I am trying to give a bibtex record for an author whose name contains

  • a diacritic and
  • a hyphen.

You may take this name as an example:

Klopotsko Müller-Wachtendonk

According to this answer I should give the ü as {\"u}. Furthermore, since the name has a hyphen, I need to put the last name in brackets to prevent \bibliographystyle{alpha} from incorrectly labeling a book authored by that person as [MW14] instead of [Mül14] (at least, that is the only way I know of to prevent the incorrect label).

However, if I give the author as

author = {Klopotsko {M{\"u}ller-Wachtendonk}}

I get a compilation error:

! Argument of \T1\" has an extra }.
<inserted text> 
l.1 \begin{thebibliography}{{M{\"}}14}

So, how do I have to give an author name with a diacritic and a hyphen such that

  • BibTeX is able to sort correctly and
  • bib-style alpha builds the correct label?

Minimum (not) working example:









  author    = {Klopotsko M{\"u}ller-Wachtendonk},
  title     = {Das Bild h{\"a}ngt schief},
  year      = {2014}
  • 2
    A workaround seems to be bracing only the hyphen: M{\"u}ller{-}Wachtendonk
    – egreg
    Commented Sep 5, 2014 at 16:21
  • 2
    A very simple way is to use biblatex and type directly Klopotsko Müller-Wachtendonk in utf8 format and use biber which knows about utf8, rather than bibtex.
    – Bernard
    Commented Sep 5, 2014 at 17:07
  • @egreg: Great, didn't know about that. I tested and it works fine for me, thanks! If you make this an answer I'll accept it.
    – MRA
    Commented Sep 5, 2014 at 17:37
  • @Bernard: True, but in my application I have to go completely old-school, with bibtex and plain ASCII bibtex data.
    – MRA
    Commented Sep 5, 2014 at 17:38

1 Answer 1


In order for a compound name to be considered a single token as far as abbrv.bst is concerned, it's sufficient to hide the hyphen:

  author    = {Klopotsko M{\"u}ller{-}Wachtendonk},
  title     = {Das Bild h{\"a}ngt schief},
  year      = {2014}

Note that the entry is missing the school field (not required, but important for indentification).

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