Custom bibliography that includes 'Order of Appearance'

Hi all

I have a custom bibliography set up (Author + Original Publication + Year) but I am having a problem that I can’t seem to fix.

I have multiple citations from the same author (e.g. ‘Smith’) from the same year (e.g. 2007) and I am using the disambiguation tool to cite them in the bibliography as 2007a, 2007b, 2007c, etc.  However, I also want them to appear in the bibliography in the order that they appear in the text.  So Smith, 2007a in the bibliography refers to my first citation of Smith in my text. 

My problem is that all of the Smith references are being ordered by the bibliography and then reflected back into the text.  So my first (in text) use of Smith comes out as “(Smith, 2007c)” because it is ordered that way in the bibliography. 

I cannot, anywhere, find an “Order of Appearance” option in the custom sort menus for either the bibliography or in-text citation.

Can anyone help?!

Many thanks


It sounnds like the bibliography “Sort Order” may be amiss and is sorting by the Author field and not by order of appearnce.

In the output style’s dialog box locate the Bibliography heading and click on “Sort Order”.  To list the bibliography in order of appearance, select: Order of appearance.

Wow!  Thanks for the quick reply!

I tried that, but then my bibliography appears only in the order I originally cite my references.  So ‘Smith’ (to keep the example going) ends up at the top of my bibliography (as Smith is my first in-text citation) instead of ‘Adams’ (who I need at the top because the biblography must be alphabetical).

In this sense, I need the ‘Order of Appearance’ to be a sub-set ordering of the Custom bibliography setting. 

The biblography would then run A dams, B arns, C ooper, etc. to S mith, then list Smith’s 2007a, 2007b, 2007c in order of appearance and not in order of the title of Smith’s publications (which it appears to default to do).  Because of this, my first Smith citation appears as “(Smith, 2007c)” when I need it to be “(Smith, 2007a)”. 

I want my custom bibliography to look something like:

Author +

Original publication +

Year {+

Order of Appearance}

It is this last section “{ }” that I can’t find as a sub-set command of the custom options. 

Any ideas?

Thanks for the additional explanation.  Unfortunately, and as you’ve already discovered, there is no option for building a sort order that includes “order of appearance” as a supplemental field to the sort string.  But here’s an idea…

The Bibliography Sort Order does allow using a “Custom” field in the sort string  So if you modify the assorted reference type templates (e.g., Journal Article, Edited Book, etc.) to include a custom field to allow assigning a number corresponding to the order of appearance, then you could include this custom field in composing the sort term: Author + Original Publication + Year + Custom.  (You could rename “Custom” to suit your needs.)

Once you’ve modified the reference type templates then you’ll need to locate the affected references (e.g., Smith 2007a, Smith 2007b, Smith 2007c). Then enter a numeric number (1, 2, or 3) corresponding to their order of appearnce.  So for example, if Smith 2007a is displayed first, then enter “1” in the custom field.  Then if Smith 2007c appears second, enter “2”; and if Smith 2007b appears third, enter “3”.  The idea is to assign a numeric code corresponding to the order of appearance. Updated 4/6/2017: For all other remaining records, insert the number “1” in the custom field.

Now the coding identifying the order of appearance is in place so the bibliographic references should be sorted in the order of: Author + Original Publication + Year + Custom (aka numerical code corresponding to order of appearance).

If this idea is feasible the process would be:

  1. Modify the reference type templates to include a (renamed) Custom field (e.g., Order of Appearance, SubSort, etc.).

  2. Modify the references within your library by entering a numeric code in the custom field corresponding to the reference’s order of appearnce. ( For all other remaining records, insert the number “1” in the custom field.)

  3. Create a new sort order in the output style’s Bibliography Sort Order that includes the custom field.

1 Like

Thanks again.  That’ll have to do, I suppose!  I did as you suggested and added them to Custom Option 4 (1 to 3 were taken in various references).  I renamed it ‘Order of Appearance’. 

I’ll wait until the end of a paper/article now and then go through and number each of the multiple citations that I have in each paper (let’s hope there’s not a case where I need the same article for two different papers!  But, I know, just create another field and order them again in there…).

Fingers crossed for an update for EndNote 4 or for the arrival of this option on EndNote 5.

Thanks, Gecko.


In case anyone finds this via a websearch (like I nromally do), on my Mac I did the following:


Reference Types,

Modify Reference Types,

Select the one you want to ‘add’ to from the drop down menu (e.g. Journal Article),

Choose your field to add a name to (“Custom 4” for me), I called it “Order of Appearance”

Then select either “Apply to All Refs” or go through each one (Book, Book Section, etc.) and change it individually

To change your bibliography, go to


Output Styles

Edit “name of your reference style here”


Sort Order


Then choose the order of your output.  Probably: Author, Year, then Custom 4.

