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I have a mathematical transformation that takes 16 parameters (grouped into 3+8+5) and would like to make a latex command for it, so that I can easily change the notation for it if the need arises.

As far as I know, both \def and \newcommand take a maximum of 9 arguments, is there any (recommended) way to extend this?

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3  
Perhaps you might show us the detail of what is wanted. This sounds like a question where the best answer will be to think carefully about the input you really require. –  Joseph Wright Aug 21 '10 at 6:43
    
I edited the question to make it clear the parameters are not programmatic, but rather, an unavoidable part of the the maths that I'm using. –  Simon Aug 21 '10 at 7:02
    
I wonder if there's a magic solution involving Currying. –  Seamus Feb 21 '13 at 16:19

4 Answers 4

up vote 21 down vote accepted

You are going to have to parse the arguments some at a time and store them into temporary registers or macros. For example

\newcommand\foo[9]{%
    \def\tempa{#1}%
    \def\tempb{#2}%
    \def\tempc{#3}%
    \def\tempd{#4}%
    \def\tempe{#5}%
    \def\tempf{#6}%
    \def\tempg{#7}%
    \def\temph{#8}%
    \def\tempi{#9}%
    \foocontinued
}
\newcommand\foocontinued[7]{%
    % Do whatever you want with your 9+7 arguments here.
}
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Thanks TH - that's the same solution as supplied in the "black TeX magic" link provided by mindcorrosive. I think that I'll use the xargs package, since it will make my code clearer and I like the simple default arguments. –  Simon Aug 21 '10 at 6:55

There's the xargs package, and there's also some black TeX magic. As for myself, being conditioned in Python, I prefer the key-value parameter syntax provided by keyval/xkeyval packages.

On an unrelated note, if I find myself needing more than 9 parameters, that usually means that my macro/def/code organization is not very good, and I'd try to improve that first. But of course, there are legitimate situations where 9 parameters are perfectly okay --- especially if you try to build a definition with a lot of knobs and tweaks.

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Thanks, I don't know how my googling did not turn up the first option you gave. The 16 parameters define a nonlinear transformation - they're not options in the macro. –  Simon Aug 21 '10 at 6:51
    
Actually, xargs does not allow more than 9 arguments - it only gives a neat interface for optional arguments. I'll have to use the TeX hack. –  Simon Aug 21 '10 at 7:10
3  
That's correct. Until you clarified what you need so much parameters for, I assumed it's for a macro, and you'd use the keyval interface. But of course in that case it's better with plain TeX. –  Martin Tapankov Aug 21 '10 at 7:15

In a response to How to use variables inside a command when generating a table? I mention how the stringstrings package has a \getargs command that will parse large numbers of arguments that are passed within a single { }. To recap that reply,

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{stringstrings}
\begin{document}
\getargs{1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 FinalArgument}
There are \narg~arguments.  The thirteenth is \argxiii
\end{document}

The result to this example is:

There are 13 arguments. The thirteenth is FinalArgument


EDIT: A much more efficient version of \getargs is available in the readarray package and called \getargsC (in deference to David Carlisle's help). Thus, the same task can be accomplished more quickly with

\documentclass{article}
\usepackage{readarray}
\begin{document}
\getargsC{1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 FinalArgument}
There are \narg~arguments.  The thirteenth is \argxiii
\end{document}
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Since it's a different technique, I also present the following: local macro definitions.

\documentclass{article}

\def\NineteenArgs#1#2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9{%
    \def\ArgsTenAndFurther##1##2##3##4##5##6##7##8##9{%
        \def\ArgNineteen####1{%
            ####1##9##8##7##6##5##4##3##2##1#9#8#7#6#5#4#3#2#1%
        }%
        \ArgNineteen%
    }%
    \ArgsTenAndFurther%
}

\begin{document}
                 %1234567890123456789
    \NineteenArgs abcdefghijklmnopqrs
\end{document}
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