The instruction \citeA of the apacite package is set to truncate citation call-outs -- using et al -- for entries that have 6 or more authors. However, I want to use et al for citation call-outs for all entries with 5 or more authors. How can I achieve that?

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    Questions seeking debugging help ("why isn't this code working?") must include the desired behavior, a specific problem or error and the shortest code necessary to reproduce it in the question itself. Questions without a clear problem statement are not useful to other readers. See minimal working example (MWE). Jul 4, 2017 at 4:29

1 Answer 1


I would like to suggest you proceed as follows:

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

  • Open the file apacite-mod.bst in a text editor. The program you use to edit your tex files will do fine.

  • Locate the function tentative.cite.num.names.field in the bst file. (In my copy of the file, the function starts on line 814.) In this function, locate the line that says

        { numnames #6 <

    Change it to

        { numnames #5 <
  • For good housekeeping, make two further changes. First, a few lines down from "{ numnames #5 <", change the string "% 3-5 names" to "% 3-4 names". Second, a few more lines down again, change "% 6 or more names" to "% 5 or more names".

  • Save the file apacite-mod.bst, either in the directory where your main tex file is located or in a directory that's searched by your TeX distribution. If you choose the latter method, be sure to update the filename database of your TeX distribution suitably.

  • In your main tex file, change the instruction \bibliographystyle{apacite} to \bibliographystyle{apacite-mod} and do a full recompile (LaTeX, BibTeX, and LaTeX twice more).

Happy BibTeXing!

A full MWE -- observe that APA6 style is to use "et al" from the second citation onwards for entries with 3 or more authors:

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@misc{4,author="A and B and C and D", title="X", year=3001}
@misc{5,author="A and B and C and D and E", title="Y", year=3002}

\citeA{4}, \citeA{4}

\citeA{5}, \citeA{5}

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