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

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8
votes
2answers
237 views

Matrix column spacing

I am using a matrix in Plain TeX, and the spacing between columns is too large. Since I'm also changing the paper size, the matrix runs off the side of the page. A minimal example is \input eplain ...
7
votes
1answer
108 views

Formatting Eplain Table of Contents Entry

I need to define a macro for formatting an entry in a list of tables: \def\toctableentry#1#2#3{...} where the first argument is the table caption, the second is the table number, and the third is ...
1
vote
1answer
131 views

Harvmac, Amstex

I am writing a file with Plain TeX using the harvmac macro. I have always used LaTeX until now. Two related questions about harvmac Vs. mathematical fonts: I tried adding \input amstex to get the ...
6
votes
3answers
373 views

Creating my own \tableofcontents in plain TeX

I'd like to define my own table of contents in TeX (not LaTeX, so without packages) to have a fine control on what goes there, how the numbers are displayed, etc. Basically what I would like is to ...
23
votes
4answers
1k views

How to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in plain TeX?

I find many cases where I need to calculate many numbers, using adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing, but it would save much time if TeX could simply compute these for me. This is a sample ...
13
votes
1answer
144 views

Number Sets in Plain TeX

Okay, I know how to enter the standard number sets such as Z, Q, R, etc. into LaTeX, but how can I do this in plain TeX? I ask because I can't seem to find it anywhere, and really need them in the ...
18
votes
1answer
371 views

How to check if a variable contains a word in plain TeX?

I have a variable that contains a long list of keywords, e.g.: \keywords{computers, business, biology, fine art, literature, zoology} I need to make an if-then statement that checks for the ...
5
votes
1answer
305 views

Changing page margins in {pdf-,Xe-}TeX

In TeX, changing the \hsize and the \vsize changes the main text size and the page size of the dvi output. When I compile a document with pdftex or xetex, the page size remains at A4. How can I change ...
7
votes
1answer
86 views

Getting the page breaks right for a \beginsection macro

I've found this code in the question No indent in the first paragraph in a section in Plain TeX \def\mysection#1{% \goodbreak \vskip2\baselineskip \noindent #1\par \nobreak ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

Left aligning a displayed equation in plain TeX

This one seems to be a rather simple question but right now I just run out of ideas. I simply want to left align a displayed equation using plain TeX, that is, I want the equation to start from the ...
9
votes
1answer
157 views

Multilevel bullets

I want to write something that I could use for multilevel bullets, for example: I. Title Subtitle a. sub-subtitle ... In LaTex I got \def\startitems { \begingroup \parindent\z@ ...
7
votes
2answers
133 views

Append a token list to \everymath

I've mimicked Donald Knuth by setting | as a verbatim delimiter. To give it its normal meaning in math mode, I've set \everymath{\catcode`\|=12} \everydisplay{\catcode`\|=12} However I'd like to ...
7
votes
1answer
157 views

TeX question: how to switch between languages?

I am using TeX, with the macro package AmS-TeX. I'd like to use it with the Italian language, so that words are hyphenated the right way (e.g. the Italian word 'distante' should be broken as ...
3
votes
1answer
50 views

help about macro \uparrowfill

Is there in plain TeX a macro similar to \leftarrowfill but vertically oriented, something like \uparrowfill? I know it exists in LaTeX, but I'm interested only in plain TeX.
4
votes
1answer
163 views

Plain TeX macro to read a document in Pig Latin

Say I have a file eng.tex: \def\encounter (#1){Hello, #1!} \encounter (World) \bye I convert it to Pig Latin and save it as pig.tex: \efday\encounterway (#1){Ellohay, #1!} \encounterway (Orldway) ...
11
votes
1answer
158 views

XeTeXpicfile in vertical mode

Given a minimal like \line{% \vtop{\hsize=.6\hsize Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse tempor lectus sit amet laoreet convallis. Quisque at est lacinia, porttitor ...
6
votes
2answers
257 views

\hrule with indents in Plain TeX

I am trying to learn the 'metal' of TeX after 20 years of using higher level packages, such as LaTeX. In my test document I have an indented block representing simple recipes. I've created this with ...
5
votes
1answer
125 views

Plain TeX: missing symbol

I've tried to compile (both pdfTeX and XeTeX) simple code: ☺ \bye But in result I have a plain page, without anything. What's wrong?
10
votes
1answer
130 views

TeX doesn't recognize built-in control sequences?

