{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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8
votes
2answers
84 views

badness for lines without glue?

I want to typeset a special paragraph which have some penalty items inside it but no glue. TeX always produces an overfull box for this paragraph. I have two questions: What is the line badness if ...
27
votes
3answers
262 views

Is there a way to get at the value of \prevdepth from the main vertical list inside the output routine?

To motivate that (admittedly) strange question: When TeX builds a vertical list it keeps track of the depth of the last box added in a special variable called \prevdepth which is used to calculate ...
25
votes
2answers
701 views

Why does a TeX point differ from a Desktop Publishing point?

From this answer to Why does PDFLaTeX and XeLaTeX generates 11.955 font size for 12pt documentclass option?, I found out that PDF and TeX have different ideas about the size of the point (pt). A TeX ...
3
votes
2answers
79 views

How to expand a LaTeX counter when adding to token list

In short: I am trying to append counter values to a token list, but when I print the token list at the end I get the final values of those counters. What I want is the value of the counters at the ...
10
votes
1answer
145 views

Macro parameter delimited by more than one delimiter

TeX user can simply create the macro with a parameter delimited by an arbitrary sequence of tokens. For example \def\macro #1delimiter{...#1...} Is it possible to create a macro with a parameter ...
15
votes
2answers
174 views

\expandafter with \uppercase ordering

As I understand it, the behavior of \expandafter is such that if \a and \b are macros, then \expandafter\a\b will first expand \b then \a. But my understanding must be wrong, because I don't ...
17
votes
4answers
481 views

Scaling a glue in TeX

is there a possibility to scale a glue in TeX? Consider the following example: \newskip\foo \newskip\bar \foo=10pt plus 2pt minus 3pt \bar=2.5\foo\relax \showthe\foo \showthe\bar \bye When ...
1
vote
0answers
61 views

Geometry package in TeX: How to print (or use) the values of geometry properties in document page?

I have problems with geometry package. I would like to find out parameters of my page (layout) such as textwidth, layoutheight etc. I want to have a dynamic layout of my page without number or ...
5
votes
4answers
196 views

A simple line from start of the page to the end

I need on one specific page a line from the very top to the end of the page (it is for folding). Everything I tried so far stopped at the head/foot room. Someone got an idea?
8
votes
3answers
211 views

Arguments possibly delimited by \bgroup and \egroup

I still don't see (and haven't thought about) pros and cons of making available the arguments as \foo{…} or \foo\bgroup …\egroup (or even unbalanced, \bgroup …} and {…\egroup). But I'm curious about ...
7
votes
2answers
160 views

Delimited arguments and using a macro inside of itself

I wanted to play with delimiter sizing without using the \delimiterfactor, -shortfall, etc. and made the following: \newdimen\bigdim \bigdim = 1.9743ex \newdimen\Bigdim \Bigdim = 2.671ex ...
5
votes
1answer
66 views

\par in the parameter text (as an argument delimiter) and \vbox{#1} in an \everypar macro

This is basically a question about TeX's error messages. I am confused by a cryptic error message that TeX gives me when I try to do the above. I have tried to isolate it, but have come no further ...
6
votes
1answer
122 views

testing parameter values with \ifx

Let's say that I would like to redefine \@seccntformat so that whenever the section counter is printed, it is prefixed by Section, but other counters should no be changed. Here is my failed attempt: ...
2
votes
0answers
27 views

Page breaks and memory [duplicate]

Note the following passage in the TeXbook (p. 110) TeX breaks lists of lines into pages by computing badness ratings and penalties, more or less as it does when breaking paragraphs into lines. ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Vertical bar appearing except on top of page

I want a command \shybar which prints a \textbar except if it would be the first character on the page. In this case, it should do nothing. Because of this question, I tried the following code: ...
9
votes
4answers
928 views

Writing Roman numbers in Equation

What is the command for writing roman numerals like I, II, IV etc. in an equation ? To be noted that my requirement is to write them within $$ ...$$ and not as counters or page numbers. Any light on ...
6
votes
1answer
119 views

Stopping the accidental absorption of digits into literals

I recall that I was once writing some TeX code, and I encountered something like this \count\foo \foo=2\otherMacro [\the\foo] If \otherMacro was defined as something like \def\otherMacro{9 cats is ...
9
votes
1answer
140 views

vbox disappearing inside hbox

I don't understand why a vbox disappears when it's surrounded by two \hss, for instance in: \hbox to 0pt{\hss abc\hss} \hbox to 0pt{\hss\vtop{def}\hss}% doesn't work \hbox to 0pt{\vtop{ghi}\hss}% ...
6
votes
2answers
51 views

What Pascal procedure inserts \mathon and \mathoff?

