In some academic circles, such as theoretical physics, during a presentation it is customary for the talking author to cite himself using only his initials, while leaving the remaining author names unchanged as per the citation style.

For instance, if my initials are DCG and I cite a paper that has me as an author, it should show up as:

[Lima, DCG, Horvath, 2010]

Is there any way to make this automatic in LaTeX? I use powerdot for presentations and natbib for references, and I have found nothing of the sort in their documentations. Maybe there is a way to replace the strings generated by BibTeX in the second LaTeX run, but I have no idea how to do it.

  • 1
    The easiest method is to modify the .bbl file when the presentation is complete and the .bbl file is in its definitive form. Otherwise it would be necessary to act on the .bib file.
    – egreg
    Feb 11, 2012 at 15:06
  • Yes, that would work, but I would like a more automatic method, such as a command to be introduced somewhere in the source code, so I don't have to worry about it later. Feb 11, 2012 at 15:38
  • 3
    This should easily be done with biblatex, which is easier to customize due to its use of LaTeX macros rather than the awkward bibtex language. Feb 11, 2012 at 16:17
  • Some Biblatex solutions: tex.stackexchange.com/q/22135/10119, and I am sure it can be done with biber too… I just can't find the question where this was implemented.
    – ienissei
    Apr 15, 2012 at 7:03

1 Answer 1


In relation to the comments I want to provide an approach using biblatex.

First of all I changed the definition of the output of authors and replace the name stored in \highlightname with the initials saved in the macro \shortform.

The main idea is inspired by P. Lehmann.

  author          = {Goossens, Michel and Mittelbach, Frank
                     and Samarin, Alexander},
  title           = {The LaTeX Companion},
  publisher       = {Addison-Wesley},
  location        = {Reading, Mass.},
  year            = {1994},


  author          = {Mittelbach, Frank and Goossens, Michel
                     and Samarin, Alexander},
  title           = {The LaTeX Companion},
  publisher       = {Addison-Wesley},
  location        = {Reading, Mass.},
  year            = {1994},


  author          = {Mittelbach, Frank and Samarin, Alexander
                     and Goossens, Michel},
  title           = {The LaTeX Companion},
  publisher       = {Addison-Wesley},
  location        = {Reading, Mass.},
  year            = {1994},

  % Ende der Gruppe





enter image description here

EDIT 1: Fixed spacing problem

  • Nice solution. But it looks like there is a trailing white-space before MG on the first line.
    – ienissei
    Apr 15, 2012 at 6:56
  • Great solution indeed. But how does it account for middle names? Sep 26, 2012 at 17:40
  • @SirWhiteout: What do you mean? Sep 27, 2012 at 16:03
  • The above solution does not work if the name to be shortened includes a middle initial. Is there a specific field to put it, or does the code have to be changed further to be able to deal with it? Oct 1, 2012 at 14:03
  • @SirWhiteout: Do you mean an author like John F. Kennedy? Oct 2, 2012 at 5:56

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .