Plain TeX is Knuth's original default format for TeX documents.

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Behavior of \\ in Plain TeX

According to \show, the pre-defined control sequence \\ is supposed expand to its argument without the suffix "pt": This is TeX, Version 3.1415926 (TeX Live 2012/Debian) **\show\\ > \\=macro: ...
15
votes
1answer
677 views

A center environment for plain TeX

In TeX, one can center a single line of text with \centerline. How would one implement a center justification environment for a single long line of text in plain TeX without the addition of any ...
14
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2answers
1k views

From LaTeX with pdflatex to plain TeX

I've always wanted to try plain TeX instead of LaTeX. I can use plain but I'm not able to use correctly the fonts and I'm not able to use the french hyphenation. I would to know how to do this with ...
13
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4answers
2k views

Hard whitespace

I am using plainTeX and would like to typeset some (python) code examples. Switching to \tt gets me partway there, but I (obviously) need the whitespace respected. Is there a trick for doing this? The ...
11
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3answers
558 views

How do I make a long underscore in Plain TeX?

I have looked at this question as well as here and here but I cannot figure out how to produce a long underscore in plain TeX, as in the following example. Date _____________________________ The ...
7
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1answer
166 views

plain xetex page labels

there are some PDF files that some reader displays the printed page number as the current page number. I also saw, that this can be achieved in latex with hyperref package. what I'm look for is ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Plain TeX vs. LaTeX Macros

I was wondering what's the (advantage) of doing something one way over the other in different systems. For instance, I read that users of plain TEX should use \def whenever they want to create a new ...
5
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2answers
625 views

Implicit \hfil at the end of each paragraph?

Why do Alpha \hfil\ Omega\par and Alpha \hfil\ Omega not flush "Omega" to the right?
3
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2answers
216 views

How to print a row of points (or any other character) in plain TeX?

I need something like the following ...
2
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2answers
195 views

Extracting content of .tex files

Is there any GUI fast way for extracting content of .tex files? (Stripping all tags and meta-data) Among TeX editors which one support export content to plain .txt file? (I found some command-line ...
27
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it actually illegal to TeX `texbook.tex`? [closed]

At the top of texbook.tex, it is written: % This manual is copyright (C) 1984 by the American Mathematical Society. % All rights are reserved! % The file is distributed only for people to see its ...
20
votes
2answers
593 views

plain TeX theory, \afterassignment

Is there a real difference between \newcount\acounter \def\dosomething{\afterassignment\dosomesecret\acounter=} \def\dosomesecret{I do something with \the\acounter} and \newcount\acounter ...
18
votes
2answers
327 views

How can I improve my “hands-on”/ “working” knowledge of TeX's low/middle/high/higher -level control sequences?

I am not an experienced TeX/LaTeX user. I know just about enough to write my thesis. As my interest grows, I'd like to continue improving on my TeX/LaTeX knowledge, more specifically, my "working" ...
10
votes
4answers
227 views

How can I check whether two control sequences have the same name?

I'd like to test whether two custom control sequences have the same name, regardless of what they expand to or whether they're actually defined. For instance, \ifsamecsname\Foo\Foo should be ...
9
votes
3answers
481 views

Plain TeX and underscores

We have a bunch of scripts to generate invoices for our customers. It creates plain TeX files from CSV and then PDF files (using the pdftex program). This "black box" was created by one of our former ...
8
votes
2answers
484 views

Conversion of tex to latex

Quite surprisingly for me, I did not find valuable information on how to convert plain TeX files to LaTeX documents. There is a TeX.SX question, but it was answered with a particular solution. I ...
7
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3answers
238 views

\csname error in defining in loop

In following snippet I try to use TeX programming to define commands \Ab, \Bb, \Cb and so on. Strangely, I get Missing \endcsname inserted error. What is my mistake? I hadn't read TeXBook, so it is a ...
7
votes
1answer
414 views

Multiple vertical rules along text – by using \leaders?

I want to draw individual vertical rules on the left side of consecutive paragraphs/vertical boxes covering the vertical skips. In my case for every paragraph/vertical box, there can be different ...
7
votes
1answer
5k views

“Missing \cr inserted”, but it looks to me like it's already there!