TeX surrounds inline math formulae with \mathon and \mathoff, which appear to be nodes. For instance, running TeX on $ $\showlists\bye gives ### horizontal mode entered at line 0 \hbox(0.0+0.0)x20.0 ...
11
votes
3answers
189 views

Command delimited by return or blank line

I have this document \documentclass{scrartcl} \long\def\quotenextparagraph#1 {\begin{quote}#1\end{quote}} \begin{document} Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod ...
11
votes
1answer
90 views

Measure total glue in a box

Someone gives me a box, and my goal is to know as much as possible about the amount of glue inside that box. I can assume that the box is not huge, but it may contain arbitrary stuff (so I cannot ...
5
votes
3answers
156 views

Trim braces from macro content

I'm having macros with a content which may or may not have extra curly braces. I want to trim the extra braces but without expanding the rest of the content, if possible. The following code shows the ...
8
votes
1answer
70 views

weird ifnum with compact syntax [duplicate]

In some packages like tabularx, I find the following syntax in many places {\ifnum0=`}\fi or even \ifnum0=`{\fi} But I can't figure out why this can be useful for? Is ` a register of some kind? ...
5
votes
3answers
112 views

Adding a hrule between hboxes decreases their vertical distance

Using pdftex. Given two sample programs test0.tex \vbox{ \hbox{X} \hbox{Y} } \bye test1.tex \vbox{ \hbox{X} \hrule \hbox{Y} } \bye gives the following outputs. test0.png test1.png So, ...
4
votes
1answer
46 views

How do you define a command to select nested groups?

Assuming a pair structure (2-tuple) is defined using groups {{<tokens1>}{<tokens2>}} is it possible to define a command \first#1{...} (and \last#1{...}) taking the surrounding group as ...
15
votes
1answer
210 views

\def two macros with same name, but different argument syntax

Is it possible to have macros with the same name, but different “syntax”? E.g. we have the primitive \font which could be seen as having 3 arguments(a. without size information; b. giving the ...
5
votes
1answer
79 views

Struggling to define variable using variable previously defined

new to tikz and am struggling to figure out how to define a variable using variables I have just defined. I think the problem in the code below is coming from the following section: ...
2
votes
0answers
72 views

GNU Readline- like history, for the latex terminal shell?

I find myself more than often willing to use the (pdf)latex shell, and \typeout commands there directly - unfortunately, there is one deal breaker: there is no command line history. I think that in ...
1
vote
1answer
83 views

How to derive one TeX-Format from another

Let's say I want to write my own TeX-format for learning purpose, how can I easily derive from plain.fmt (or better xetex.fmt)?
4
votes
4answers
183 views

\vtop vertical top alignment of \vsplit \vbox

Well, I wanted to have a minipage spanning across pages, so first I thought to split a minipage so it can , but I learned you cannot; so I got to breakable vboxes, and in trying that, learned that ...
3
votes
1answer
65 views

Why can I not vsplit a parbox? (and fbox alignment, and unvbox syntax)

I was trying to experiment with the code in this answer: Breakable vboxes, and I got something I didn't expect; consider this MWE: \documentclass{article} \usepackage{lipsum} \usepackage{xcolor} % ...
1
vote
1answer
90 views

Why does LaTeX throw an error when I write _ in text mode

Why LaTex return error when I write _ in normal mode (not math mode). Why we have decided to return error, we couldn't just print _. I mean if we write _ in a normal mode it print _ and in normal mode ...
7
votes
3answers
237 views

How does (or, what happens when) Tex typeset(s) a line and linebreak?

I could not find references to this with a cursory search, so I thought I'd post a question; I'm aware this is probably discussed at length in the Tex book or similar, but unfortunately I don't have ...
3
votes
1answer
58 views

Variable scoping of edef definitions in a local group (inside an ifx conditional)?

