{tex-core} is for questions that are independent of formats and macro packages. Such questions usually relate to low-level TeX programming or the behaviour of TeX at an underlying level. Note that even Plain TeX is a format in itself; for questions about it, use {plain-tex}.

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13
votes
2answers
565 views

Can the PostScript language be used to fully replace TeX? [closed]

THE POSTSCRIPT® LANGUAGE is a simple interpretive programming language with powerful graphics capabilities. ... Because of the importance of text in most applications, the PostScript ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

How to create a format file with initex to speed up processing time?

I have a file called matteo.tex which contains lots of macros. I'd like to create a format file with initex so that, every time tex processes a file that contains some of matteo.tex macros, it ...
3
votes
0answers
72 views

TeX programmer needed - or assistance with page dimensions and crop marks

is there a place where i can find/hire a TeX programmer to adjust TeX files that were set up for us in the 80s? I can make minor edits, but things like page dimensions and crop mark locations are ...
41
votes
3answers
738 views

What is a token?

Please forgive such a basic question, but I did some Google searching and looked around on this site, and while there are many threads and online resources that involve tokens, I can't seem to find a ...
30
votes
3answers
2k views

Difference between \if and \ifx

I try to understand the subtleties of TeX programming, but it is not always easy. For example, in the following code : \def\first{abc} \def\second{abc} \ifx\first\second OK!\else false \fi I ...
20
votes
1answer
114 views

Is implicit `\relax` in conditionals explained anywhere in the TeXbook?

I have been relying for years on TeX's behavior where, say \if1\fi expands to nothing and \if1\else\fi does the same. In the second case TeX inserts an 'implicit' \relax when it tries to expand \else. ...
13
votes
2answers
959 views

Why (La)TeX can not work with true type fonts?

I know that if one wants to use true type fonts, there are solutions via xelatex or lualatex. My question however is, why it is like so? What is the fundamental difference between latex fonts and ...
2
votes
1answer
31 views

Substitute characters in text-mode with their math equivalent

I'm looking for a TeXway to substitute - (or other characters) while in text-mode with their math equivalent (i.e. $-$) in one environment/group. I'm looking for a 'switch' (\foo # and not \foo{#}). ...
49
votes
5answers
798 views

\let\foo\bar vs \let\foo=\bar

Both uses of the \let primitive often lead to the same result. Is this even true for every case? What was the thought process behind it. And if they are actually not equivalent, are there particular ...
12
votes
4answers
968 views

Making efficient use of \writes

I'm currently trying to compile my thesis using LaTeX and have run up against the old ! No room for a new \write . problem. After some googling it seems the only way to actually resolve this problem ...
11
votes
2answers
938 views

Breakable vboxes

In Plain TeX how can I make vboxes breakable, and can I handle/measure them separately? What I'm trying to do, is that I have a portion of text, that is treated separately (no indention, narrower, ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Compile Tex inside Microsoft C#.net

I know there are some command-line applications like pdflatex that can help me to compile a LaTex document from C#.Net (using the System.Diagnostics.Process class) . I wanna know that what's the ...
5
votes
0answers
85 views

What would be your minimalistic wish list for new TeX programming primitives? [closed]

I have written a lot of 'weird' TeX over the years and have never encountered a situation where TeX's programming environment was completely inadequate. I have, however, often wished for just a little ...
8
votes
1answer
190 views

Expandable, standard TeX only way to compare balanced token lists

Is there a (reasonably) efficient macro that does something similar to \long\def\comparets#1#2{\def\aa{#1}\def\bb{#2}\ifx\aa\bb true\else false\fi} except is expandable (i.e. ...
8
votes
2answers
152 views

Commands that disable everything except the counters

what I'm looking for... I'm looking for a couple a commands, \disableAllButCounters and \enableAll that would do the following: Everything between \disableAllButCounters and \enableAll would ...
4
votes
2answers
48 views

How to store the definition of a command? Or, how to disable locally a command?

what? I would like to "store" the definition of \includegraphics into \something so that the following logics will work: % the following line is what I am looking for store(\includegraphics, ...
0
votes
0answers
32 views

TeXlive on ubuntu - fonts in Plain TeX

I've reinstalled my system recently (now I use ubuntu 12.04) and have problem with fonts in Plain TeX I use texlive and texlive-lang-czechslovak. Apparently with UTF-8 encoding (pdf)csplain is not ...
4
votes
1answer
82 views

Possibility of extending LaTeX capabilities given technology advancements?

