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I frequently write slides in beamer, and besides a few macros I use (e.g. for two-column frame), I often type \begin{itemize} and \end{itemize}. What would be a nice TeXish way for either starting the itemization automatically when \item outside of itemization/enumeration is encountered?

Or alternately, how to write a macro which would do something like (pseudocode, this does not work unfortunately as it is):

        \firstitem a
        \item b
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But how would you know when the itemize is complete? By giving an unbalanced \end without the corresponding \begin? Ugh. – Steven B. Segletes Feb 18 '14 at 11:24
As Steven says, you have to tell LaTeX when the itemize ends; so why obfuscating your input? – egreg Feb 18 '14 at 11:34
If you tire of typing in the \begin{itemize}, you could always create a shortcut macro: \def\BI{\begin{itemize}} \def\EI{\end{itemize}} so that the invocation would be \BI \item first \item second \EI – Steven B. Segletes Feb 18 '14 at 12:03
@StevenB.Segletes: at the end of the enclosing group (column, block, frame) -- that's why I thought of using \AfterGroup. – eudoxos Feb 18 '14 at 12:56
Would that work if you wanted to continue with non-itemized content within the same frame? – Steven B. Segletes Feb 18 '14 at 13:05

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