Is there a "standard" BibTeX style which is like 'alpha' in all other respects but uses first author surname, (preferably) 2-digit year keys, so a citation for "Jones, Smith and Other" would show up like [Jones90], perhaps with a disambiguator like [Jones90a]?

Ideally I don't want to manually hack .bst files since learning the language looks like a 2 week project by itself. I tried using http://www.witpress.com/downloads/authors/latex/witpress.dbj which does offer Jones90-like as an option, calling it "alf-f", but it asks dozens of very pernickety questions, meaning I'm very likely to screw something up; I've yet to find a .bst generator that allows you to say "I want a style like [standard] except for [attribute].

1 Answer 1


I don't think there's a "standard" BibTeX bibliography style out there that already accomplishes what you're looking for. However, achieving your objective fortunately doesn't require you to learn BibTeX's programming language. I suggest you take a look at the makebst utility. Type

latex makebst

at a command prompt and follow the detailed prompts to build your very own custom .bst (bibliography style file) file. You'll get lots of questions; when in doubt, just select the default option that's presented (which one "selects" by simply hitting "Return").

One of the first substantive questions and associated options you'll encounter are the following:

(*) Numerical as in standard LaTeX
(a) Author-year with some non-standard interface
(b) Alpha style, Jon90 or JWB90 for single or multiple authors
(o) Alpha style, Jon90 even for multiple authors
(f) Alpha style, Jones90 (full name of first author)
(c) Cite key (special for listing contents of bib file)

Be sure to type f to choose the option Alpha style, Jones90 (full name of first author). Continue to make informed choices for all further questions, and you'll have a customized .bst file.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .