I use the very popular Easy Thesis template with very common standard packages and only slight adaptions, like natbib (see below). Everything works smoothly, aside one small issue, the Bibliography writes the Name, Surname format.

It seems to be a popular problem, and Mico offered a solution to same kind, but I cannot reproduce it. Where should I change the format, or even is there a better way. I'm fearing any massive changes, because I cannot overview them. However, I will try any proposal, since I'm stuck. Thank You!

\usepackage[UKenglish, USenglish]{babel}
\usepackage[authoryear, numbers, comma, sort&compress]{natbib}
  • 1
    The formatting of the bibliographic entries is controlled by the bibliography style in use, i.e., the argument of the \bibliographystyle command. Which bibliography style do you employ?
    – Mico
    Mar 28, 2014 at 5:18
  • 1
    @Mico Thank you. \bibliographystyle{plainnat} I think?!
    – alex
    Mar 28, 2014 at 5:24
  • 1
    May I suggest you take a look at this answer? It deals specifically with the plainnat case. As it appears that you do not want to abbreviate the first names down to their initials, be sure to use { s nameptr "{vv~}{ll}{, ff}{, jj}" format.name$ 't := rather than { s nameptr "{vv~}{ll}{, f.}{, jj}" format.name$ 't := as the replacement string. After creating the new bibliography style file, be sure to refer to it in the \bibliographystyle command and to run LaTeX, BibTeX, and LaTeX twice more to propagate all changes.
    – Mico
    Mar 28, 2014 at 5:31
  • Thank you much, you put much work in your answers. Compliment! I cannot find the required file at all. The university regulations don't say much about how to format them, but they suggest to use ISO 690-2 format en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_690 . Is there a possibility to overwrite the actual setting with some correspondent BibTex ISO?
    – alex
    Mar 28, 2014 at 5:39
  • 1
    You can change the title of your posting any which way you want. :-) Note that ISO 690 (a) leaves it up to the author to decide whether first names should be abbreviated or not and (b) deals with many more issues than just the formatting of authors' names. To find the file, can you open a command window and type "kpsewhich plainnat.bst"? If you can't find the file on your computer's hard drive, you can also get it from the CTAN.
    – Mico
    Mar 28, 2014 at 6:03

1 Answer 1


When using BibTeX, the formatting of the bibliographic entries -- including the ordering of first and last names -- is determined by the settings contained in the bibliography style file that's in use. It would appear that you're using the plainnat style file. Fortunately, it's not difficult to modify the settings in plainnat.bst that govern the ordering of first and last names.

  • Find the file plainnat.bst in your TeX distribution. (One way to find this file is to issue the command kpsewhich plainnat.bst at a command prompt; this should provide you with the needed information. If you can't find the file on your computer's hard drive, you can always obtain it from the CTAN.) Copy this file to, say myplainnat.bst; don't edit directly a file provided as part of your TeX distribution.

  • Open the file myplainnat.bst in your favorite text editor and search for function named format.names. (It starts on line 216 in my copy of plainnat.bst.)

  • In this function, look for the line

    { s nameptr "{ff~}{vv~}{ll}{, jj}" format.name$ 't :=

    Change this line to

    { s nameptr "{vv~}{ll}{, ff}{, jj}" format.name$ 't :=
  • Save the file myplainnat.bst either to the directory that contains your main .tex file or to a directory that's searched by your BibTeX distribution. (If you choose the second option, depending on your TeX distribution, you may also have to refresh the filename database of the TeX distribution.)

  • Start using the modified bibliography style file by issuing the command \bibliographystyle{myplainnat}, and be sure to run LaTeX, BibTeX, and LaTeX twice more on the main .tex file to propagate all changes.


You must log in to answer this question.

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