So I am preparing my thesis for my Master's project and our university has a little bit different referencing style than the standards. The closest standard bibtex style is 'abbrvnat' style.

Abbrvnat style is [First author name Initial.Last Name,Second author first name.Last Name,.....]

My required style is [First author Last Name,First Name Initials., Second author Last Name,First Name Initials....]

So how do I achieve this style by modifying the abbrvnat.bst?

The rest of the style is the same. I just have to change the author naming style with last name first.

example bibtex style

  • 1
    Welcome to TeX SX! Could you consider using biblatex? It's easier to customise, as it uses a LaTeX syntax. – Bernard Apr 24 at 13:57
  • I have never heard of biblatex. I'll search it up and see if it serves my purpose. Thanks – Angshu Nath Apr 24 at 14:01
  • Besides being easily customisable, it works by default with biber, which understands utf8, contrary to bibtex. – Bernard Apr 24 at 14:09
  • You write that one of the requirements is that , (comma) rather than and must be used as the separator between authors. Yet the screenshot you posted shows the exact opposite: the word and rather than , is used as the separator. Please clarify. – Mico Apr 24 at 14:17
  • If there are two authors then they should be separated by 'and'. For more than two authors the authors should be separated by 'commas' and the last author by 'and'. – Angshu Nath Apr 24 at 14:21

I suggest you proceed as follows.

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

  • Open the file abbrvnat-mod.bst in an editor. The editor program you use for your tex files will do fine.

  • In the file abbrvnat-mod.bst, locate the function format.names. (In my copy of this file, the function starts on line 216.)

  • In this function, locate the following line:

        { s nameptr "{f.~}{vv~}{ll}{, jj}" format.name$ 't :=

    Change it to

        { s nameptr "{vv~}{ll}{, jj}{, f.}" format.name$ 't :=
  • Save the file abbrvnat-mod.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 update the filename database of your TeX distribution as well.

  • In your main file, change the instruction \bibliographystyle{abbrvnat} to \bibliographystyle{abbrvnat-mod}. Then, perform a full recompile cycle (LaTeX-BibTeX-LaTeX-LaTeX).

Happy BibTeXing!

A full MWE (minimum working example):

enter image description here

  author = "Anna Adele Author and Brenda Betsy Buthor",
  title  = "Initial thoughts",
  year   = 3001,
  author = "Anna Adele Author and Brenda Betsy Buthor and Carla Christina Cuthor",
  title  = "Additional thoughts",
  year   = 3002,


  • 1
    Thanks a lot. I'll give this a try and check if it works out. – Angshu Nath Apr 25 at 7:42
  • 1
    Thank you so much. It worked perfectly. Saved me from manually typing each. – Angshu Nath Apr 25 at 8:02

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