I am using natbib and agsm for harvard-style referencing. My related code is


Then I am using \citep{} for citations. My problem is that in text I am getting

(Author et al. 2012)

but and I want

(Author et al. 2012)

Does anyone know how to change this and get 'et al' in italics in the text?

I am using TexPad and BibDesk and I have not been able to find the .bst files in Terminal.

I know that it is often correct to have the 'et al.' unitalicised but my university regulations requires italics.

  • 3
    Welcome to TeX.SX! Please add the code of a complete document (starting with \documentclass and ending with \end{document}) to your post that illustrates the problem. Just use the edit button.
    – gernot
    Feb 14, 2017 at 17:37
  • 1
    Copy the agsm file to something else and edit the copy.
    – JPi
    Feb 14, 2017 at 18:00
  • Hi, I used named instead of agsm and this provided a simple answer for me. Thank you for your help!
    – TCS
    Feb 14, 2017 at 22:17
  • To locate the fileagsm.bst, type kpsewhich agsm.bst at a command prompt in a terminal window.
    – Mico
    Feb 14, 2017 at 22:50

1 Answer 1


I suggest you proceed as follows:

  • Find the file agsm.bst in your TeX distribution. Make a copy of the file and call the copy, say, agsmemph.bst. (Don't edit an original file of your TeX distribution directly.)

  • Open the file agsmemph.bst in your favorite text editor -- the one you use to edit your tex files will do fine.

  • Do a global search and replacement of et~al. with \emph{et~al.}. There should be five such instances.

  • Save the file agsmemph.bst either in the directory where your main tex file is located or in a directory that's searched by BibTeX. If you choose the latter option, be sure to also update the filename database of your TeX distribution appropriately.

  • In your main tex file, change the argument of \bibliographystyle from agsm to agsmemph and perform a full recompile cycle -- LaTeX, BibTeX, LaTeX, LaTeX -- to fully propagate all changes.

Happy BibTeXing!

enter image description here

  author = "Anne Author and Bertha Buthor and Carla Cuthor and Doris Duthor",
  title  = "Thoughts",
  year   = 3001,

\bibliographystyle{agsmemph} %  <-- 'agsmemph' is being used


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