Simple request to consider - chronological ordering of multiple citations

When I make multiple citations for a line/paragraph, (i.e. Author1 et al. 1960; Author 2. 1980; Author3 et al. 2010) I prefer to arrange them in chronological date order (obviously, older references being referred to prior to more recent ones).

I find this ultimately leads to a better ordered reference/bibliography that builds a foundation of knowledge per idea. In a sense, reading the bibliography alone outlines the history of ideas that support your premise.

My $.02


The ordering of citations within an in-text citation is determined by the citation style chosen. For instance, the APA style orders citations by author and then by year whereas the Chicago style does not do any ordering. Unfortunately, it is a little difficult to determine which styles do which before trying it (you would have to look at the CSL code).

The “Taylor & Francis - Harvard X” style is an example of a style which orders papers chronologically.

For styles which do not reorder the citations, you can drag and drop the blue bubbles in the citation add/edit box to create the order you prefer.


JjeudyMD, I agree, that is something that would be nice. A similar request can be seen in other forums (Zotero, Endnote) for a “sorted by issued” “date of publication” or the like. Folks want to autoformat their bibliography (I made the same request). That is not exactly what you are asking for though.

You could use American Psychological Association 6th edition (curriculum vitae, sorted by descending date)
APA style for CVs, sorting by date (descending), then title, then author
the name is “apa-cv.csl
The output is
Text citations
(Hasan et al., 2009; Koonin & Wolf, 2006; Morris, 2008)
Hasan, S. K., Moon, S., Song, Y. S., Keles, H. O., Manzur, F., Mikkilineni, S., … Demirci, U. (2009). Layer by layer 3D tissue epitaxy by cell laden hydrogel droplets. In Bioengineering Conference, 2009 IEEE 35th Annual Northeast (pp. 1–2). Boston, MA: IEEE.
Morris, K. V. (2008). RNA-Mediated Transcriptional Gene Silencing in Human Cells. In P. J. Paddison & P. K. Vogt (Eds.), RNA Interference (pp. 211–224). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Koonin, E. V., & Wolf, Y. I. (2006). Evolutionary systems biology: links between gene evolution and function. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 17(5), 481–487.

I think you might be looking for this:

Based on The Council of Science Editors style, Name-Year system:** author-date in text**, sorted in alphabetical order by author.
elementa.csl | Style Guidelines
Text citations
(Koonin and Wolf, 2006; Morris, 2008; Hasan et al., 2009) (my highlight)
Hasan SK, Moon S, Song YS, Keles HO, Manzur F, Mikkilineni S, Hong JW, Nagatomi J, Haeggstrom E, Khademhosseini A, et al. 2009. Layer by layer 3D tissue epitaxy by cell laden hydrogel droplets. Bioengineering Conference, 2009 IEEE 35th Annual Northeast: 1–2. IEEE.
Koonin EV, Wolf YI. 2006. Evolutionary systems biology: links between gene evolution and function. Curr Opin Biotechnol 17(5): 481–487.
Morris KV. 2008. RNA-Mediated Transcriptional Gene Silencing in Human Cells. In: Paddison PJ, Vogt PK, editors. RNA Interference. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 211–224.

Nevermind, Harvard X does the same, I looked at the wrong name when I tried Jason’s recommendation.

Text citations
(Koonin and Wolf 2006, Morris 2008, Hasan et al. 2009)
Hasan, S.K., Moon, S., Song, Y.S., Keles, H.O., Manzur, F., Mikkilineni, S., Hong, J.W., Nagatomi, J., Haeggstrom, E., Khademhosseini, A., and Demirci, U., 2009. Layer by layer 3D tissue epitaxy by cell laden hydrogel droplets. In: Bioengineering Conference, 2009 IEEE 35th Annual Northeast. Presented at the 2009 IEEE 35th Annual Northeast Bioengineering Conference, Boston, MA: IEEE, 1–2.
Koonin, E.V. and Wolf, Y.I., 2006. Evolutionary systems biology: links between gene evolution and function. Current opinion in biotechnology, 17 (5), 481–487.
Morris, K.V., 2008. RNA-Mediated Transcriptional Gene Silencing in Human Cells. In: P.J. Paddison and P.K. Vogt, eds. RNA Interference. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 211–224.

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Sorry for bumping an old thread, but I’m having the same problem as the OP concerning in-line citations not chronologically ordered. I’m using the “Frontiers journals” style, and the citations are appearing in the order that I’m citing them instead of by year. I tried to follow @jason’s suggestion of ordering the blue bubble on the right citation panel but they do not move. That would solve this for me, with some effort… am I missing something?

The “Frontiers journals” styles orders in-text citations by author and then year. If you wish to change this behavior, you would have to edit the style at

Removing the “Sort” element under “Inline Citations” in the left-hand panel should enable you to order them as you wish. The save dialog on the editor site has instructions on how to add your edited style to your Paperpile.

p.s. bumping an old thread is generally better than creating a new one - it makes it easier for others to find answers.

Thank you jason. I’ve edited in citationstyles and saved the cls locally, only changing the order of sort and it solved it for me. In case anyone is also interested, it now looks like this:

As a suggestion, I think it should be made clear in the instruction on the save dialog that the only way to upload a custom CLS is by opening the Paperpile App and going to Settings there. I was trying to do it under the Settings menu in the Citation Manager in my own document in Google Docs.

Again, thank you and rock on.

Hi Nils, could you please help me with the order of the reference numbers inside the text. I mean in the text not at the bibliography region.

@Homayoon_Nateghi You can change the order of the in-text citations by editing the citation (click on the pencil icon in Google Docs) and dragging the blue bubbles. But the order in the text will depend on the citation style, see Jason’s reply above.

Hi, Suzanne, thank you for your response. I’m using Mendeley software. There is no such a think like bubbles. Please give me more details. Maybe I can’t understand your meaning well.

@Homayoon_Nateghi My answer refers to citations made with Paperpile, not citations made with Mendeley. In Mendeley Cite, to re-order citations, I believe you have to edit the citation, then remove references one by one, and add them in again in the desired order. But you would be better off contacting Mendeley support to confirm that this is indeed the case.