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Introduction and example

Biblatex provides numerous citation styles but if no citation style is set LaTeX uses the one that matches the bibliography style. Here is a minimal example showing use of the biblatex parameter style=alphabetic to set the citation style to alphabetic.

\title{A bibLaTeX example}
\addbibresource{sample.bib} %Imports bibliography file

\section{First section}

Items that are cited: \textit{The \LaTeX\ Companion} book \cite{latexcompanion} together with Einstein's journal paper \cite{einstein} and Dirac's book \cite{dirac}---which are physics-related items. Next, citing two of Knuth's books: \textit{Fundamental Algorithms} \cite{knuth-fa} and \textit{The Art of Computer Programming} \cite{knuth-acp}.



 Open this example in Overleaf (the sample.bib file is created for you).

This example produces the following output:

A biblatex example

Citation styles

Standard citation styles include:

  • numeric Implements a numeric citation scheme intended for in-text citations. Should be employed in conjunction with the numeric bibliography style.
  • numeric-comp Compact variant of the numeric mode. Citations like [1, 2, 3] are replaced by [1-3].
  • numeric-verb Verbose variant of the numeric style. Instead of [2, 5, 7] will print [2];[5];[7].
  • alphabetic Alphabetic citation scheme similar to the standard alpha in style bibtex. To be used in conjunction with the alphabetic bibliography style.
  • alphabetic-verb Verbose version of the alphabetic style. Instead of [Doe98, Doe95, Farn2004] will print [Doe98];[Doe95];[Farn2004].
  • authoryear Implements the author-year citation scheme. To be used in conjunction with the author-year bibliography style.
  • authoryear-comp Compact variant of the authoryear style. Prints the author only once if subsequent references passed to a single citation command share the same author. Prints Doe 1992, 1995 instead of Doe 1992, Doe 1995.
  • authoryear-ibid A variant of the authoryear intended for footnote citations. Replaces repeated citations by the abbreviation ibidem.
  • authoryear-icomp A style combining the features of authoryear-comp and authoryear-ibid
  • authortitle Implements the author-title scheme. Intended for citations given in footnotes.
  • authortitle-comp Compact variant of authortitle. Instead of Doe, First title; Doe, Second title this will print Doe, First title, Second title.
  • authortitle-ibid A variant of the authortitle intended for footnote citations. Replaces repeated citations by the abbreviation ibidem.
  • authortitle-icomp A style combining authortitle-comp and authortitle-ibid.
  • authortitle-terse Variant of authoritle that only prints the title if the bibliography contains more than one work of the respective author/editor.
  • authortitle-tcomp Style combining authortitle-terse and authortitle-comp.
  • authortitle-ticomp Style combining authortitle-icomp and authortitle-terse.
  • verbose Citation style that prints a full citation when the entry is cited for the first time and a short version afterwards.
  • reading Citation style that goes with the bibliography style by the same name. Loads the authortitle style.

There are other non-standard citation styles popular in different journals and thesis

  • In Sciences:
    • American Chemical Society (ACS) style
    • American Institute of Physics (AIP) style
    • American Mathematical Society (AMS) style
    • Vancouver system
    • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) style
    • Nature style
    • Science style
  • In Humanities:
    • Chicago Style
    • Harvard referencing style
    • MLA style
  • In Socials:
    • American Psychological Association (APA) style
Citation style biblatex stylename
ACS chem-acs
AIP phys (*)
Nature nature
Science science
IEEE ieee
Chicago chicago-authordate
MLA mla
APA apa

(*) this is a new style, see http://ctan.org/pkg/biblatex-phys

Further reading

For more information see

Overleaf guides

LaTeX Basics


Figures and tables

References and Citations


Document structure





Field specific

Class files

Advanced TeX/LaTeX