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I need to write a ConText primer for those who never used ConTeXt, and have no LaTeX background. What should I cover in order to give a precise overview of this system?

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Like "Context, an excursion"? –  Khaled Hosny Jul 8 '11 at 22:02
Less than that. I thought something that would generate this very good book, the very basic ideas. –  Frederico Lopes Jul 8 '11 at 23:00
If you want something as short as possible, you have to ask yourself what these people you are targeting really need to know. Then, start with the excursion and delete everything you do not need... –  Taco Hoekwater Jul 9 '11 at 9:40
This is kind of a subjective question which might easily leads to discussions and is not very suitable for the question & answer scheme of this site. This should better discussed on a ConTeXt forum of mailing-list. Feel free to open a new chat room for this here. –  Martin Scharrer Jul 9 '11 at 10:06
I understand your point of view, but let me respectfully disagree. I think it's not subjective, because I'm asking for the very "typographic axioms" of ConTeXt, if it exists, the ones with which someone can walk on his own feet. And the strategy of deleting from "Excursion" is a hard one: maybe someone is in the same need I am, and can provide the clues I'm asking for. –  Frederico Lopes Jul 9 '11 at 18:54
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Browsing through the "Excursion", I found the top ten commands list:

  1. \starttext, stoptext
  2. \chapter, \section, \title, \subject, \setuphead, \compl
  3. \em, \bf, \cap
  4. \startitemize, \stopitemize, \item, \head
  5. \abbreviation, \infull, \completelistofabbreviations
  6. \placefigure, \externalfigure, \useexternalfigures
  7. \placetable, \starttable, \stoptable
  8. \definedescription, \defineenumeration
  9. \index, \completeindex
  10. \setuplayout, \setupfootertexts, \setupheadertexts

I think it's a good starting point to a minimal primer.

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Please use back-ticks ` to format inline code (or mark the commands and press CTRL+K). –  Martin Scharrer Jul 10 '11 at 16:55
Have you seen ConTeXt Macro Top Ten –  Aditya Jul 11 '11 at 0:05
@Aditya: Perhaps you could make that an answer, so we can remove this question from the 'unanswered' list. –  Joseph Wright Jul 16 '11 at 5:13
@Joseph: I was waiting for a reply from Orbis. @ Orbis: If my link answers your question, please add in your reply (and accept your answer). –  Aditya Jul 19 '11 at 15:29
@Aditya Thank you. ConTeXt Macro Top Ten is quite what I needed. –  Frederico Lopes Jul 23 '11 at 18:35
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List of Top Ten ConteXt commands from Hans Hagen's manual "ConTeXt an Excursion" is a starting point, but for me it can never be less than eleven.


is a must.


Twelve actually, add to it \setuppapersize.



  1. \page
  2. \startlinecorrection
  3. \setuppagenumber for ultimate control of page numbering.
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I'd even suggest replace #5 with \setuppagenumbering. What about rewrite that list? –  Frederico Lopes Aug 3 '11 at 9:18
Perhaps. I, personally, do not use abbreviations at all, mainly because I almost never deal with source files other than in xml format. –  helcim Aug 4 '11 at 10:58
Couple more absolutely indispensable commands: –  helcim May 2 '12 at 10:29
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