The amsrefs package has the shortalphabetic style which is similar to alphabetic but less verbose (for example, the year is excluded). Is there any way to do that with biblatex?

Currently, I have

\usepackage[style=alphabetic, backref=true, backend=biber, hyperref=true, giveninits=true]{biblatex}

And for .bib file, I have

  archivePrefix = {arXiv},
  eprinttype = {arxiv},
  eprint = {0904.1247},
  primaryClass = {math},
  date = {2009-04-07},
  keywords = {Geometric Satake,Representation theory,Geometric reps,Trace},
  author = {Ben-Zvi, David and Nadler, David}

  langid = {american},
  title = {Integral Transforms and {{Drinfeld}} Centers in Derived Algebraic Geometry},
  volume = {23},
  issn = {0894-0347, 1088-6834},
  doi = {10.1090/S0894-0347-10-00669-7},
  number = {4},
  journaltitle = {Journal of the American Mathematical Society},
  shortjournal = {J. Amer. Math. Soc.},
  date = {2010},
  pages = {909-966},
  keywords = {DAG,Trace},
  author = {Ben-Zvi, David and Francis, John and Nadler, David}

The bibliography would appear like so

enter image description here

But if use amsrefs with shortalphabetic option


Bibliography would become

enter image description here

The main thing I like about the 2nd style (amsrefs) is that the keys (eg. [BZFN], [BZN]) don't include the years. It would be great to make biblatex produce [BFN] and [BN] instead of [BFN10] and [BN09].


  • It would really help if you could show us what you have so far and could point out concrete changes to the output you get. I'm not familiar with shortalphabetic and I doubt there will be an exact match in the arsenal of readily available biblatex styles, but biblatex is quite customisable and some things are done easily and more complicated things can be achieved with a bit more work.
    – moewe
    Mar 6, 2019 at 10:05
  • @moewe Thanks! I added more concrete examples.
    – QcH
    Mar 6, 2019 at 10:32
  • For arXiv articles that have not been published in a journal (yet) I usually recommend the type @online instead of @article since @articles usually expect a journal and a volume field, which those entries normally lack.
    – moewe
    Mar 6, 2019 at 10:42

1 Answer 1


If this is only about the alphabetic label, you will want to have a look at \DeclareLabelalphaTemplate. The following takes the default definition from biblatex's alphabetic style and removes the two digits from the year.

See also §4.5.5 Labels of the biblatex documentation, pp. 198-206.


\usepackage[style=alphabetic, backref=true, backend=biber, giveninits=true]{biblatex}




[GMS] M. Goossens, F. Mittelbach and A. Samarin. The LaTeX Companion. 1st ed. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, 1994. 528 pp. (cit. on p. 1).//[SR] E. Sigfridsson and U. Ryde. ‘Comparison of methods for deriving atomic charges from the electrostatic potential and moments’. In: Journal of Computational Chemistry 19.4 (1998), pp. 377–395. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-987X(199803)19:4<377::AID-JCC1>3.0.CO;2-P (cit. on p. 1).

  • Thanks a lot for the quick reply! Does this also do dedup automatically? Support before, I had [ABC18], [ABC19], would it become [ABCa] [ABCb] automatically?
    – QcH
    Mar 6, 2019 at 10:45
  • 1
    @QcH It should. Why don't you try it out? In case you don't have example entries at hand, cite knuth:ct:a and knuth:ct:b from biblatex-examples.bib.
    – moewe
    Mar 6, 2019 at 10:46
  • Awesome! It works. Thanks a lot!
    – QcH
    Mar 6, 2019 at 10:49
  • Hello, thank you @moewe for providing this solution. Any chance you can tell me how to obtain the same result, except I'd like to see [ABC1] [ABC2] instead of [ABCa] [ABCb]?
    – Seub
    Sep 22, 2021 at 22:47
  • 1
    @Seub Try \DeclareFieldFormat{extraalpha}{#1}. If that does not work, I suggest you ask a new question.
    – moewe
    Sep 23, 2021 at 5:28

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