(Don’t forget to save your changes.)

Oh, to quickly get rid of all/a selection of the “Custom 4” order in the future (e.g. after you’ve sent your final paper off):



Change and Move Fields

“Select a Field” drop-down menu…

…choose “Custom 4” (or whatever yours is)

Select “Clear Field”

OK it

Hey presto, all the information in that field is gone…

Hope this helped. 

And double-thanks to CrazyGecko…

[See update below…]

Thanks for the update and documentation  - wish there’s a better workaround but until “order of appearance” is listed among the various field options, seems like contorted workarounds like this is the only option.

You  might submit this as a Product Suggestion section on the forum.

Good idea.  Just done it.



Very strange thing and I’m not sure what caused it. 

After adding the “Custom 4” option into the custom bibliography but not yet entering anything into the Custom 4 fields, on a refresh of the bibliography, my multiple “Smith” references suddenly ordered themselves into the ‘Order of Appearance’ “a, b, c” order. 

Maybe because the Custom 4 field is actually empty (and so gives EndNote nothing to sort by) it disrupts the default setting that (apparently) causes the problem?  I’ve no idea why this just happened.

Anyway, this really is my final post on the topic.

Thanks for the update. That very well may be true about the sort order defaulting to order of appearance when the custom field is blank*. - certainly makes sense. Would be interested to know what the output is once the numeric codes are entered into the targeted references’ custom field.

In the meantime you could adjust the bibliography sort order by deleting the custom field then reinstating it when you’re ready to do a test-run.

Updated 4/6/2017: For all other remaining records, insert the number “1” in the custom field.

When you cite a reference into the word document then the reference is given an order number and depending on the style it is bracketed like [#] or (#). Some times this order changes when you cite a new reference or you change the order of the sitation inside the text.

I would like to ask if there is way to have this number into a field of a reference inside the endnote so that we don’t have to update manually the “order of appearance” field?

Forgive me, but I don’t understand what you are asking.  Endnote will automatically update the numbers based on order of appearance, if the output style is defined as such.  It should happen immediately, if you have CWYW on?  

The OP (Nick-H) was trying to resolve an issue regarding bibliography sorting based on order of appearance for an author with multiple publications while maintaining the bibliography list in ascending alpha order by author name. Changing the bibliography sort order to “order of appearance” alone won’t address keeping the author names in alpha order.

It seems to me the second poster (ioannis) wants to do the same as the OP but is using a numbered style. However, even taking that possibility into account doesn’t sufficiently explain what the user is trying to do. So, ioannis, could you provide further description and perhaps examples?

Yes i do use a numbered style for my references into the document and i would like to sort my references inside the endnote with the same order. The field “order of appearance” is very usefull but numbers, which represent the order of appearance, are given manually by the author. in order to provide an example let’s say that you have only tow references, A and B, in the text and these are in tow different paragraphs each and these are given the number [1] and [2] from the numbered style in the document. You give number 1 to A and 2 to B in the “oder of appearance” field. If you want to change the order of the paragraphs then the refrence B will come first and the number [1] will be assigned from the numbered sytle in the text. The reference A will then be second and the number [2] will be given respectively. However, inside endnote the reference A will still have number 1 and B number 2 in the field “order of appearance” and the author must change these manually. The question is how can the references be sorted inside the endnote following the order of appearance from the document. I hope that the example is clear.

I guess it is clear, but I don’t understand why it matters what order they appear in Endnote? Sorry, I am not sure the time that would be necessary for developers to build a mechanism to achieve this, is likely for a single user request.  That is what the bibliography is for? 

Thanks, ioannis, for the information. If I understand the situation correctly it seems your issue differs from that of the OP. In a numbered style, moving paragraphs with numbered citations would cause Endnote to automatically update both the in-text number sequence and the corresponding numbered bibliography – depending upon the output style’s sort settings. So, in your example, if “2” (with reference “B” in the bibliography) is moved above “1” then it automatically is renumbered “1” and so is the numbering for the corresponding reference in the bibliography. This also means that the original “1” (with reference “A”) is automatically renumbered as “2” which is also reflected in the bibliography.

If this description of renumbering the in-text citations and corresponding bibliography is what you want then there might be an issue with the output style’s citation and bibliography sort order. The in-text citation sort setting should be set to “Same as bibliography”; while the bibliography sort should be set to “Order of appearance”. Refer to attached image. (Since you didn’t identify your output style file the generic “Numbered” output style file was used for the image.)

Note: To edit and output style file go to the Endnote toolbar and select EdIT >Output Styles >Edit [name of your output style file]. Any changes made to in output style file will be saved as a new file with the word “Copy” added to the file name so change the Endnote setting in the MS Word ribbon to use the new file.

Thanks a lot for the answer

Obviously there is no way to have this order so I will use the manual approach

Thank you very much for your time!!