{syntax} is about the principles and construction of the (La)TeX language.

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328
votes
8answers
34k views

Why is \[ … \] preferable to $$ … $$?

I've heard that you should use \[ ... \] for displayed equations instead of $$ ... $$, but why is that? I'd assumed that it's so that you can more easily tell which are starting and which are ending ...
195
votes
4answers
11k views

What is the use of percent signs (%) at the end of lines?

I see that the code in many packages and examples contains percent signs % at the end of (many) lines. What are they used for? Do they affect the parsing of those lines?
192
votes
9answers
17k views

Are \( and \) preferable to dollar signs for math mode?

Along the lines of Why is \[ ... \] preferable to $$?, what reasons are there (if any) to favor \( ... \) over $ ... $?
96
votes
2answers
30k views

When to use \par and when \\

What is the difference between \par and \\ and when should I use \par instead of \\?
28
votes
1answer
1k views

] inside an optional argument

I accidentally discovered (here) that a closing square bracket within an optional argument delimited by [ ] can cause problems. Here is example code illustrating the issue: \documentclass{article} ...
49
votes
2answers
22k views

How should I type author names in a bib file?

Can someone please explain in a clear and concise way how am I supposed to enter the names of authors in a BibTeX file? I have entries with something like @article{someid, author = {Juan A. ...
54
votes
6answers
14k views

Syntax Coloring in LaTeX

Is there any way to include Python code in a LaTeX file and automatically color its syntax? Is it possible to do syntax coloring with any other language? If yes what packages can I use to do that?
87
votes
4answers
117k views

When should one use \verb and when \texttt

Sometimes people here use \verb!A SHORT COMMAND! and sometimes \textt{A SHORT COMMAND}. I'm unsure when to use which. Are there any guidelines or arguments for \verbatim vs. \texttt?
38
votes
8answers
4k views

Why do people use unnecessary braces?

I often see people creating new macros where the macro token is surrounded by braces. For example, \newcommand{\foo}{foo} This is unnecessary and I find the extra braces make it harder to read. Why ...
22
votes
3answers
18k views

Reference name of description list item in LaTeX

(Repost from Stack Overflow) I'd like to refer to a description list item by name instead of number. To that effect, I've added labels to each item, but when referencing them I only get the name of ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

How to make a real backslash (escape) character?

I just want a good way to make a backslash character (or whatever character(s) any given format uses as escape characters), suitable to \write to a file or pass to a pdfTeX primitive. Let me ...
3
votes
2answers
770 views

Using htlatex with tikz-dependency

I am trying to generate an html file from a tex file using htlatex. The htlatex works well with simple tikz pictures, but it has problem with the pictures (trees) drawn with tikz-dependency package. ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Spaces in files names in \input or \includegraphics

I'm going crazy... I have a file I want to include which path is C:\Users\Matthieu\Documents\Folder withOneSpace\myFile.tex. (As you can see with the \, I'm on windows actually) I tried the ...
28
votes
3answers
14k views

Which package can be used to write BNF grammars?

I googled and found two packages: mdwtools bnf Unfortunately, both of them have extremely poor documentation. There are only one to two examples for each one, which makes it hard to follow. ...
89
votes
4answers
4k views

Techniques and packages to keep up with good practices

Question What techniques and packages are there to keep up with good practices? What I already know I already know of the following packages for this kind of purpose: \RequirePackage[l2tabu,...
20
votes
7answers
5k views

How to convert mediawiki syntax to latex?

I think I've seen a script for converting mediawiki syntax to Latex. Also, in case there are more than one solution for this, it might be nice to summarize them here.
38
votes
3answers
6k views

What is the difference in citing/referencing with or without tilde?

I've seen examples referencing a table as follows: Table~\ref{table:overview} shows an overview of all the elements. What is the use of the tilde in front of \ref or \cite and when do you have to ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the deal about these semantic vs syntactic commands?

I keep hearing people on this site talking about "semantic" vs "syntactic" commands and that the "semantic" ones are somehow better. I don't really get what they are talking about, could you explain ...
12
votes
2answers
243 views

Can spaces at the beginning of a line ever cause problems?

To structure my sourcecode, I often use spaces for padding: \newcommand{\st}[1]{% \begin{tabular}{lr} \emph{Student} & \emph{Score}\\ #1 \end{tabular}% } Can this ever cause ...
36
votes
2answers
26k views

How to highlight Python syntax in LaTeX Listings \lstinputlistings command

I am using package listings to import my Python source code into my LaTeX document. I use the command \lstinputlistings. I have a Python source like class MyClass(Yourclass): def __init__(self, ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

Typesetting LaTeX Source Code with the listings package

I am writing some documentation for a LaTeX package, in which I am going to be including some example LaTeX code. What is the best way to typeset that code? I know I could just use verbatim, but it ...
41
votes
2answers
45k views

How do I put text over symbols?

This is difficult for me to explain, but how do I put words over a symbol? For instance, I want to add words over an equal sign. Anyone know the command/syntax for that? Also adding ^ doesn't cut it.....
16
votes
3answers
800 views

Short version of emph?

Is there something like a short version of \emph? What I want is something comparable to \lstShortInline or what the shortvrb provides, just not for the \verb command but for the \emph command instead....
37
votes
1answer
25k views

\varepsilon vs. \epsilon

I cannot remember anyone writing the letter epsilon in any other way than \varepsilon in any math class; but in LaTeX \epsilon and \varepsilon are different symbols. Do any of you know why there are ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

How to add custom C++ keywords to be recognized by Minted?

