TeX - LaTeX Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I happen to write the following code over and over again.

{\color{blue}\verb|>|} {\footnotesize\verb|HI|} 

So, I came up with the following code to make it a command.

{\color{#1}\verb|>|} {\footnotesize\verb|#2|} 

The problem is that the result is not what I expected, there are '|' characters attached. What might be wrong? I need to have the verbatim environment kept as the result can contain some characters something like $, \ ...


{\color{#1}$>$} {\footnotesize \verb|#2|} 


{\color{blue}\verb|>|} {\footnotesize\verb|HI|} 




  • For the original source, \verb|>| should have been $>$. I updated the source example.
  • Following Willie's answer, I modified the command

    \newcommand{\result}[2]{{\color{#1}$>$} {\footnotesize\texttt{#2}}}

It seems fine, but with multicols environment, the footnotesize font, gives some blank spaces before its printing of characters. I attach the screen capture and source code.

It seems that line break causes this problem, by adding \mbox inside the \texttt, I could remove the blank.

\newcommand{\result}[2]{{\color{#1}$>$} {\footnotesize\texttt{\mbox{#2}}}}

enter image description here


\newcommand{\result}[2]{{\color{#1}$>$} {\footnotesize\texttt{\mbox{#2}}}}
\newcommand{\resultp}[2]{{\color{#1}$>$} {\small\texttt{\mbox{#2}}}}


\noindent\result{green}{Welcome to my project! These are your args: (a b c)}\    \result{green}{hello}\    \result{green}{HI my\string_name}
\vskip 2ex
\noindent\resultp{green}{Welcome to my project! These are your args: (a b c)}\    \resultp{green}{hello}\    \resultp{green}{HI}

share|improve this question
Your code won't compile for me: ! LaTeX Error: \verb illegal in command argument. See the LaTeX manual or LaTeX Companion for explanation. Type H <return> for immediate help. ... l.12 \result{red}{HI} – vanden Aug 3 '10 at 23:36
do you still have a question here, or have you resolved it? – Michael Underwood Aug 4 '10 at 3:18
@Michael : Willie gave me enough hints to solve my issue, and I updated my post by answering. Thanks. – prosseek Aug 4 '10 at 3:33
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I am surprised that it even compiled for you (your test example). On my installation

This is pdfTeX, Version
3.1415926-1.40.10 (Web2C 2009) entering extended mode 
LaTeX2e <2009/09/24> 
Babel <v3.8l> and hyphenation patterns for english, usenglishmax, dumylang, noh yphenation, pinyin, bulgarian, russian, ukrainian, basque, french, loaded. 
Document Class: article 2007/10/19 v1.4h Standard LaTeX document class 
(/usr/share/texmf-dist/tex/latex/graphics/dvipsnam.def)) (./test.aux)

! LaTeX Error: \verb illegal in command argument.

See the LaTeX manual or LaTeX Companion for explanation. Type  
H <return>  for immediate help.  ...    

                                                   l.12 \result{red}{HI}

The reason is that \verb is a very fragile command. The suggestion from the TeX faq I linked to is to replace \verb by \texttt, and when you type arguments to the \result as you defined above, use \string to escape the problematic characters. See also 'the string command'.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the answer, and sorry for the trouble. I elaborated the question more, could you check that? And for the \string command, there doesn't seem to be a lot of example. Could you give some more hints? – prosseek Aug 4 '10 at 1:24
Did you look at the Link that I posted? The \string command converts the one character that follows it into a string. So you can type \string_ to get the underscore character, or \string{ to get the open brace character etc. In your revised example you are almost surely using the command wrong. – Willie Wong Aug 4 '10 at 1:28
I see, I missed the link, and I updated the example. – prosseek Aug 4 '10 at 2:06
Ah, you missed the link. That's alright. I hope for your sake you didn't try to Google "LaTeX string". It is one of those seemingly harmless combinations of words... – Willie Wong Aug 4 '10 at 9:17
I happen to google "LaTeX string", and I saw a bunch of nasty pictures. – prosseek Aug 4 '10 at 16:33

You could also define your own \verb-like command using xparse:


  \textcolor{#1}{\(>\)} \texttt{\footnotesize#2}}





share|improve this answer

With a modicum of coercion, the verbatim package can be made to almost do what you want. The "almost" is because you have to use an environment instead of a command.



\def\verbatim@processline{\the\verbatim@line\ }%
  \let\do\@makeother \dospecials


Here are your results:


A load of *@&$!)%*#$


In short, I looked a the definitions in the verbatim package and stripped out everything that looked as though it might insert a newline, thus making the verbatim environment work on one line instead of several and meaning that it doesn't start or end with new lines. Then I put this inside a new environment so that the old \begin{verbatim} ... \end{verbatim} construct still works as it should.

Caveat: Anything extra on the line \end{result} gets discarded (LaTeX warns about this). So if you want to take out the \noindent from the result environment and have the input more like in the example in the question, the code will have to be:

A load of *@&$!)%*#$
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.