Is it possible to set the number of names to appear in a bibliography entry differently from the maximum number of names that appear in the citation key (using alphabetic style)?

For example,

[ABCD06] Alice, Bob, Carol, and David. "Title", 2006.
[ABC+06] Alice, Bob, Carol, David, and Eve. "Title Revisted," 2007

This is how alpha behaves in BibTeX. With four authors, all are listed in both the entry and the citekey. With five or more, all authors are still listed in the entry but only the first three (with a +) are listed in the citekey.

I played a little (without luck) with maxnames, maxcitenames, and mincitenames but figured it will be quicker to just ask.

  • 1
    maxcitenames and maxbibnames isn't it? At least in the latest biblatex...
    – Seamus
    Commented Jul 12, 2011 at 20:24
  • 2
    or add a different maxnames option to the \printbibliography command itself?
    – Seamus
    Commented Jul 12, 2011 at 20:24

1 Answer 1




  author = {Alice and Bob and Carol and David},
  year = {2006},
  title = {Title},
  author = {Alice and Bob and Carol and David and Eve},
  year = {2007},
  title = {Title revisited},



Some text \autocite{test1,test2}.



EDIT: My answer relies on a message from Philipp Lehman, the author of biblatex, at de.comp.text.tex on December 29th, 2010. The significant quote (translated by me):

Relevant for the "alpha" labels is the value of maxnames/minnames set at \begin{document}. The labels are fixed from this point forward. You may freely choose how many names to display afterwards.

EDIT2: When using the package option maxbibnames=99, maxnames/minnames must be set in addition; setting maxcitenames/mincitenames won't produce the desired "alpha" label format.

  • 2
    A later answer to a similar question suggests using maxalphanames/minalphanames, upon which this works as expected for me. → tex.stackexchange.com/a/29648/16666
    – amon
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 17:08

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