Better bibliographies: Abbreviate author names with biblatex

While I might write a post one day on why you should use biblatex for your references in LaTeX, I’d like to start a new series of post. The topic: how to make better bibliographies in LaTeX (using biblatex). Today, we’ll see that abbreviating ALL first and middle names is an easy task when using biblatex.

I just wanted to write about this quick and useful tip. I’m currently finishing my MSc. thesis and had to fine-tune my bibliography format. One of the first things I notice was that the first and middle names of authors were sometimes abbreviated and sometimes written out fully, depending on the way they where written in my .bib file.

The preamble

All we really need is the biblatex package:


In between the square brackets, the user can add some options that will change the behaviour of the references. Right now, we want to abbreviate all first and middle names of authors, without going through all items in our .bib file. With biblatex this can be done by setting the firstinits option to true. Add this to the preamble of your document:


where refs.bib is the file containing all reference entries. Note that I’ve also specified backend=bibtex. This has to do with the biblatex encodig, more on that later.

The result

Easy as that. What we’ve created is illustrated below.

What we had before:
biblatex firstinit false

What we have now:
biblatex firstinit true


Please let me know what you think about the new series. Was this useful to you and would you like to read more?


  1. Labi says:

    Yeah, it looks pretty good. Keep going bro!!

  2. yiluyingxiao says:

    乙未年(羊)冬月十九 2015-12-29

  3. 初来乍到,支持一下很有必要

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