I'm trying to recreate a very specific style based off of Benjamins style, with a few changes. Benjamins is close to APA, but has some small differences, and the supervisor for this project has other idiosyncrasies she has picked up over her years of editing. I am hoping to use the APA style and make these modifications 'on the fly' as it were.

By default, it looks like the biblatex package constructs the bibliography reference with the author of the citation as 'family-given' and all following authors as 'given-family.' Unfortunately, when I use the APA style, all authors change to 'family-given.' I can't figure out how to stop this from happening. Can anyone help me with this?

Simplified code:



  page             = {},
  pages            = {},

% argument meanings from apa.bbx
% #1 = family name
% #2 = given name
% #3 = given name (initials)
% #4 = name prefix
% #5 = name suffix

       test {\ifdefvoid{#2}}
       test {\ifdefvoid{#4}}}


    pdftitle={Test DocumOverleaf Examplent},







\nocite{*}   %Uncomment if you have a bibliography with work read but not cited


With APA style included:

Epps, Patience L., Webster, Anthony K., & Woodbury, Anthony C. (2017). A holistic
humanities of speaking: Franz Boas and the continuing centrality of texts.
International Journal of American Linguistics, 83 (1), 41–78. https://doi.org/

Without APA style included:

[50] Patience L. Epps, Anthony K. Webster, and Anthony C. Woodbury.
“A Holistic Humanities of Speaking: Franz Boas and the Continuing
Centrality of Texts”. In: International Journal of American Linguistics
83.1 (2017), 41–78. doi: 10.1086/689547. eprint: https://doi.org/
10.1086/689547. url: https://doi.org/10.1086/689547.

I would like the style of the first, but only the order of the first name in the list should change, not all of them. In other words:

Epps, Patience L.,  Anthony K. Webster, & Anthony C. Woodbury (2017). A holistic
humanities of speaking: Franz Boas and the continuing centrality of texts.
International Journal of American Linguistics, 83 (1), 41–78. https://doi.org/
  • Welcome to TeX.SE. Aren't the options style=apa and citestyle=authoryear mutually incompatible? The claim that "the authoryear citestyle in biblatex will sort the first author of the citation as 'family-given' and all following authors as 'given-family'" doesn't sound right; a citestyle option should affect how names are displayed in a citation call-out, not how they are displayed in the formatted bibliography. The instruction \usepackage[utf8]{inputenc} shouldn't be necessary unless your TeX distribution is seriously obsolete. The \inputencoding{utf8} instruction seems suspect.
    – Mico
    Sep 23, 2023 at 10:37
  • 2
    biblatex-apa wasn't really built to be combined with other styles, so style=apa, citestyle=authoryear, may or may not work properly at all. Can you explain why you need/want that combination. biblatex-apa was developed specifically to implement APA requirements, as such it was not really built with customisability in mind, so it can be tricky to change even small things that "should be easy".
    – moewe
    Sep 23, 2023 at 11:08
  • Oh, both of you are right. It looks like citestyle is absolutely not necessary here, and the differences were coming from the default being overridden by the APA style. I can remove the citestyle command entirely. Unfortunately, it doesn't solve the issue, but it does mean I can keep looking for culprits.
    – Jason
    Sep 23, 2023 at 13:21
  • 1
    If you can explain what exactly you want (so far I gather you want APA style, but you want the name format of the authors/primary names in a slightly different order), we might be able to help you.
    – moewe
    Sep 23, 2023 at 13:28
  • 1
    OK. Let's focus on one thing here: The author ordering. Can you quickly explain what your modification of name:apa:family-given and name:apa:given-family are doing. Are they here to deal with the name order thing or do they do something different?
    – moewe
    Sep 23, 2023 at 13:39

1 Answer 1


As mentioned in the comments, biblatex-apa implements the complex requirements of APA style. It was not written with customisability in mind. Even changes that look small and "should be easy" can be tricky to pull off. It is therefore often better to base a custom style on a biblatex standard style rather than biblatex-apa.

If the only thing you need to change are the name format and the colon, the following might be viable. (Changing the name format like this may disable some of the more obscure features of APA style involving names, but you can probably live with that. In any case, check the output carefully.)











Aksın, Özge, Hayati Türkmen, Levent Artok, Bekir C¸etinkaya, Chaoying Ni, Orhan Büyükgüngör, & Erhan Özkal (2006).
Sigfridsson, Emma & Ulf Ryde (1998).

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