I have defined several structures and types in a C++ project. I have to write some documentation for this code, and I use the minted package to typeset my code. I would like to be able to add some ...
25
votes
2answers
909 views

The rhyme and reason of function argument syntax (brackets versus braces)

I'd like to gain some intuition as to the choices of brackets versus braces in function arguments. As in [...yadda...] versus {...yadda...}. I'm a long-time user of LaTeX but am poorly educated as to ...
22
votes
3answers
887 views

Why are text format commands used inside braces?

Most commands in Latex are written with the arguments inside braces following the command: \command{arguments}. But text formatting options, like \em, or \scriptsize are usually written inside the ...
16
votes
1answer
477 views

Are there guidelines on how to read commented sources of LaTeX packages?

I'm trying to read source2e.pdf (texdoc source2e on the command line), but I'm stumped. It seems a rather mysterious tome to me. As I understand from this answer about what arguments a command expects,...
15
votes
2answers
673 views

New language - hyphenation

I'm working in a project (Ubuntu Manual, if you're curious) which requires TeX to create a PDF document. But when we have almost all translated, I've found that there wasn't an hyphenation pattern for ...
15
votes
2answers
501 views

Why does `x_\text y` work?

As far as I have understand the tokenization in LaTeX, x_\text y will be split up into x _ \text y Now the _ will consume/bind to the next token. However, \text takes an argument as well. If _ ...
24
votes
2answers
564 views

Backward definition of (La)TeX commands

Again and again I see, that TeXnicians define commands and do several things with them in the reverse order, I would do this as amateur. See this example: In his answer to scrpage2: Three "marks&...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

Use column-separator & (ampersand) inside \newenvironment

I'd like to define a grammar environment which basically wraps a tabular environment. Inside the grammar environment I'd like to use an environment called production to insert rows. Example: \...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Ruby highlighter for LaTeX

I'm looking for a package that can highlight ruby source code in LaTeX. I've found this thread: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1966425/source-code-highlighting-in-latex But it is from 2009, and I'...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

How to highlight (colorize) the syntax of configuration files (like .ini or .conf)?

I need to highlight the syntax of files containing lines with parameters and their values in LaTeX. Let's say I have a following file: # some comment parameter1 = value of parameter1 parameter2 = ...
4
votes
2answers
288 views

alternative syntax of subscripts using tex

I would like to sometimes write subscripts using different syntax, instead of $u_{xx} blahblah$ write something like $u⎵xx blah blah$, or even $u⎵xx+blah blah$ where either space following the x ...
3
votes
2answers
476 views

When to use trailing backslashes

I am learning to use the puthesis document class. I have the following code: \documentclass[iupuiece,thesis]{puthesis} \begin{document} \title{The Theory of Everything} \campus{West Lafayette} \...
3
votes
1answer
334 views

Syntax: De-highlighting Certain Commands in TexShop

There seem to be commands of various quality. A command like \section has some structural effects and differs considerably from commands like \dots or author-defined shortcuts (for example \eg for "...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Syntax highlighting for different programming languages [duplicate]

In my paper I want to include some source codes with colored sytax. For syntax highlighting I use the listings package: \lstset{frame=tb, language={[Visual]Basic}, aboveskip=3mm, belowskip=3mm, ...
21
votes
6answers
1k views

LaTeX Markup Options?

I was wondering what prevented the implementation of a MarkDown system in (La)TeX? I know that pandoc does a conversion of MarkDown with extra features to LaTeX. I also know that many are happy with ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

LaTeX for loop \@for

In user700902's answer to this thread, a for-loop with the syntax \@for is used. How does this syntax work? I tried searching about for-loops on other websites, but I could only find something like ...
13
votes
1answer
793 views

Should two pictures side by side have 0.5 or 0.49999 textwidth?

Two pictures should be next to each other. What is their perfect width? Is 0.5 + 0.5 = 1 for TeX, or does the compiler need a tiny space between the objects? Should \includegraphics[width=0.5\...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the difference between \fboxsep=1cm and \setlength{\fboxsep}{1cm}?

Question has been written above.
7
votes
1answer
552 views

Clear and readable syntax style for tikz trees with edge labels and options

I'm fairly new to tikz and TeX but I don't have a problem writing the code for the tree. I just would like to have a human readable tree. Here's a minimal expample of the tree without edge labels or ...
5
votes
1answer
368 views

Typesetting the “long division” in LaTeX

How can I write the following in LaTeX? The traditional division in LaTeX which I've not considered before.
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Syntax of TeX/LaTeX

{} and [] do some kind of grouping, and comma seems to be special as well. Being a programmer I find it frustrating to use Latex on incantation-only basis. I would like to know how does it exactly ...
15
votes
1answer
235 views

How do I insert a tie (~, non-breaking space, tilde) under expl3 syntax?

I need to define a token list of the form \tl_new:N \g_silly_tl \tl_set:Nn \g_silly_tl { Text ~ and ~ a ~ tie:?? } How do I do this? More generally, is there a reference where one can see how ...
12
votes
2answers
5k views

Why \land instead of \and?

I recently asked the logical and character in TeX and got \land as the answer. My question is, why \land, and why not simple \and? I mean, does l here refer to something technical, or historical, or ...
9
votes
2answers
573 views

What is the role of an unescaped circumflex or hat character “ ^ ”?

Is there any use for the unescaped ^ in (La)TeX, when not in math mode? If not, I couldn't see why it's necessary to escape it.
8
votes
2answers
309 views

How do I split a command into several lines and have LaTeX read it as only one line?

For example, I have a command which has a lot of options: \documentclass[option1,option2,option3,option4,option5,option6,option7]{article} I want to split it to several lines so I could read the ...
7
votes
1answer
862 views

How to use caption and label in grammar environment?

I can't manage to add a caption and a label to my grammar environment: \documentclass{article} \usepackage{syntax} \grammarindent 80pt \begin{document} \begin{grammar} <condition> ::= "$" &...