Here's the deal: I have a biblatex bibliography with a prenote. The prenote contains a citation with a lot of authors. I want it to behave as if it were obeying maxnames=3. But I want my bibliography to behave as if maxnames=99. Is there a way to set the value of maxnames locally for that one citation?

More generally, is there a procedure for locally setting biblatex options?

1 Answer 1


This is the first time I encountered a citation command within the bibliography. Note: \defcounter (an etoolbox macro) instead of \setcounter allows for local redefinition of counters. (EDIT: I used the same hack in my answer to Adding an [AuthorYear] block at the beginning of bibliography entries .)



  \setcounter{mymaxcitenames}{\value{maxnames}}% i.e., 3 (!)

\defbibnote{recommended}{If you don't have time to read anything else, read


  author = {Author, A. and Buthor, B., and Cuthor, C. and Duthor, D.},
  year = {2001},
  title = {Alpha},



If you don't have time to read anything else, read \textcite{A01}.


  • @lockstep the reason for the citation in the prenote is to reference where the figures in the paper are originally found. I'd have thought that wasn't that uncommon...
    – Seamus
    Mar 7, 2011 at 14:31
  • @Seamus: If my answer wasn't useful for you, I'd like to hear how to sharpen it up.
    – lockstep
    Mar 8, 2011 at 17:56
  • @lockstep I actually think maxcitenames will solve my problem on its own, won't it? I don't think my version of biblatex has it though, so I will have to update... I'll check back later.
    – Seamus
    Mar 8, 2011 at 19:04
  • @Seamus: For versions <1.1, delete the maxnames and maxcitenames preamble options, add [maxnames=99] to \printbibliography and try again.
    – lockstep
    Mar 8, 2011 at 19:12
  • @lockstep I've updated to 1.2a. Citations in the prenote inherit their cite style from the printbibliography command, so annoyingly, a \cite inside the prenote prints all the authors. I'll try your solution in a while...
    – Seamus
    Mar 9, 2011 at 11:19

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