As countless questions/answers have noted in the past, LaTeX requires you to compile at least twice when there are references, TOC/LOF, etc. Many of these situations have been documented in the ...
3
votes
0answers
46 views

Would it make sense to write a TeX algorithms implementation in Cairo/Pango, so that it can be used to output anything Cairo can?

What I'd like to do is experiment with a TeX renderer, and write it in a good graphics library, which includes font support, so I ended up with Cairo. Does it make sense to write a typesetting ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

How to make a delimiter out of a character, eg \right!, similar to \right) [duplicate]

I must be missing something simple but could not find \right| and was wondering how to duplicate a matching vertical bar after a formula. Edit My mistake! I forgot \left. . But I guess one can ask ...
14
votes
2answers
175 views

What is the easiest way to modify catcodes in a string?

Assume that a token register contains a sequence of letter tokens, each having a catcode of 12. I want to store in a second token register the same sequence of letter token, altering some catcodes on ...
1
vote
2answers
232 views

Where does LaTeX loose its breath? [closed]

LaTeX is a markup(typesetting) language typically used to typeset books. It has got a huge collection of classes and packages to work with. Now, obviously, LaTeX cannot be compared to Adobe ...
4
votes
1answer
474 views

Faking small caps in XeLaTeX

In the post Fake small caps with XeTeX/fontspec? I have found the following definitions to fake small caps \def\mycommand{\bgroup\obeyspaces\mycommandaux} \def\mycommandaux#1{\mycommandauxii ...
36
votes
4answers
2k views

How does your mind bend \expandafter to its will?

Expansion is often cited as one of the most arcane aspects of TeX, more akin to witchcraft than to something easily picked up by the newcomer. There are many great questions and great answers about ...
4
votes
3answers
142 views

Creating commands with a TeX `for` loop

I am trying to create many different commands based on a single command (essentially a custom header) in a predictable way. Is there a way to do this in TeX/LaTeX? My specific example: I'm writing a ...
3
votes
3answers
182 views

How exactly are TeX and LaTeX related? [duplicate]

I know that plain TeX is the low-level typographical language that describes nearly every aspect of presentation, taking care of things like paragraph breaks, new pages, and the like. I know (well, ...
18
votes
1answer
288 views

Drawbacks of redefining math accents with extra leading {}?

As I discovered through the non-bug latex/4253, TeX has a (mis)feature whereby it ignores braces around a \mathaccent construction: ${a_b}_c$ works, but ${\tilde a_b}_c$ fails with a "Double ...
4
votes
0answers
107 views

Is TeX “typeset complete”? [closed]

Occasionally, I see a question on TeX StackExchange where my first idea is "this can't be possible". Yet there always seems to be a way to do exactly what was asked for in TeX. Can TeX, in principle, ...
1
vote
0answers
61 views

How convert any.text to any.tex file or html file to tex [closed]

I found examples where it is mentioned conversion of tex files with LaTeX, but to get any file to tex I could find. In the Linux console. UTF-8 does not support the Russian alphabet or Arabic. If you ...
18
votes
1answer
296 views

Why can words with hyphen char not be hyphenated?

Assume I have a word like Baden-Württemberg. TeX can't hyphenate any of these two word parts. Why? why isn't it something like this: where the small ticks indicate possible hyphenation points. A ...
43
votes
5answers
2k views

Typesetting limitations of LaTeX

What are the typesetting limitations of LaTeX? In other words what are the things that desktop publishing and word processing programs do better than LaTeX? I am not really interested in things that ...
47
votes
5answers
14k views

How to expand TeX's “main memory size”? (pgfplots memory overload)

I'm compiling one pretty simple LaTeX file with few dozen of pgfplots. Now, I can compile part by part, but am unable to compile it all at once. I really need good precision for all those plots (noise ...
1
vote
0answers
46 views

