I have checked for duplicates to this question, but since the output from the solutions has changed for some, and my problem is not solved, I am asking again.

My problem is that as far as I have understood the APA style guide, the first citation should include up to 6 authors, but the second time this citation is called, it should only insert firstAuthor et al. instead of up to all six.

Why is the default behavior of biblatex-apa to not do this? Below is a workable example that shows that the output already starts with the et al.

\usepackage[style=apa, backend=biber]{biblatex}
  title = {Semantic {{Web}} for the {{Working Ontologist}}: {{Effective Modeling}} for {{Linked Data}}, {{RDFS}}, and {{OWL}}},
  shorttitle = {Semantic {{Web}} for the {{Working Ontologist}}},
  author = {Allemang, Dean and Hendler, Jim and Gandon, Fabien},
  date = {2020},
  edition = {3},
  volume = {33},
  publisher = {{Association for Computing Machinery}},
  location = {{New York, NY, USA}},






(Allemang et al., 2020)
(Allemang et al., 2020)
Allemang et al. (2020)

When adding a maxcitenames=6 option we get the following which now shows all three authors in the first citation but does not abbreviate it to et al. in the second.


(Allemang, Hendler, & Gandon, 2020)
(Allemang, Hendler, & Gandon, 2020)
Allemang, Hendler, and Gandon (2020)

I am especially confused because Basically the same question was asked back in 2015, and it apparently worked back then, according to the most upvoted answer. I know that they also included uniquelist=true, but that has not changed anything in my testing.

Please help me, as I am going insane...


1 Answer 1


The behaviour of having up to six names on first citations and up to three + "et al." on subsequent citations is APA style according to the 6th edition of the APA manual. The guidance in the current 7th edition, however, is different (cf. https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/citations/basic-principles/author-date). In 7th-edition APA style lists with three or more authors are always abbreviated to "<first author> + et al.". (There are exceptions in case the first authors are the same, but subsequent authors differ, but that is not relevant here.)

Current versions of biblatex-apa implement 7th-edition APA style and hence do not (generally) show more than two names on first citations. If you want 6th-edition APA style, use biblatex-apa6's style=apa6, instead of style=apa,.

  • You are my absolute savior!! I was actually thinking exactly this but googling for this didn't bring me to the right places.. I guess I am then just fine with using the default 7th-edition APA style. Incredible speed with the answer :)
    – chbroecker
    Commented May 1, 2023 at 15:13

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