I'm trying to learn to build things from the ground-up with TeX (not LaTeX---I've used LaTeX before, so I know how easy a solution "\usepackage{amsthm}+\begin{theorem}" is) and I'm trying to build my ...
5
votes
1answer
195 views

Using \show in nonstopmode causes TeXmaker to raise false alarms. Any fix?

I'm currently reading the TeXbook, and I use \show a lot to see how Knuth defined plain-TeX macros in terms of TeX primitives. For instance, to have access to the definition of \centerline, I would ...
6
votes
1answer
438 views

PSTricks and Tikz in plain TeX

I would create both pstricks and tikz picture in my plain TeX documents. If I try, I get an error, maybe caused by the use of the xcolor package. The error is the following: \\color@black ...
5
votes
2answers
278 views

How can I use plain TeX with TeXnicCenter or another IDE?

Currently I use TeCnicCenter and MiKTeX with LaTeX on a Windows machine. I am contemplating using plain TeX for certain purposes. I would like to know how to use TeXnicCenter with plain TeX. I like ...
8
votes
4answers
229 views

Special macro definition (2opt, 1mand)

How can you define a macro \cmd in TeX primitives using two optional arguments (and a mandatory one) that fulfills the property that calling \cmd[opt]{mand} is equivalent to \cmd[][opt]{mand}. Yet, I ...
5
votes
1answer
594 views

pitchfork in plain TeX

I was asked the following question: How do I get get \pitchfork in plain TeX? He tried \input mssymb and \input amssymb but neither works. More generally, is it possible to get ams symbols to ...
6
votes
4answers
160 views

How to write a TeX macro that accepts a number or a \count register as argument?

What's the most simple way, in plain TeX, to define a \macro that can be used as: \macro{10} \macro{\mycount} such that I can then assign the number to a \count and manipulate it? Note: ...
18
votes
1answer
274 views

Plain TeX online documentation/references?

I am a non-beginner plain TeX user, mostly typesetting cheat sheets for computer science. I own The TeXbook and have seen some TeX manuals for the compilers, such as pdfTeX manuals and so forth. My ...
5
votes
1answer
180 views

Separating a decimal in any format into integer and fractional parts in basic LaTeX

Note: I've separated this question from what was becoming a very tangled discussion. I know egreg already has a solution, so I'll just wait until he posts it here. Question: The solution has to take ...
9
votes
2answers
218 views

Still having difficulty with use of `\expandafter`

Firstly, my apologies for any previous confusion, I've separated out various questions onto distinct pages. This problem came up in the context of trying to split a decimal number. Good solutions to ...
23
votes
1answer
738 views

Use of \relax after \ifnum … \fi construction

I'm reading Malcolm Clark's A Plain TeX Primer. On page 111 there's an exercise to define a macro that prints the current time. I've reproduced Clark's answer below: \newcount\minleft ...
6
votes
2answers
869 views

Left-aligned display math mode

How could one achieve, as primitively as possible, left-aligned display math so that \abovedisplayshortskip would still work as intended? It is my understanding that one can achieve left-alignment ...
6
votes
2answers
311 views

What is the simplest yet complete question to assess whether or not a person has a strong skill in plain TeX?

If I have to hire a person for doing a plain TeX related jobs, what question should I ask to the person? I want the question to be as simple as possible and it has to accommodate the maximum number of ...
18
votes
2answers
433 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
213 views

How to scale/resize a box in plain TeX?

