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TeX (any engine) decides the job name it will use for the main output and log files in the following way If a file name has been specified in the command line, that file name is used as job name If started in interactive mode, the first file that is \input at the ** prompt determines the job name However, if something needs to be written to the log file ...


To answer the questions backwards, the difference is that \spx{} expands to nothing whereas ^{} produces an empty superscript atom. Such an empty superscript field is not equivalent to not having a superscript, and can affect the position of a subscript on the same base. \expandafter\@gobble \else \expandafter\@firstofone \fi {^{#1}}% removes the ...

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