I would like to cite using


and sort the cites in the same order they were called in the document.

I'm using


but it isn't sorting anything. To see where was the problem I tried changing the name of an author and it seemed that it was sorting the cites alphabetically according to the authors.

  • 1
    the sort&compress option in natbib has to do with the way citations look in the text but not haw citations are sorted in the reference section.
    – Denis
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 17:24
  • the style unsrtnat.bst seems to do what you want but it does not follow the apa rules.
    – Denis
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 17:27
  • Thanks, I will consider it. Is there any way to solve it with apa rules?
    – SerMarFe
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 17:29
  • I do not know. I never use the apa-like styles? Surely biblatex texperts will know more.
    – Denis
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 17:33
  • According to the meta data in apa.bst the style is from 1992 and therefore predates the 6th and 7th edition of the APA publication manual by at least one decade. So by today's standards \bibliographystyle{apa} is not guaranteed to provide APA style. If you want real APA style, use either apacite (BibTeX-based solution for 6th edition APA) or biblatex-apa (7th ed. APA style) or biblatex-apa6 (6th edition APA style).
    – moewe
    Commented Jul 12, 2020 at 20:39

1 Answer 1


As you've discovered, the apa bibliography style is designed to sort entries alphabetically by authors' surnames. To achieve your formatting objective, I suggest you proceed as follows:

  • Find the file apa.bst in your TeX distribution. Make a copy of this file and call the copy, say, apa-nosort.bst. (Do not edit an original file of the TeX distribution directly.)

  • Open apa-nosort.bst in a text editor. The program you use to edit your tex files will do fine.

  • Find the two instances of OPEN in the file. (In my copy of the file, they occur on lines 1050 and 1109.)

  • Comment out or delete these lines.

  • Save the file apa-nosort.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 also update the filename database of your TeX distribution suitably.

  • In your main tex file, change the instruction \bibliographystyle{apa} to \bibliographystyle{apa-nosort} and perform a full recompile cycle: LaTeX, BibTeX, and LaTeX twice more.

Happy BibTeXing!

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