I'm using the natbib package and the apalike bibliography style. If I write:


I get the following citation call-out:

Reimann (2017)

And in the formatted bibliography it shows:

Reimann, G. (2017). Blablablabla.

i.e., it shows the abbreviated first name of the author (here: "G.") after the author's surname.

Now my professor asks that the abbreviated first name show up in the citation call-out as well, as follows:

Reimann G. (2017)

Any suggestions for how to accomplish this?


1 Answer 1


I suggest you proceed as follows:

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

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

  • In the file apalike-mod.bst, find the function format.lab.names. (In my copy of the file, this function starts on line 841.)

  • Inside this function, change both instances of "{vv~}{ll}" to "{vv~}{ll}{~f.}".

    I trust that you can guess -- correctly! -- that f. represents the truncated first name followed by ..

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

  • In your main tex file, change the instruction \bibliographystyle{apalike} to \bibliographystyle{apalike-mod} and perform a full recompile cycle -- LaTeX, BibTeX, and LaTeX twice more -- to propagate all changes.

Speaking for myself, I can't help but remark that adding abbreviated first names to the citation call-outs serves no useful purpose unless you are citing works of G. Reimann, B. Reimann, T. Reimann, and maybe a few other Reimanns more all in one and the same document.

A full MWE (minimum working example) and its output (highlighting added manually):

enter image description here

@misc{r:2017,author="Gustav Reimann", title="Blablablabla", year=2017}
@misc{a,author="Anne Author", title="x", year=3001}
@misc{ab,author="Anne Author and Brenda Buthor", title="xy", year=3002}
@misc{abc,author="Anne Author and Brenda Buthor and Carla Cuthor", title="xyz", year=3003}


\cite{a}, \citep{ab}, \citet{abc}

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