I would like to know whether there is some pre-implemented way of using the Vancouver citation style (as defined in Wikipedia) with Latex, or if not how I should go about setting it up myself.

In order to make this question self-contained, I'll recall the Vancouver style here:

Essentially, one places the reference in either a footnote or an endnote. There are then two options for the references:

  1. Short reference in footnote, e.g. Kübler-Ross, On Death and Dying, Pages 45-60, and then Bibliography (at end of document) with full reference, e.g. Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth. On Death and Dying. New York: Macmillan, 1969.

  2. Long reference in footnote, e.g. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, On Death and Dying (New York: Macmillan, 1969), Pages 45-60, and no Bibliography.

I am therefore looking for a \citeShort and \citeLong that produce the desired output, as above in 1 and 2, respectively, e.g.

\citeShort[Pages 45-66]{Kubler}

to obtain:

Kübler-Ross, On Death and Dying, Pages 45-60

(Because, I may want to include some discussion in the footnote, as well as the reference, I think it is best not to include the footnote command in the new citation command, though it may also be efficient at times to have e.g. \citeShortFoot.)

Then for the Bibliography, I could use authordate1 or alpha, and remove the "numbering" as explained in this answer.

Is it possible to define these citation commands using bibtex or natbib? Or would I have to use biblatex? And how would I go about it?


  • 2
    I think the best way is to use biblatex, which is easy to customise. It has \footcite and \fullfootcite commands, with prenote and postnote optional arguments. You even can have full citation the first time a reference is cited, and short citations or partial citations (author, totle, &c.) for subsequent citations. See § 3.7 of the documentation.
    – Bernard
    Sep 28, 2014 at 17:38
  • By the way: Welcome to TeX SX!
    – Bernard
    Sep 28, 2014 at 17:39
  • 1
    there appears to be a vancouver.bst file among the various .bst files distributed with tex live. there is some documentation at the top of the file that might be helpful. Sep 28, 2014 at 18:48
  • 1
    Adding to @Bernard's comments, biblatex also has an abbreviated author-title style, which you could tweak as necessary. Unless the vancouver.bst file mentioned by barbara beeton meets all your needs, the power and flexibility of biblatex is hard to beat.
    – Nigel
    Sep 28, 2014 at 22:26
  • Thanks @everyone. I posted an answer, seeing as I solved my issue with your suggestions, and though I would share - though I'm guessing that there might be better ways to go about it. Oct 10, 2014 at 11:06

1 Answer 1


Thanks to all the comments above, I ended up going for biblatex. (vancouver.bst doesn't do what I was hoping for.)

I thought I would post my solution as an answer, in case anybody stumbles upon this question and like me doesn't know what to do. However, it is my first time using biblatex, so my soltion is most likely not optimal, and might involve some re-inventing the wheel (as some of the commands might already exist, seeing as it's all new to me).


%new cite command: "Vancouver Short"
  {\usebibmacro{author}, \usebibmacro{title}}

% new cite command: "Vancouver Short Collection" - necessary when referencing whole collections. 
  {\usebibmacro{editor}, \usebibmacro{title}}

Any improvements/suggestions/edits (to this answer) are welcome.

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