End Note randomly inserting incorrect citations in text

I am using the APA6 style and every now and then end note will insert the reference in text using the authors initials first when in every other citation it excludes them.  It is chosing to do this with four authors only.  I have re-entered the information into end note but nothing seems to work.

So instead of (MacIntyre, 2001)

It inserts (P.D. MacIntyre, 2001)

Does anyone have any idea how to fix this error?!



Is the author in exactly the same format in all the references? Even an extra space after the initial will cause EndNote to assume they are 2 different authors and therefore (correctly) insert the initials in the citation. Best way to check is to copy and paste the author name into the references so they are exactly the same. The update your document.



Unwanted initials in an author-date style in-text citation are a common occurrence in documents and there might be several things you need to do to fix this. I have developed a lengthy response because simply fixing the author name in the reference doesn’t always work.

Firstly, EndNote is correctly conforming to the APA 6th manual to use initials in the in-text reference if there is more than one author with the same last name in your document. However, sometimes the initials are there when you do not have different authors with the same last name… so they need to be removed. Unwanted author initials can come from the author’s name being inconsistently entered in different references in your EndNote library,

e.g.  MacIntyre, P.

         MacIntyre, P. D.

         MacIntyre, Peter D.

Different references by the same author with a different form of name will trick EndNote into thinking that they are different authors, so you need to make them all the same using the following steps.

1) Clean up the Authors Term List:

  • In your EndNote library, go to Tools > Open Term Lists and select Authors Term List

  • Scroll down to find the author and delete incorrect forms of name – leaving just one entry, usually the fullest form of name (i.e. MacIntyre, Peter D.)

  • NB Deleting terms in the term list does not change anything in the reference, but this is a useful step in order to make the next step easier as well as having the benefit of removing all traces of the incorrect name.

2) Clean up the author’s name in each reference:

  • Click on Search tab (bottom of library window) and search where AuthorContains e.g. macintyre. This is important as MacIntyre may be a 2nd or later author on a paper, so if you only scroll down the list of references to identify the author you won’t find all occurrences.

  • Open each reference (or use Quick Edit tab) and highlight the name you need to change, then start typing in the author’s name again (last name first). If you have cleaned up the term list then it should automatically select the correct form of name.

  • Close the reference to save it, or click out of the reference if using the Quick Edit tab. Repeat this step for all references that have the incorrect form of name.

  • Now return to your document and Update Citations and Bibliography. Hopefully you will no longer see those initials (unless of course there are different authors with the same last name)

3) As a last resort you can edit the style to remove the instruction to include initials in the in-text reference… but note that you will be using a non-standard style format, ie not conforming to APA 6th style.  To do this:

  • Click on Edit > Output Styles > Edit “your style”

  • On the left, choose Author Name under Citations

  • Remove the tick in the box next to “Use initials only for primary authors with the same name”

  • Click on File > Save As… and save your file with a slightly different name (eg APA 6th NoInitials)

Now return to your document and select the new (renamed) Output Style and click on Update Citations and Bibliography.