I want to cite RFCs in the format [RFCxxxx] instead of using the author's initials and the year it was published. Currently I am using the alphabetic style that comes with biblatex. So far, I tried using the \DeclareCiteCommand command to use the key field in the .bib file, but that does not seem to work. I would really appreciate any ideas as how to solve this problem.


3 Answers 3


The IETF provides official BibTeX entries at


For example, the entry for RFC 9405 under https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/rfc9405/bibtex/ yields

    series =    {Request for Comments},
    number =    9405,
    howpublished =  {RFC 9405},
    publisher = {RFC Editor},
    doi =       {10.17487/RFC9405},
    url =       {https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc9405},
        author =    {},
    title =     {{AI Sarcasm Detection: Insult Your AI without Offending It}},
    pagetotal = 5,
    year =      2023,
    month =     apr,
    day =       1,
    abstract =  {This RFC proposes a framework for detecting sarcasm in AI systems and provides guidelines for using sarcasm without causing offense. By training AI systems to identify linguistic patterns that indicate sarcasm, we can improve their understanding of human communication. The guidelines offer a lighthearted approach to using sarcasm in a way that is both effective and respectful, without crossing the line into offensive language.}, }

In comparison, the "Internet Draft" (I-D) draft-carpenter-rfc-citation-recs-01 § 5.2 recommends to use @techreport

   AUTHOR = "Yakov Rekhter and Tony Li",
   TITLE = "{A Border Gateway Protocol 4 (BGP-4)}",
   HOWPUBLISHED = {Internet Requests for Comments},
   PAGES = {1-56},
   YEAR = {1995},
   MONTH = {July},
   ISSN = {2070-1721},
   PUBLISHER = "{RFC Editor}",
   INSTITUTION = "{RFC Editor}",

Note that, while I-Ds are published by the IETF, they are not official (everyone can create an I-D).

You can probably add shorthand = {RFC1654} as explain by lockstep

Another solution could be to use the natbib package


\citetalias{jon90}  Paper I
\citepalias{jon90}  (Paper I)

I tested this last solution with the following code:




But I got the result:


and it doesn't changed it in the list.

  • 1
    You can auto-generate the @techreport entry using this tool.
    – ph_0
    Commented Sep 10, 2020 at 13:48

You can use the shorthand field to override the label which is automatically generated by the alphabetic style:




  author = {Author, A.},
  year = {2001},
  title = {Alpha},
  shorthand = {RFC0001},
  author = {Crocker, S.},
  year = {1969},
  month = {4},
  title = {Host Software},
  note = {RFC 1},



Some text \autocite{A01,Cro69}.



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This website generates the BibTex entries for you: http://notesofaprogrammer.blogspot.com/2014/11/bibtex-entries-for-ietf-rfcs-and.html

The format is as suggested by this answer https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/161413/52398


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