What I want: use IEEE format, but put et. al. after max 1 or 2 names according to my need. Don't want to edit the actual .bib file. Don't want to use \nocite{*}. Giving conflict error whenever I want to use maxnames=1 or 2 with ieee style. However omitting ieee style if I use maxnames=1, it produces accurate result but changes the style.

  1. How to overcome this?

  2. What is natbib=true used for?

  3. What is the best for bibliography in Engineering domain?

  • As you know on this site we prefer to ask one question per question to keep things simple and helpful for others. Since your questions were easy to answer I tackled all of them, but for future reference you might want to think about splitting multiple questions. (Q3 is (borderline) off-topic/too broad/primarily opinion-based anyway.) – moewe Sep 4 '16 at 5:19
  • @moewe thanks for the suggestion, my primary ask is Q1. While searching on the topic, I came to know thenatbib, part Q2. I asked Q3, if anyone has personal opinion. – Mr.EU Sep 4 '16 at 5:24
  • BTW: If you plan to ask more complex questions in the future, you may want to read up on MWEs and how to construct them. Especially with non-tivial biblatex questions an MWE can really be useful to others because they can test their solutions. That way you can make sure that all the necessary information to answer the question is on the table. – moewe Sep 4 '16 at 5:40
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    On 'what style to use': the idea of biblatex-ieee is to follow the rules of the IEEE as far as possible. I'd normally say don't adjust this: the entire point of following a publisher style is that it's a norm in an area! – Joseph Wright Sep 4 '16 at 7:10
  • @JosephWright yes, but sometimes due to page limitation it requires. – Mr.EU Sep 4 '16 at 14:27

Ad 1) biblatex-ieee sets maxcitenames = 3, minnames = 3, in the .cbx and maxnames = 999, minnames = 3, in the .bbx. This results in maxcitenames=3, maxbibnames=999, mincitenames=3, minbibnames=3.

The min<names> counter must always be less or equal to the max<names> counter, so maxnames=1, conflicts with the min settings of 3. So you will have to change both maxcitenames and mincitenames.

You would use


to change the citations only.

In the discussion below it emerged that you want to change (primarily) the behaviour in the bibliography, so


should give you what you want. As that changes both maxcitenames (for citations) and maxbibnames (for the bibliography) and mincitenames (for citations) and minbibnames (for the bibliography) respectively.

Ad 2) natbib=true enables the natbib compatibility mode. You can then use \citep as alias for \parencite, \citet for \textcite. Additionally some of natbib's cite alias feature is implemented. Note that the starred versions of the cite commands differ between standard biblatex and natbib mode. (See also §3.8.9 natbib Compatibility Commands of the biblatex documentation and Is there a disadvantage to using natbib=true with biblatex?.) If you don't need \citet as alias for \textcite, you probably don't need natbib=true.

Ad 3) What is the "best" style is a purely subjective choice. If you happen to write for/under the supervision of anybody (that includes thesis instructors, publishers, journals, ...), the best style is what they tell you to use. If you don't have any instructions on style use what you like best or what seems to be the norm in your field.



\cite{sigfridsson} \textcite{sigfridsson}



then gives

[1] Sigfridsson and Ryde [1]

Aksın et al. [2], Baez and Lauda [3], and Worman [4]

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  • I don't have any .bbx or .cbx files (or have I?). Where to put them? Want to use this only for particular documents. Hence should not conflict with other writeups. 1. Should I put these two files in the current working directory? – Mr.EU Sep 4 '16 at 5:34
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    @Mr.EU You have them, they are the files that are loaded automatically if you say style=ieee. You don't need to change those files at all (and you should not), that part is just for explanation where the problem comes from. The solution is to use maxcitenames=2, mincitenames=1, instead of maxnames=1, in your document when you pass the options to biblatex. – moewe Sep 4 '16 at 5:36
  • I understand the solution your solution. Thanks for the effort. However when I added maxcitenames=2, mincitenames=1, to my .tex file as shown in MWE, it is not effecting on the generated pdf. Nevertheless, maxnames=2, minnames=1, working. What is the difference between maxnames and maxcitenames? – Mr.EU Sep 4 '16 at 6:01
  • @Mr.EU It does affect the PDF as you can see in my MWE if you delete the line. It does not, however, affect the bibliography, the changes only apply to citations (hence maxcitenames, mincitenames). If you want to affect the bibliography as well you need maxnames=2, minnames=1, which sets both min/maxcitenames for citations and min/maxbibnames for the bibliography. – moewe Sep 4 '16 at 6:04
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    @Mr.EU That is what I'm saying min/maxcitenames obviously only applies to the citations, hence the name. You can see that in the MWE above, where the citations are different without the lines I suggested. If you use min/maxnames, not only the min/maxcitenames counter is set, but also min/maxbibnames, which (as the name part bib suggests) changes the output in the bibliography/references section. Neither of the options actually manipulates your .bib file. – moewe Sep 4 '16 at 6:17

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