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Natbib Basics

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natbib extends the citation capabilities of BibTeX and offers a variety of flexible options for citation style, especially about parenthetical and narrative in-text citations.

Although BibLaTeX is considered a more robust and modern option (which we recommend using), natbib remains a widely used and efficient choice for managing citations in LaTeX documents. For this reason, we would like to give you a brief introduction here if you would want to use CiteDrive in conjunction with natbib and BibTeX: Include natbib Package: Add the natbib package to your LaTeX document by including the following line in the preamble:


Specify the citation style using \bibliographystyle{}. Common styles include plain, apalike, and abbrvnat. Place this command in the preamble as well:


Insert citations in the document using \cite{}, or in our example \citep{} and \citet{}. For multiple citations, separate them with commas:

% Parenthetical citation
\citep{author1_year1}. Another example \citep{author2_year2}.
% Textual citation
As mentioned by \citet{author1_year1}, the topic is important.
\citet{author2_year2} also contributed valuable insights.

At the end of your document, declare the bibliography, the .bib-file, which you may have created and exported from CiteDrive:

% bibliography.bib, without the `.bib` extension:

Compile your document in the following order to ensure proper citation and bibliography generation. The following should work:

pdflatex main.tex
BibTeX main
pdflatex main.tex
pdflatex main.tex

Bibliography and Citation styles for Natbib

Full NameBST NameDescription
Author-Year (Default)plainnatDisplays author name and publication year in the citation.
NumericnumbersAssigns a unique number to each citation in the order of appearance.
Author-TitleabbrvnatShows author name and the title of the work in the citation.
ChicagochicagoAfter the Chicago Manual of Style for citations.
APA (American Psychological Assoc.)apalikeAdheres to the guidelines of the APA style for citations.
HarvardharvardSimilar to the author-year style, commonly used in Harvard referencing.
NaturenatureDesigned for citations in the style commonly used in scientific articles.
VancouvervancouverNumeric citation style widely used in scientific and medical publications.
ACM (Association for Computing Machinery)acmCommonly used in computer science literature.
IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)IEEEtranCitation style specified by the IEEE for technical documents.

Citation style options:

Citation CommandDescription
\citet*{key}Similar to \citet, but displays all authors in every citation.
\citepauthor{key}Prints only the author name(s) in parentheses.
\citeyearpar{key}Parenthetical citation format, but only the publication year is enclosed in parentheses.
\citefullauthor{key}Prints the full list of authors.
\citetext{key}Inserts a citation without parentheses.
\citealtalias{key}Alias for \citealt.
\citealpalias{key}Alias for \citealp.
\citepalias{key}Alias for \citep.
\citenum{key}Prints the citation number only.
\citeauthorpar{key}Parenthetical citation format, with only the author name(s) in parentheses.
\citeyearalias{key}Alias for \citeyear.

More guidelines