I'm trying to create a Plain TeX macro for typesetting two-column proofs with automatic step-numbering and step cross-referencing; currently, the "best" I have is: \newcount\stepno \def\twocols#1{% ...
6
votes
2answers
202 views

What's the way to change the size of a math symbol in plain TeX?

I find that \diamondsuit in ntxsy is too small, so I want to define a macro that will enlarge it and take into account the current font size being used. To illustrate below, I have a partial attempted ...
6
votes
1answer
123 views

How to draw borders around page contents

During learning, while conducting different experiments, it's useful to see actual page borders. So I wrote the code which does this and would like to know whether it is the proper way to accomplish ...
6
votes
2answers
196 views

Plain TeX: Line up some text boxes

Forgive me for asking what is probably a trivial question. I'm working through the books but always seem to be confused when I sit down at the computer. I'm using plain TeX. I have three ...
5
votes
2answers
215 views

Incorrect encoding in PDF outlines

I'm trying to get encoding in PDF outlines right. The problem is that the letter in the outline must be Ъ - the same as on the page - but it is Ú. dvitype shows this: xxx 'pdf: outline 1 << ...
5
votes
2answers
299 views

%& magic line has no effect

I am using the %&format magic line in a plain TeX file. On older versions of TeX the result produces the expected results. On TeXLive 2009 (under Gentoo), however, this line has no effect. When I ...
4
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2answers
95 views

How to type Unicode in plain TeX

In plain TeX, \char<int> produces character with decimal code <int>. Similarly, \char'<oct> \char"<hex> produce character with octal code<oct>, and hexadecimal code ...
3
votes
1answer
79 views

How to attach files in LuaTeX in pdf mode?

I have this code to attach files via dvipdfmx, and it works well: \def\attach#1{% \special{pdf:fstream @file (#1)}% \special{pdf:ann bbox 0 0 10 10 <</Type /Annot /Subtype /FileAttachment ...
16
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1answer
334 views

What does `\ ` exactly do?

In the The Not So Short Introduction to LATEX2e - Version 5.01, April 06, 2011 it is suggested that: A backslash in front of a space generates a space that will not be enlarged. (page 39) It ...
15
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2answers
739 views

What is “plain TeX”?

I occasionally see a statement that plain TeX is not the same as TeX, because plain TeX is already a format. What is plain TeX, and what is the difference to TeX proper? Some answers are here (The ...
13
votes
1answer
164 views

How can we detect that we are right after display math mode? (for vertical spacing)

I need a "\smartmedskip" feature/macro in plain TeX which is in usual identical to \medskip, however, if we are right after display math mode, then it should be just "disabled", i.e. it should then ...
13
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3answers
1k views

Examples of list macros in plain TeX

I'm writing macros to typeset lists in plain TeX. Please can you suggest some examples of macros for numbered lists? I'd prefer examples from "living code", from CTAN packages and so on. But any kind ...
10
votes
1answer
412 views

Problems understanding definition of \newif

Reading http://profs.sci.univr.it/~gregorio/introtex.pdf, I have come across the definition of \newif on page 75: \def\newif#1{\@ifdefinable{#1}{\@newif#1}} \def\@newif#1{\count@\escapechar ...
9
votes
3answers
459 views

How TeX creates DVI without reading TFM file?

My setup: TeX Live, version 2014.20141024-2 (packaged with Debian 8 Jessie) Consider test.tex A \bye $ tex -ini '\input plain \dump' This is TeX, Version 3.14159265 (INITEX) ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there a counterpart/antidote for \obeylines?

