4.2 Citation Styles

The standard LaTeX macro \cite works well with numeric or simple key citations. To deal with the more complex task of author-year citations as used in many natural sciences, a variety of packages has been developed which define derived forms of the \cite macro. RefTeX can be configured to produce these citation macros as well by setting the variable reftex-cite-format. For the most commonly used LaTeX packages (natbib, harvard, chicago, jurabib) and for ConTeXt this may be done from the menu, under Ref->Citation Styles. Since there are usually several macros to create the citations, executing reftex-citation (C-c [) starts by prompting for the correct macro. For the Natbib style, this looks like this:


[^M]   \cite{%l}
[t]    \citet{%l}
[T]    \citet*{%l}
[p]    \citep{%l}
[P]    \citep*{%l}
[e]    \citep[e.g.][]{%l}
[s]    \citep[see][]{%l}
[a]    \citeauthor{%l}
[A]    \citeauthor*{%l}
[y]    \citeyear{%l}

If citation formats contain empty pairs of square brackets, RefTeX will prompt for values of these optional arguments if you call the reftex-citation command with a C-u prefix. Following the most generic of these packages, natbib, the builtin citation packages always accept the t key for a textual citation (like: Jones et al. (1997) have shown...) as well as the p key for a parenthetical citation (like: As shown earlier (Jones et al, 1997)).

To make one of these styles the default, customize the variable reftex-cite-format or put into .emacs:

(setq reftex-cite-format 'natbib)

You can also use AUCTeX style files to automatically set the citation style based on the usepackage commands in a given document. See Style Files, for information on how to set up the style files correctly.