first name appears in author citation - even though (in my opinion) they're not ambiguous


I searched the forum but couldn’t find a fix for the following problem (Endnote X.02, Win XP Prof., Word 2007 - Ambiguous Citation: “tick”

add a letter after the year).

I have two or three citations which start with an author of the same surname (mostly different first names) but are otherwise easily to

distinguish (in all cases different years, two or more authors). Endnote, however, still adds the first name to the citation.

How I can I stop the software from doing that?


(Bauer, Thomas K. et al. 2008) (Bauer, Claus et al. 2006) (Bauer, Thomas K. & Bender 2004)

Thanks for suggestions!



Thanks for trying  to find a previous topic. I don’t think this exact issue is in the forum :wink:

I guess you are saying that you have selected the option under “ambiguous citations” in the journal output style you are using – as “add a letter after the year”, but it is still using the option “include the authors initials or full name in citation”?   (see screen3.gif attached).  If so, I am not really sure what is happening either.

Try unformating and reformating and make sure you are using the output style that you checked what the options were? 

I agree they don’t really look ambiguous to me either…

the other place to check is under Author name in Citations (see screen4.gif attached).  Try unticking (or ticking) the “use initials only for primary authors with the same name”. 

Message Edited by Leanne on 09-17-2008 11:31 AM


Thank goodness for this reply! I tried the Author name untick (screen 4) first and it worked. Amazing!


Sorry for digging up an old post. I have a problem in that in some in-text citations the author’s first name appears.  At first I thought it is because I import citations and some records spell out the full first name and some only have initials.

So I changed everything to initials. Then the intext citations still have the initial for the first name (e.g. P. Corrigan).

Leanne, I tried what you suggested - by unticking “include author full name or initials in citations” under ambiguous citations.  That didn’t fix the problem. Then, I unticked “use initials only for primary authors with the same name” under Author name. Then it seems to work.

Did I do the right thing?  Would this fix the problem?

Thank you so much.

Well that fixes it, but if there is an instance where there are two authors with similar names, that need to be distinguished, it won’t do what it should.  – I find the only way to make sure two entries are exactly the same and don’t trigger the inappropriate initials, is to copy the name from one record into each of the others. 

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Thanks so much for your help, Leanne.

I discovered last week during a user support that the reason why EndNote considered the same author ambiguous was that in one of the refeerences a space was included after the author intitial’s period in one of them and not in the other. This was enought to fool EndNote. Removing the space solved the probolem.

Rein, J.

Rein, J.Space

Will cause intitials in citations in APA and similar for the latter.

This is impossible to see unless you check properly by clicking after the initials.

Leanne’s suggestion of copying author names will prevent this kind of error.

Best wishes

Jan Ove

Thank you! It fixed my problem!!!

I’m sorry for digging in an old post. But I’m not quite clear on what do you mean by copying the name from one record into each of the others. I’m currently using EndNote online (web) so whatever provided in the previous discussions seems not applicable. I have tried to put first name as initials and remove the space (e.g. Campbell, J.L. and Campbell, J.T.) but the in-text citation keeps on appearing as J. L. Campbell, 2007; J. T. Campbell et al., 2012. 

Hope you can help. 

And they will, because they are different, which requires their listing the initials, as they are two different authors. 

“It isn’t actually a mistake - the official APA style is supposed to display these initials in the in-text citations. The problem arises because no-one wants them to be there!”  cited from UTS Website

In Endnote Web, I don’t believe you can edit the output style to remove this appropriate handling of two different authors.  The instructions to copy from one record to the other, is to ensure the same author is listed identically into both records.  In your case, this isn’t true.  

I had the same problem… Thank You

I had the same problem… thank You