When using biblatex, how can you obtain abbreviated first names for authors in the bibliography (i.e. like the abbrv bibtex)?

I've been trying to look everywhere in the manual, but so far no luck.

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    – Seamus
    Jun 30, 2011 at 11:13
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    Didn't you remember my answer to one of your former questions? ;-)
    – lockstep
    Jun 30, 2011 at 14:40
  • Gah! It was your answer that finally made me consider switching to biblatex.. but I didn't used it then.. only until now I remember. :P Jul 1, 2011 at 15:51
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    @WaldirLeoncio This does not appear to be a duplicate of the question you suggest. This question here is concerned with obtaining initials instead of full first names in the bibliography. Your suggested duplicate is about the name disambiguation feature that may at times print more than just the last name in citations.
    – moewe
    Mar 24, 2017 at 13:33

2 Answers 2


Loading biblatex with the package option giveninits=true will just print the initial of the author's first name.

Note that this will not work in somewhat old versions, and you must use (the now-deprecated) firstinits=true option instead, which accomplishes the same thing.

  • Aha, now I can see the option. Strange that is buried in the list of “internal options” and without any mention to abbrv. Anyway, thanks a lot! Jun 30, 2011 at 11:20
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    @Juan the thing is, there are so many options, that it can be difficult to know where to look for the relevant ones!
    – Seamus
    Jun 30, 2011 at 11:22
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    In recent versions this option has been renamed to giveninits. The deprecated name continues to work, but it produces a warning. It is strongly advised to switch to the new name.
    – moewe
    Mar 24, 2017 at 13:39
  • In the manual an "abbreviate=true" is also mention, but in my case non of the three results in abbreviated author names. Sep 2, 2017 at 20:56

While this is way to late, it might still help someone:

If you are actually looking for emulating the abbrv style, then there is this simple solution of adding style=trad-abbrv to the package options (before any other).

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