How can I resize (anamorphically) the contents of a box in plain TeX, that is, give it new width, height and depth? \setbox0=\hbox{Hello!} \copy0 % output at orig. size % % code which resizes box 0 ...
5
votes
1answer
175 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
149 views

How to rigidly chop long lines in plain TeX

I am using plain TeX and want to typeset an appendix that contains several hundred URLs. When a URL goes past the right margin, I would like TeX to stop printing (i.e. not carry into the margin, not ...
8
votes
1answer
277 views

Math symbols in plain TeX

I would be much obliged if you cold tell me how can I make an arc over a letter (or a group of letters) in TeX. The command in LaTeX is \stackrel{\frown}{AB} but in TeX it proves to be useless. ...
9
votes
2answers
132 views

How to use \pdfcolorstack?

Consider this code: \chardef\Color=\pdfcolorstackinit page direct{0 g} \pdfcolorstack \Color push {1 0 0 rg 1 0 0 RG} red \pdfcolorstack \Color pop {} black \hrule height 1pt width 50pt \bye I try ...
5
votes
1answer
114 views

Break between words when line becomes too full

This example: \font\standard="Arial Unicode MS" at 10pt \standard \newlanguage\nohyphens \language=\nohyphens \hsize = 150mm \parindent = 0pt \vbox{ \setbox2=\hbox{\hskip12pt‣\hskip3dd} ...
7
votes
1answer
302 views

What is the purpose of \crcr in an \halign preamble?

I know that the point of \crcr is to be a kind of "backup \cr" in \halign/\valign, in that it only adds a \cr if it wouldn't result in two in a row. Nonetheless it seems to find its way into the ...
7
votes
1answer
73 views

I need an hrule, but not when at the top of the page

I have a multi-page document that has many small sections split with \hrule lines. Occasionally a section will end immediately before a page break, and so the next section will begin right at the top ...
13
votes
1answer
427 views

How can I achieve having logical page numbers shown in acrobat reader?

I am using (plain) TeX (not LaTeX or any other ...TeX). I want a pdf file made from my TeX-source/output that is able to have acrobat reader shown logical page numbers. My document’s preface page ...
43
votes
7answers
3k views

Reasons to use plain TeX

Given the active development in LaTeX and ConTeXt, and how LaTeX insulates the writer from typographical details and ConTeXt gives the user extensive control over formatting thus taking useful ...
4
votes
1answer
79 views

Penalty inserted by output routine

I am using plain TeX (actually plain e-TeX) processed by a relatively recent version of MiKTeX (pdfTeX). Consider the following fragment of code that can be processed with plain TeX: \noindent A\par ...
6
votes
0answers
58 views

Why importing pgfplots changes behavior of \vfill? [duplicate]

When I import pgfplots, it affects behavior of \vfill. The following code works as expected: This should be at the top of the page. \vfill This should be at the bottom of the page. \eject \end ...
46
votes
2answers
2k views

Electronic version of Knuth's “TeXbook”?

I have a printed copy of the TeXbook (from D.E. Knuth) at home. Now that I travel a lot, I don't want to take my library with me every time. Question: Is there a legal way to obtain (=purchase) a PDF ...
7
votes
1answer
733 views

Page Layout in plain tex

I'm trying to start using plain tex (in fact, the pdftex that comes with texlive2010) to write a document but I'm having some trouble with the page layout. My question is at which point is it decided ...
15
votes
1answer
222 views

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: ...
6
votes
1answer
131 views

Using end-of-line delimiter in plain Tex macro

How is it possible to use the end-of-line character as a macro parameter ? I would like something along the lines of : \def\mymacro#1\endlinechar{Content:#1} \mymacro First content \mymacro Second ...
17
votes
2answers
326 views

Is there a “smoking gun” to distinguish between ConTeXt and plain TeX

I'm writing a tool to streamline some typesetting jobs, and I am having trouble distinguishing between plain Tex and ConTeXt. LaTeX is straightforward to recognise by the \documentclass command (or ...
14
votes
3answers
621 views

Is there a printable version of a reference manual for all TeX primitives?

Everywhere in the TeX community, I see suggestions like \parskip, \obeylines, \parindent, etc. I'd be surprised not to find them even in the most basic LaTeX packages. So I figured they must be deeper ...