Unexpected citation style results

There are a number of reasons why you might not be getting the citation style formatting you expected. See below for some of the most common reasons and solutions:


The citation style is completely different than what you expected

You might have only selected the citation style in Citavi. In order to use a citation style in your Word document, you also have to select it in the Citavi Word Add-In (Screenshot: changing your style in Word)

If the style is selected in Word, the journal might have changed its style guidelines since the style was created. If this is the case, please contact the Citavi support team so that we can update the style.

You see a small circle (°) between "p." and the page number

The "°" symbol is the formatting symbol in Word for a non-breaking space. It ensures that certain characters are not separated at the end of a line. For example, if you don't want "p. 14" to be split up into "p." at the end of one line and "14" at the start of the next.

This symbol is only visible in Word if you selected the option to show paragraph marks and other hidden formatting symbols (Ctrl+*). The symbol will not be visible if you later print the document or save it as a PDF document.

If you ever want to insert a non-breaking space outside of Citavi's fields, you can insert one by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Spacebar.

"P." is missing

Citavi will only insert "p." or "pp." in front of page numbers that it recognizes as numbers. For this reason, never enter page ranges with prefixes or suffixes. In the two examples below Citavi cannot interpret the page numbers correctly:

  • 153ff. (suffix)
  • 153-155, 160, 170-171 (multiple page ranges in one field)


  • Check the page ranges for the reference in your project. Click Page range and then select Arabic numerals if it is not already selected (screenshot: Checking the numeral system in Citavi).
  • Correct page ranges for quotations in your Word document by double-clicking the field with the incorrect page range. On the Citations tab, correct the entry in the Page range field and change the numeral system to Arabic numerals (screenshot: Checking the numeral system in the Word Add-In).
Page ranges are written out (pp. 7-8) instead of just showing the first page (p. 7f.)

Citavi did not recognize the numbers as a page range.


Correct the entry in the Page range field and change the numeral system to Arabic numerals (Screenshot: Checking the numeral system in the Citavi Word Add-In).

You see a mix of English abbreviations and abbreviations in another language

You selected a citation style that inserts different abbreviations depending on the language of the reference.

If you don't want different abbreviations to be used for different languages, you can delete the information in the Language field.

In-text citations

First names are added to some authors

Some citation styles, such as APA, require that the first initial of a first name be added if  works by two or more persons with the same last name are cited, for example, R. Baumgartner und P. Baumgartner.

In some citation styles, the first name will also be written out, for example for Paula Meier and Peter Meier because the first first initials are the same.

However, there are some cases when the first name shouldn't appear:


You might have two entries for the same author in your project, for example Baumgartner, Renate and Baumgartner, R.


Merge the two entries. On the Lists menu, click Persons and organizations. Select both names, and then click Merge.


If you insert the same person from two different Citavi projects, Citavi will treat the person as two different authors. On the Citation tab, you will see a gray icon with two question marks.


  • Check if there's a copy of the reference in your project and link the cited reference to the citation again. Follow the steps in our manual
  • If you can't find the reference in the current project, the solution is even easier. Copy the reference from the Citavi Word Add-In back into your project. You can find the command in the Citavi Word Add-In on the Convert menu. (screenshot: Copy references into the current project].
Multiple authors appear instead of one name with et al.

Some citation styles, for example APA, have special rules for groups of author names. If these could be ambiguous, additional last names are added until the citation is no longer ambiguous.

Miller 2010b appears before Miller 2010a

Your bibliography is sorted alphabetically. Letters for disambiguation are given according to the order in the bibliography:

  • Miller, Claire (2010a): Aardvarks. London: Animal Press.
  • Miller, Claire (2010b): Bees. London: Animal Press.

If you cite "Bees" before "Aardvarks" you'll see (Miller 2010b) in your document before (Miller 2010a).


Instead of an shortened title you see the author's last name and the year of publication

You selected a citation style that uses full citations the first time a work is cited. If the work is cited again it should appear with the title in a shortened form. However, in your Word document you just see the last name of the author and the year of publication.


The shortened form of the title is generated by Citavi using the citation keys you've defined in your project. If you're seeing something unexpected, you just need to change the short key definition.


In Citavi click Citation > Change citation style and read the description of your citation style. You should see instructions for configuring the citation keys.


Boxes are appearing in URLs

The boxes in the URLs are breaking points that the Citation Style Editor inserts into the URL. In Word this character is known as a "No-Width Optional Break".

These formatting characters ensure that long URLs are not broken up in a strange way. Instead, Word is told where it can place the line breaks. Hyphens are not used, since they would change the URL.

If you print your document or save a copy of it as a PDF, you will not see these characters.

Unnecessary letters for disambiguation

In your bibliography you cited the same source two or more times. In your in-text citations you see that there's a letter appearing after the year: Miller 2010a, Miller 2010b.


  • Your Citavi project has at least one duplicate of the reference. You've cited both the original reference and the duplicate.
  • You cited the reference, then deleted it, and then added it to your project again.
  • You inserted the references into your Word document from two different projects.


Add all quotations in the text to one reference in your projet. To do so, follow the steps in this manual chapter.

Names of journals are not abbreviated

Your citation style calls for abbreviated journal names. Instead, you're seeing the full names.


The journal abbreviations haven't been added to your project yet.


Add the abbreavations by clicking Lists > Periodicals. If you're using a standard list, use the add-on for importing abbreviations.

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