The \obeylines command tells TeX to preserve line endings, which is useful for poetry and various other things. I can limit the effect of \obeylines by wrapping it in a scope, like so: {\obeylines ...
8
votes
2answers
177 views

Plain TeX section number in margin

I want to typeset the number for the section in the margin. Here's an MWE of what I'm starting from. % --- Fonts ------------------------------------------------ \font\0="Roboto Condensed Light" at ...
7
votes
2answers
144 views

Match number sign inside plain TeX loop

In order to strip comments from code I would like to input from a file into TeX, I am using the following loop \documentclass{article} \def\getfirst#1#2\relax{#1} \begin{document} ...
6
votes
3answers
286 views

Non-latin characters with plain TeX

What would it take to output non-latin letters (e.g. cyrillic letters) to a document using just plain TeX (i.e. without using "third-party" macro packages such as LaTeX)?
6
votes
1answer
395 views

Reversing the effect of \nopagenumbers in plain TeX

I'm happy with Plain TeX's page-numbering format, except that I want to turn it off for the first few pages of my book. I can do this with the \nopagenumbers macro, but is there a macro with the ...
5
votes
1answer
78 views

How is a page produced in the output routine?

Compare this \nonstopmode \tracingonline=1 \showboxdepth=\maxdimen \showboxbreadth=\maxdimen \output={\shipout\vbox{ \unvbox255 \showlists }} \nopagenumbers \noindent A \bye and this ...
5
votes
1answer
241 views

How to create a page with two columns that can span pages to achieve my special goal?

I am a Chinese plain TeX user and also a beginner. Now I encounter a hard question, that is I must write some numbered English paragraphs at the left column and its corresponding Chinese ...
5
votes
1answer
277 views

TeX4ht and Plain TeX

According to tug.org TeX4ht can be used with Plain TeX. I've tried the commands listed in the site above, but nothing works! All I can have is a simple text file, with .html extension, but without any ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Non-vertically-centered TikZ matrix of nodes cell content

How can you make the matrix cell contents aligned to the top? I am using plain format with XeTeX. \input tikz \usetikzlibrary{matrix} $$\hbox{I'd like for the cells to be top-aligned}\cases{ ...
4
votes
1answer
161 views

How to replace CM fonts with ones compatible with XeTeX (in amsppt.sty)?

I would like to try to patch amsppt.sty AMSTeX style file to make it usable with XeTeX and non-Latin languages (Cyrillic). It looks like i need to replace the following CM fonts or font families with ...
4
votes
2answers
67 views

Updating glue after changing width of a box

I need to change the width of a saved box and want it to look as if it was constructed at that width. For example, this centers A in a 4cm wide box: \hbox to 4cm{\hfil A\hfil} But this centers B ...
4
votes
2answers
237 views

How can I get interline spacing to ignore a vbox? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Make an invisible vbox I want to insert a \vbox between paragraphs, but I do not want it to affect interline spacing. I'm using Plain TeX. Here is my MWE: \input plain ...
4
votes
1answer
157 views

What's special about \def\\ vs. \def\mksp?

In the following definitions, \\ captures a space token but \mksp does not. \documentclass{article} \begin{document} {\def\\{\global\let\sp= } \\ } {\def\mksp{\global\let\spx= } \mksp } \show\sp ...
3
votes
2answers
113 views

“Wedding” font in plain TeX

I have a plain-TeX source file ready to go that makes a nice wedding program. But I need a script font for the headings. Something like Windows Edwardian Script (Open Type) which comes in a file ...
3
votes
1answer
222 views

Can I write a macro for placing a vertical, breakable rule along arbitrary paragraphs without an output routine?

I answered a question last week about creating a continuous but breakable rule next to an arbitrary number of paragraphs in Plain TeX. My solution gathered the paragraphs to rule in a vbox; my output ...
3
votes
2answers
904 views

setting \tabskip in a repeating \halign preamble

Is it somehow possible to set the \tabskip glue to zero for the first and last column in a repeated \halign? Eg. % tabskip=0pt \halign{&#\hfil\tabskip1em plus1em minus.5em\cr ...
2
votes
1answer
36 views

Why xdvi does not correct heights from pfb files?

In your working directory: $ tftopl cmr10.tfm > cmr10.pl Change cmr10.pl n order the character A has different width and B has different height: --- cmr10.pl.orig +++ cmr10.pl @@ -466,7 +466,7 ...
2
votes
1answer
227 views

How to typeset a vbox to a grid in plain TeX?

NOTE: update below I know this is a heavily debated subject, which is almost impossible in plain TeX, but what I want is merely a vbox with a height that's a multiple of baselineskip. Searching the ...