I'm very new to TEX, i've been using LyX as a stepping stone. It's been going pretty well up until now.

I've successfully managed to create citations and link them to the References I have created in the bibliography.

However, I need to use the Harvard referencing system (author-date). I've switched to natbib style in document > settings > Bibliography and set it to author-year, however I'm unsure what format I should be entering for references so that it picks up the author & date.

Any help would be much appreciated.

  • Are you using a BibTeX bibliography (Insert --> List/TOC --> BibTeX bib) or are you writing it manually? Nov 14, 2013 at 16:52

3 Answers 3


If you're writing the bibliography yourself, then you need to add a label for each item. Right click the grey box in the reference list where the citation key is written - highlighted by the red ellipse in the screenshot below - and choose Settings (the only option).

enter image description here

In the Label field write authorname(year) without a space before the parenthesis, e.g. Author(2012). Quoting the natbib manual:

oneself, such that it conforms to natbib.

This syntax looks as follows:

\bibitem[Jones et al.(1990)]{jon90}...

or alternatively

\bibitem[Jones et al.(1990)Jones, Baker, and Williams]{jon90}...

The text in square brackets contains the pieces of citation texts, the short author list, Jones et al., the year 1990, and the optional long author list Jones, Baker and Williams. If the long list is missing, the short list will be used instead. The parentheses around the year are not part of the text, but merely delimit the year from the author lists. Round parentheses must always be used, even if square brackets are wanted for the citations. And there must be no space before or after the year parentheses, else it will become part of the author list.


Assume you have a well-formed bib file. It sounds as if you have already inserted a BibTex Generated Bibliography into your document (this is Torbjorn's question).

Right click on the that field in your document and select settings. From the Style dropdown box, select unstr (there may be others, but at least this one should get you started). OK and close.

Now Insert Citation. Add one of the selectable citations on the left to the empty right box. Now you can chose in the Formatting dropdown box your preferred presentation, and if you want add some text before or after the in your reference.

  • Wouldn't e.g. plainnat make more sense than unsrt for Harvard style? Nov 14, 2013 at 17:50
  • @Torbjørn T., you probably know better than I do. Just suggested unstr because it allows to demonstrate the formatting the OP was looking for. So @Daniel, better go with plainnat
    – vaettchen
    Nov 14, 2013 at 18:22
  • The point of uns o rt ed is to sort the references by the order of citation, but when using an author-year style it is more common to have them sorted alphabetically. Nov 14, 2013 at 18:33

To use Harvard style in Lyx, you will have to use label such as Author(2016) with no space before parenthesis.

And my setting looks like: Bibliography setting example

The Harvard style is generated as expected: enter image description here

  • This is already covered in the other answer...
    – Werner
    Jun 15, 2016 at 2:24

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