I need to cite the following way:

The first 3 Letters of the author + the year.


Kemper 2009 --> [Kem09]

But I don't have any clue how to do that!

1 Answer 1


This is the standard with biblatex’s style alphabetic, as long as you have one author. With multiple authors, this style takes the first letter of every author – up to three, as a default. If there are more than three authors, it takes the first three letters of the first name, then a + and the year, e.g.

Kemper 2009 > [Kem09]

Goossens, Mittelbach and Samarin 1994 > [GSM94]

Kemper et al. 2011 > [Kem+11]


As Audrey stated in the comments, you can change the name of the authors that are used for the alphabetic label with the option maxalphanames. With maxalphanames=1, the above examples would look like this:

Kemper 2009 > [Kem09]

Goossens, Mittelbach and Samarin 1994 > [Goo+94]

Kemper et al. 2011 > [Kem+11]

If you want to get rid of the +, you can redefine the \labelalphaothers command: \renewcommand*{\labelalphaothers}{}

  • i know, but every entry should have this format, not the aplha format
    – el.paso
    Sep 27, 2011 at 15:26
  • 3
    @el.paso You can use the options style=alphabetic,maxalphanames=1. If the first three letters of the first author's last name and last two digits of the year don't specify a unique entry, a suffix is added. For example: Kem09a, Kem09b.
    – Audrey
    Sep 27, 2011 at 17:02
  • @Audrey, thanks for this, I didn’t know that (since I am not using the alphabetic styles). I edited my answer correspondingly.
    – domwass
    Sep 28, 2011 at 6:23
  • @domwass No problem. I think that option is relatively new. I actually didn't know about \labelalphaothers myself, but now I do.
    – Audrey
    Sep 28, 2011 at 14:41
  • @Audrey, actually, I didn’t know about \labelalphaothers myself, until I looked it up for this answer (c; So I learned two things …
    – domwass
    Sep 28, 2011 at 15:07

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