{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
1answer
235 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
164 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
52 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
109 views

TeXlive on ubuntu - fonts in Plain TeX [closed]

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
123 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
25 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
199 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
284 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
592 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
182 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
227 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
327 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
123 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
68 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 ...
20
votes
1answer
479 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 ...
45
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 ...
57
votes
4answers
21k 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
123 views

Reference of Latex/Plain Tex control sequences [closed]

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. ...
2
votes
1answer
84 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
96 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
324 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
46 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
70 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
372 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 ...
45
votes
4answers
2k 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
92 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 ...
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 ...
23
votes
1answer
387 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
77 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 ...
76
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
157 views

Cut last word from sentence one by one

I want to execute particular command for some space separated list as argument. And then execute the same command for the same list without last element and do it until list is empty. As extra point ...
6
votes
2answers
199 views

Counters and macros?

Not sure how I should post my question but here it is: I've seen that in plain TeX, \newcount is illegal inside a macro \definition. Is there a way to allocate a register inside a macro? Also, if I ...
23
votes
2answers
530 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
156 views

Can (La)TeX be a compelling technology for the humanities, journalism, and other non-technical disciplines? [closed]

All over the web, I see how LaTeX has been successful as a way of describing mathematical notation, which makes it pretty easy to argue that it is a compelling technology for science, technology, ...
6
votes
2answers
155 views

Allowing first undelimited argument to be empty

Consider the following macro definitions: \def\mymacro#1{\mymacroii#1\nil} \def\mymacroii#1#2\nil{% \ifx\\#1\\% empty% \else #1% \fi }% \mymacro{foo}% -> f \mymacro{} \bye This is ...
3
votes
1answer
65 views

Alignment problem or the height of one text line for \footnotesize text

I want to align the arrows so that it goes directly through the "x". How can I do this? It works if I use \normalsize font. The background is that I want to separate my Tikz document in text rows ...
144
votes
23answers
7k views

Are there any open research problems in the world of TeX?

For a year-long capstone project in computer science, I have to do some 'original research.' I'm still not entirely sure what this entails, but it just struck me that perhaps I can do research and ...
8
votes
1answer
81 views

Hyphenation of the word “paraboloid”

It seems like my TeX does not hyphenate the word "paraboloid" on its own. After adding \hyphenation{para-boloid} (I hope that's the right hyphenation...) to the preamble everything is fine. My ...
5
votes
6answers
498 views

A meta-language for LaTeX

Whenever I write TeX/LaTeX documents, I always find that annoying because I can't really focus on the content, It's not that I don't like TeX or what it does for me, it's just the fact that the ...
5
votes
1answer
327 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
509 views

All about \shipout

While reading about packages that allow to hook macros to certain events, I came across this command, \shipout. Searching on the internet didn't help a lot but if I'm not so wrong it's somehow related ...
7
votes
1answer
88 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
94 views

How can I create active hyperlinks for cross references in Texinfo DVI/PDF?

The Texinfo PDF manual has cross references as hyperlinks through the document. The cross references are presented in an attractive dark red colour. When I create a PDF from my own Texinfo source ...
6
votes
2answers
388 views

Can you do all what you want with TeX?

With LaTeX, I know you can put pictures in the documents, use different fonts, ... and practically do whatever you want (except the fact that your document must have a predefined style, imposed by the ...
4
votes
5answers
716 views

Continuously-sizable fonts?

Why are we stuck with a finite number of font sizes in LaTeX? Modern fonts are fully vector-based and scalable - why can't LaTeX do this? Or maybe it can, and I just don't know how. Also see the ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

How to use \valign?

I just bumped into a interesting command called \valign. It seems to be the sister of \halign, but the TeXbook seems to be rather shy on explaining its use. As is the TeX by Topic. They only mention ...
7
votes
3answers
214 views

How can I parse the first word in a token stream, token by token?

Some programming editors and IDEs highlight legal and illegal variable names in different ways. I wish listings easily allowed for such syntax checking and highlighting, but it doesn't, at least at ...
39
votes
2answers
564 views

How to implement (low-level) arrays in TeX

Update: I have revised my question based on the comment by Bruno Le Floch and some further research. As some may know, I'm implementing a huge TeX macro package which has to do a lot of internal ...
11
votes
1answer
163 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 ...