Reference of Latex/Plain Tex control sequences

I'm looking for a reference of the control sequences defined in Latex and plain Tex similar to this one for the build-in primitives. The Texbook states that there are about 600 macros in plain Tex. ...
15
votes
2answers
545 views

The role of %&latex at the beginning of a source latex file

Could someone please explain what is the role of %&latex which is put in a source LaTeX file before \begin{document} command?
2
votes
1answer
61 views

Count “a” in text not in math mode, verbatim or lstlisting

I would like to count the "a" word in a text and put output to the PDF file, eg. This is a document about processing text in TeX. The document has a new macro but $a = 10$ is not counted, nor ...
10
votes
2answers
75 views

\csname not working as expected

The following code prints ==atname== \def\atname{atname} \def\xxx{name} \def\at{at} ==\csname\at\xxx\endcsname== \bye but this does not: \def\@name{atname} \def\xxx{name} \def\at{@} ...
12
votes
1answer
265 views

Is Knuth's *The TeXBook* complete?

Suppose I want to learn TeX. Then, is The TeXBook a complete source? Does it cover all relevant aspect of TeX? Or is there something worth learning about TeX which is not present there? Does also ...
73
votes
2answers
4k views

What are penalties and which ones are defined?

Very often you can find solutions by changing the penalty. One is widowpenalty. However what are penalties and is there a small list of every defined penalty. There is a German site which does ...
1
vote
1answer
37 views

Pre-compiling with a different syntax [closed]

I am looking for a pre-compiler to introduce a customized syntax into LaTeX. Hope that an example will be worth a thousand words: I would like to compile this \thm The sum $ 1+2+3 is equal to ...
5
votes
2answers
51 views

Different Behaviors Digesting \csname x\endcsname and Digesting \x (expansion issue)

This question has been significantly EDITED, as I learned more of the problem. If I was good, I would be able to create macros with multiple optional arguments, but not only can't I, but in this ...
17
votes
2answers
349 views

Why does this simple \ifx test fail?

This should be easy, but I don't understand why the test below fails... I expected Hurrah! to be printed when the \currentchar count reaches 90 (i.e. the character code of Z). There must be some ...
42
votes
4answers
1k views

What is “expansion”?

I'm relatively new to (La)TeX, but I have a reasonable amount of experience with computational programming languages. Until I began learning (La)TeX, I'd never heard of "expansion"... So, what is ...
2
votes
0answers
78 views

Why does LaTeX impose a memory limit of 8,000,000 and can I circumvent it? [duplicate]

A few people have already asked the question of how to increase the maximum memory LaTeX is allowed to use (see here and here) because it is quite common for LaTeX to run out of memory when using, for ...
20
votes
1answer
465 views

How does a TeX engine read and render the input stream?

I am new to TeX programming and I have not finished reading the TeXBook yet. I need at a glance tutorial about how a TeX engine reads, processes, and produces its output. My mental model as a newbie ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

Obfuscating TeX

Given TeX's system of catcodes, I imagine that one can obfuscate TeX to a remarkable degree. With a view to learning more about the internals of TeX, I ask: How might I go about adding a block of ...
20
votes
1answer
287 views

The \lowercase trick

We have a number of questions or rather answers using (and explaining) the \lowercase “trick”. \begingroup \lccode`\~=`\. \lowercase{\endgroup\def~}#1{foo with #1} However, after reading on ...
4
votes
0answers
55 views

Namespace in luatex

Is it possible from luatex access registers where all names of command sequences are stored. Is it possible to pull out this list of names? I am looking for a way to trace how namespace changes during ...
3
votes
1answer
73 views

What can I do if I want to have a system for compilation to (AMS) LaTeX regarding restrictions to user-defined macros?

So I want to have a system where some user document is fully processed by TeX engine (full TeX engine!) and some data is collected to some helper file (saying "helper" just not make you think it's ...
6
votes
1answer
110 views

debug No room for a new \write problem

I have a template with an extensive documentation. (See TemplateDocumentation.pdf). It compiled several month ago. Now with updated packages it does not compile anymore because of the famous No room ...
72
votes
2answers
6k views

What's new in TeX, version 3.14159265?

The new Knuth TeX has been released in early this month, and its version number is 3.14159265 now. It can be downloaded here. What's new in this release? And a further-more question, where can one ...