Consider this MWE: \documentclass{article} \def\testswitch#1{ \def\isA{A} \def\firstOpt{#1} \edef\tmpstr{-init-} { % start local \edef\tmpstr{-loc defined-} } % end local ...
35
votes
3answers
824 views

What does the 'etex' package do, exactly?

I was creating a rather large LaTeX project, so I had to use many packages. This gave me an error No room for a new \dimen \newdimen \MPscratchDim while my editor(Kile) opened the file ...
16
votes
1answer
294 views

Semantics of negative glues

This question is about the semantics of glues like 0pt plus -1fill, where the coefficient in front of the fill is negative. The following minimal example shows my attempt to figure this out ...
26
votes
3answers
1k views

Mathematical description of TeX's infinite numbers?

TeX has things like infinitely stretchable spaces and infinitely bad penalties. Since Knuth is Knuth, I assume these are a carefully thought-out implementation of some well defined non-Archimedean ...
3
votes
1answer
39 views

Possible to run a handler / callback function, when a macro (\inputlineno) changes value/definition?

I was thinking about the debugging procedure I went through in How come the tilde ~ sometimes does not behave like non-breaking space? - basically, to find out where did the macro ~ change, I had to ...
6
votes
1answer
188 views

How do I implement a string buffer in TeX?

I've recently learned how to create a macro to iterate over a token sequence using \afterassignment and \let in TeX. Currently, I'm trying to apply this to a tokenization macro (where "tokenization" ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

Automatic parsing/extraction of single-argument commands from input (for use in new environment)?

I'm not sure whether this is in principle possible, so let me try to explain; consider this MWE: \documentclass{article} \usepackage[showframe]{geometry} \usepackage{tikz} \usetikzlibrary{calc} ...
5
votes
2answers
48 views

Free - dereference - release - delete a newdimen length?

Somewhat similar to How to erase/delete a counter, I guess, but for \newdimen... So, consider the MWE: \documentclass{standalone} \usepackage{tikz} \begin{document} \begin{tikzpicture} ...
1
vote
0answers
48 views

Untyped character at the end of chapter

Although there is no "f" typed, there exists a "f" character at the end of the chapter when pdf is created. What can be the problem? I can't find it! Even I delete all the text, and just type a ...
6
votes
1answer
77 views

Redefine @ for tabular inter-column specification within \makeatletter \makeatother

I need to use a tabular with a @ inter-column specification within a \makeatletter and \makeatother environment. I. e. I something like \makeatletter %code that uses @ as letter ...
2
votes
3answers
73 views

Legitimate “local variable” (argument) command in a macro raising “Undefined control sequence”?

Consider this MWE: \documentclass[varwidth,tightpage,border=1bp]{standalone} \usepackage{tikz} \begin{document} \begin{tikzpicture} \makeatletter \gdef\getMyInfoString{% \let\trfm\relax % ! ...
8
votes
1answer
187 views

Maximum number of counters am I allowed to make/have?

I'm currently working on generating the pentest-reports of the company I work for with tex. I came across the totcounter package which I use for the overview table of the findings. there i'm adding ...
0
votes
0answers
25 views

Protecting / escaping the # (number-sign/hash) in a callable macro? [duplicate]

Consider this MWE: \documentclass{article} \usepackage{tikz} % \gdef\myset{ %* \tikzset{ % mystyle/.style={rectangle}, mycode/.code n args={2}{% \typeout{YEAH! #1 #2} % }, } % end ...
7
votes
1answer
121 views

How do you define macros to toggle a character active and define a macro for it?

I'm experimenting with core tex in order to learn some basics. My goal is to define a shorthand environment which makes use of active characters. The general idea is to activate the used characters ...
2
votes
3answers
144 views

Left margin wider than right one

Why is the left margin wider than the right one? Each of them should be 1 inch wide: If you run TEX without modifying the plain TEX format, you get pages that are numbered at the bottom; and each ...
5
votes
1answer
116 views

Is there any way to disable automatic ('discretionary break') hyphenation, while allowing/forcing TeX to break some chosen words?

I have a large document with narrower paragraph width than regular (approx 5 average words long), and I want to disable hyphenation short of having the opportunity to allow hyphenation of chosen words ...
4
votes
2answers
111 views

Is it possible to control the minimum tolerance (allowed space between words)

I have learned to use \pretolerance and \tolerance but sometimes TeX decides to "compress" the broken line of text within the paragraph by simply using less space between the words on the line, and I ...