 2 authors, meaning that the entries should be either:

  • First (single author)
  • First & Second (two authors)
  • First et al. (three and more)

I came up with the following name format, to which I feed the first three authors using \printnames[][1-3]{author}\space in the \DeclareBibliographyDriver commands.

%%%% authors
        {#1 \ifblank{#4}{}{\addcomma\space #4}}%
                        {, et~al.}%

It's working just fine, but given that I intend to move to biblatex, I'd like to have a very clean code, so the question is basically: how can it be improved?

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1 Answer

up vote 8 down vote accepted

What about name lists for editors or translators? If you want to apply the same truncation throughout, just use the package option maxnames=2. The rest is achieved by redefining \finalnamedelim - a macro that sets the delimiter before the final item in a name list.




Filler text \parencite{bertram,companion,jaffe,moraux}.

enter image description here

The above sample document applies the format in both citations and the bibliography. To limit it only to the bibliography, use the option maxbibnames=2 and


If you're really determined to define your own style, I'd use the generic name formats from biblatex.def as a starting point. Your format deviates from these in terms of name delimiters (\bibnamedelim...), name part format (\mkbibname..., casing, initials, order, etc.), elimination of spurious whitespace (\addspace) and localization (\bibstring{andothers}). Unless you apply similar formats to editor, bookauthor, translator, etc. your name lists will appear inconsistent.

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Thank you so much! –  Timothée Poisot Feb 10 '12 at 17:30
@TimothéePoisot No problem. lockstep provides a nice introduction to customizing biblatex styles in this post. Making minor changes to bibliography macros and drivers is easy with egreg's xpatch package. –  Audrey Feb 10 '12 at 17:54
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