I'm an Ubuntu beginner. I'm using LyX to write a paper. For my bibliography I imported a .bib file created with Jabref. I'm facing 2 problems regarding the rendering of the bibliography.

  1. While I'm using Jabref I have problems with the "author field". I want to visualize the author in the format "last name, first letter of the first name" but I'm not able to do it. For instance, if I insert "Harrison, J." in the final references it appears "J. Harrison, title of the book" (the letter of the name is before the last name and it should be the opposite). I thought that I could reverse the two and I typed "J., Harrison" in the field box but, while this solves the problem in the References section, it creates a new problem for the citation because instead of appearing the last name of the author it appears just the first letter of the name (instead of "Harrison 2001" it appears "J. 2001").

  2. I'm not able to set the order in which the fields has to appear in the References section. I need a format like this: "Last name, first letter of the first name, year, title, editor" but instead i have "last name, first letter of the first name, title, editor, year". Is there a way to change the position of the different fields?

I've tried to look in LyX user's guide, in Jabref help section and in a bunch of forums but I haven't been able to find a solution.

  • 3
    This actually has nothing to do with Jabref, but rather with your bibliography style. Jabref is just a GUI that provides easy input for references. – Werner Jul 12 '13 at 18:07

This is a minimal example showing two references of the IEEEexample bibliographic database that you probably have also.


(Sorry because the Lyx is in Spanish, but I hope that you can identify without problems the corresponding windows in English):

Note that the windows showing the bibliographic database show by default the style plain, that produce this result:


But if you open the style drop down menu you to select other style as vancouver then the result is:


About the second question, the problem is the same: select a style that show the year after the authors, as chicago:


If any of the available styles is not enough good for you, you can create your own style, but this is not a trivial task. Basically you have two options here: One option could be the custom-bib package. The other is biblatex that without doubt is the recommended by most experts, but is not managed by Lyx directly. There are many questions on this site about this, like What to do to switch to biblatex?, or Guidelines for customizing biblatex styles, or bibtex vs. biber and biblatex vs. natbib, so in the tag biblatex you have enough help to start.

  • I fear that providing hints about using biblatex to a beginner Lyx user which seems to not know that the formating depend on the .bst choice could be a source of much more problems. Il would say, slightly different from you, "biblatex that without doubt is the recommended to the most experts" ;) – Jhor Jul 13 '13 at 0:54
  • 1
    @Jhor, I understand what you mean. I was also a beginner LyX user. But the another option is not easier, nor flexible. At the end, the LyX user discover that he can not do everything and that's why there ERT boxes, and this way the fear to LateX commands disappear. Then, just reading the most popular questions on this site about biblatex he may find that start using biblatex is not as complicated as it seems. – Fran Jul 13 '13 at 8:16

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